14 important things to know before renting an apartment or house

As you prepare to move into a new rental property, you're probably thinking about the decorations, furnishings and other details that will make your future home your cozy new home. This prospect sometimes delights you to the point of forgetting to take into consideration a certain number of essential points. Between preliminary measures, legal terms and conditions and usual verifications, there is no lack of potential pitfalls. To put all the chances on your side in the search for your perfect home and avoid falling off the wagon once the lease is signedwe have identified for you 14 important things to know before renting an apartment or a house.

1. Calculate your rental budget

The first thing to do if you want to transform a "coup de coeur" into your future home is to have the means to rent it! It is therefore essential to calculate your rental budget beforehand in order to visit only those properties that you can afford. Ideally, you should not aim for a rent higher than 30 % of your monthly income.

2. Build up a file before any visit

Before you even begin your search, don't forget to put together a "solid file" so that you can apply as soon as necessary for the rental that meets your expectations. To do this, start by find a solvent relative who will act as a guarantor when you sign the lease. A certain number of documents will also be requested when you apply: your personal references, proof of your monthly income or your last tax form, as well as the contact information of your last landlord and possibly a letter of recommendation from him/her.

3. Know the upfront costs

We often forget that a new move has a cost! You will, of course, have to pay for You will have to pay the agency fees and the first month's rent, as well as the security deposit, which will generally correspond to 2 or 3 months' rent.

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4. Make sure the housing meets your needs

To avoid disappointment after moving in, it will be important to make sure that it meets all your expectations. There are some specific points to consider depending on your needs: telephone outlets, elevator, parking space, thermal and sound insulation...

5. Check the condition of the accommodation before signing the lease

An inventory of fixtures prior to any signature will be essential. Thus, take care to check the proper functioning of the electrical outlets and installations, water pressure and hot water, but also the good condition of paintings, cupboards, kitchen, bathroom, toilets and openings (doors, windows). Once done, have the landlord or real estate agent note (in writing on the lease agreement) any problems so that you are not blamed later for the damage.

6. Inspect the surrounding area

After conducting a thorough inspection of the home, Ensure that the neighborhood is safe and pleasant day and night, weekdays and weekends. It is common that the defect of a dwelling is not inside the living space but rather outside, that is, in the neighborhood and environment where the apartment or house is located.

7. Know the conditions of repayment of the bond

It is important to know that all or part of the amount of your deposit will be retained when you leave the premises in case of deterioration or damage to the accommodation. It is usually a matter of restoring the property to the state it was in when you checked it in. A little tip: before you move in, take pictures of the rooms and existing imperfections, then send the pictures to your email address so that you can justify when you took them. When you check out, your photos will serve as proof that you are not the cause of the damage, if you are ever accused.

8. Know who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the home

The law states that the tenant is responsible for "routine maintenance" of the dwelling, as well as "minor repairs". These are mainly small things, such as sweeping the chimney or replacing the wallpaper. The owner will be responsible for repairs to walls, openings and roofs, as well as a number of routine repairs (faucets, heating, electricity).

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9. Be well informed about the rent and its terms

The tenant will have to be informed of the charges included in the rent. In general, this will be the case for water and, sometimes, gas. Similarly, he or she will need to know the conditions of a possible rent increase and its frequency. The charges will normally increase every year and the rent itself when the lease is renewed.

10 ... Read the terms of the lease

It is essential that you know the terms of the lease before signing. The duration of the lease will legally be 3 years, but the law provides that the tenant may leave the premises at any time by giving notice by by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt and by respecting a notice period of 3 months. The notice period can be reduced to 1 month in the following cases: certain cities with high demand, first job, loss of job or transfer.

11. Are there any restrictions on occupancy?

The landlord will not normally be able to prohibit you from having guests or a pet. The tenant must, however, respect the law. The landlord may, however, prohibit any animal classified as a "dangerous animal".

12. Know your housing rights

The law authorizes the tenant to make small adjustments and minor decoration work (painting, wallpapering, floors), without the landlord being able to demand that the accommodation be returned in its original state. However, he will have to fill in the holes he will have made in the walls.

Concerning the rights of the owner or the real estate agent on the entry in the housing, those are circumscribed by the law to the visits for a future rent or sale (of not more than 2 hours per day and not the weekend), to the necessities of works and this, only with the express authorization of the tenant.

13. The obligation to take out insurance for your home

The insurance of the dwelling is imposed by law to the tenant. However, it will be the responsibility of the owner for seasonal rentals.

14. Do not forget to negotiate!

Sometimes you can get a small discount on the monthly rent (between 10 and 50 euros), but over the year, this can represent a significant amount. So don't hesitate to bargain!

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