Read the lease carefully, first and foremost. Take pictures and make notes of anything that is in the least bit damaged. Be aware of what other properties are renting for so that you don't over pay. Look for penalties for breaking the lease so you know exactly what you will be expected to do and pay in the event you cannot complete the lease term. Look for extra 'pet fees' and 'cleaning fees'. Find out if there is any kind of association fee and who pays for it. Are there any amenities, such as lake access if you are in a lake community or tennis courts, etc, if you are in a townhome community. Be sure you know what utilities you are responsible for. If it's a single family home, will you be paying for lawn maintenance and (in my area anyway), snow removal. What about water, sewer and trash removal.
Any of the items mentioned in the previous paragraph can be used to negotiate. It's the big picture, the more you have to pay for pet fees, utilities and maintenance, the less you can afford to pay for monthly rent. If you can, consider signing a two year lease in exchange for a reduction in monthly rent. I have found that very effective. If not monthly rent, then perhaps in the security deposit or any realtors' fee you are asked to pay.
Finally, if you have pets there are some creative ways to convince a landlord to accept your pet or at least to keep the rent reasonable if they do. For example, I wrote a lease once that said, if the tenants failed to 'clean up' after their dog twice a week the landlord had the right to hire a doggie clean up company and deduct the cost from their security deposit. You can also offer to have the unit professionally cleaned at the end of your time there. If you have your dog professionally groomed, show the receipts to the landlord so they can see you are a responsible pet owner. Same with veterinary records.
In rentals as in all real estate, everything is negotiable.... more
You can probably make and arrangements like that, but once a tenant has "Possession" removing them is not as easy as not renewing their lease. Read you states Landlord Tenant Law carefully and make sure you know what the risk is you are considering. Personally, if a prospective tenant isn't willing to cooperate with reasonable guidelines, I would be looking for a new prospective tenant.... more
For any legal questions you may have regarding the lease agreement, tenant's rights, etc., your best source of information is an attorney who specializes in real estate; consider a consultation.... more
Your best bet is to contact a local Realtor who also owns and rents real estate and/or an attorney who is experiences in landlord/tenant law. If you want to call me, I can help you as I own and rent many properties personally. In the meantime, this link should help you: