5 Checkpoints Before Signing A Lease Agreement

signed lease agreement for rental property

You’ve just found an amazing property and you’re excited to move in as soon as possible, but there’s that little niggle to take care of before you do that − the lease agreement. The lease agreement is a binding contract between the owner and landlord that stipulates the rules of the lease duration. Naturally, you wouldn’t want the raw end of the deal. Here are 5 checkpoints for every tenant to consider before signing a lease agreement.

Maintenance and Repair Responsibilities

Usually, landlords are responsible for keeping the property maintained during the tenure of your tenancy. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t take some responsibility while you’re living in the house. Before you sign a lease agreement, you need to clarify the following details:

  • Who do you contact for repair and maintenance during regular hours or in an emergency?
  • What kind of cleaning must be undertaken before you vacate the house?
  • What kind of changes can you make to the home that won’t eat into your rental bond?
  • Who is responsible for lawn and garden maintenance?
  • What kind of repair will the landlord take care of and what repair do tenants have to conduct on their own?

It helps to clarify these issues before signing the agreement to ensure that there is no confusion between you and your landlord.

Frequency of Rental Payments

Generally, landlords expect a monthly rental payment for the leased property, but it’s always best to check whether the landlord expects otherwise. Before moving in, a rental bond must be paid by the tenant. This rental bond cannot be more than four weeks rent. This bond is lodged with the NSW Fair Trading Department until the end of your tenancy agreement. Here are some details to check with your landlord with respect to rental payments:

  • How much rent should be paid before moving in?
  • What is the exact amount of the security deposit/bond?
  • When is the rent due and what is the frequency of payments?
  • What is the expected payment method? Can you set up a direct debit facility to avoid late payments?
  • What conditions can prevent you from getting your bond back?
  • Can rent be paid individually if more than one tenant shares the property?

Property Condition Report

You should be presented with two copies of the property condition report before you sign any lease agreement. Fill it in along with your lease and present it to your agent or landlord within 7 days. Fill the property condition report with as much detail as you can muster, because this serves as key evidence once the tenancy ends. If you have any doubts or queries, be sure to ask your landlord or agent in advance.

Terms of the Lease

You’ll also want to be completely sure of the terms of your lease agreement for future reference. Here are some factors to enquire about:

  • How to renew a lease once it expires? What are the terms of renewal and will there be a rental increase?
  • Under what condition will the lease be broken and what are the fees associated with a broken lease?
  • Can you have roommates? What is the policy for adding people midway?

Other Important Details

Signing a lease agreement is a token of commitment between you and your landlord for a specified duration. Check these other important details beforehand:

  • Does the rental amount include parking?
  • Does the property have existing utility providers?
  • Can cable be connected?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are appliances or furniture included?
  • Is there smoke detectors or any type of alarm system in the house?

Be sure to check all these details with your landlord or rental agent before signing a lease agreement to protect your interests.