What are some tips for renters before signing a lease?

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Tue Mar 6, 2012

What are some things to be aware of? What are some tips when negotiating a lease?

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Kendrick Kwan, Agent, Los Altos, CA
Tue Mar 6, 2012
Here are 4 tips for renters:

1) Due to the rise in "Rental Scams", I would do some due diligence to make sure the owner is truly the owner of the property you are renting and if you're dealing with an agent who is representing the owner, make sure they still have their license active also. I wrote a blog post about it in my blog here: http://www.thebayarearealestatenews.com/2012/02/29/3-ways-to… The last thing you want to do is pay rent and a security deposit to someone that doesn't even own the property.

2) Make sure you understand what is required of you upon move-out to protect your security deposit. Does the owner want you to not only vacuum the carpets but professionally steam clean them since they did that before you moved in? Does the owner want you to remove all of the nails from the walls and patch them? Have these things written down on the lease so there isn't a surprise later on.

3) Understand what is/what is not included in the rental price (ie. parking, water, garbage, utilities, gardener, access to gym, access to pool, etc)

4) Definitely look around before signing a lease. Since there is really no central database to track rental prices, you should price compare and look at different rentals in the area before committing to one. I have sometimes noticed significant rental price differences for similar units in the same complex. Try to go to sites like: http://www.craigslist .org or http://www.padmapper.com and do your homework.

Hope this helps!
3 votes
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Tue Mar 6, 2012
One of the most common sources of disputes is the condition of the property at the end of the lease. For example, were the carpets stained before you entered the lease or did you cause the stains in the carpet? Similar problems occur with questions over chips in the countertops, particularly in the kitchen, damage to walls and doors, cracks in windows and damage to window screens.

I recommend that before you sign a lease, do a very thorough walk through the property. Make a written note of any damage to the property and make certain that you bring this to the attention of the landlord or property manager and have them acknowledge that in writing.

Also take pictures of all of the surfaces of the interior of the property. Those pictures will be very helpful to you when it is time to move out.

If you will do a good walk through before you sign the lease, that will save you a great amount of grief when it is time for you to move out.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
2 votes
Diana Valver…, , San Jose, CA
Sat Dec 29, 2012
Read the Lease thoroughly. You may want run it past your lawyer or paralegal to clarify anything.
You can also be proactive with questions to the owner or clarifications, about the lease, you do not understand. Do not forget to take "BEFORE PICTURES".

Happy Holidays
Diana Valverde
Davey and Associates
Real Estate and Property Management
San Jose Evergreen Silver Creek Valley
1 vote
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