These are all excellent questions and concerns. I would suggest you discuss these issues with several people you know and trust. I can research the property-related issues for you at no charge. People rent homes all the time without using a REALTOR. It's up to you if to decide if you want to be sure what the lease contract truly obligates you and the landlord to. That is where a real estate attorney and /or licensed realtor can save you from any surprises down the road.