In Summary
  • If you are going to part ways with your money, you might as well know what you’re getting in return.
  • Getting the full rent deposit back is usually something many tenants struggle with.
  • When you move into a new house, take note of broken locks and windows. Ask your landlord if he has any plans of making repairs before you move in.

A common mistake most people make before moving into a rented house is overlooking key aspects of a lease agreement.

Other than how much rent one will pay, the location and whether the deposit paid will be refunded when they move out, there is more to the agreement that should be considered.

Most people end up in bitter terms with their landlords during their stay or when it is time to move, especially with deposit refunds, late payment and fixing damages. It is even worse when there is no written agreement except for the common casual oral agreement.

BuyRentKenya Chief Executive Officer Lizzie Costabir shares some of the key questions you should ask your prospective landlord before signing a lease agreement.

What are the terms of the lease?

It is hard to defend yourself if something goes wrong when you have a verbal conversation with your landlord. Whatever you agree on, make sure to put it down in writing.

Ask for clarification if there is something you don’t understand in the lease. If you are going to part ways with your money, you might as well know what you’re getting in return.

Can you move in after the start date of the lease?

Most times, landlords will ask for rent at the start of the month. But what happens if you want to move in at a later date? Will the landlord allow you to pay prorated rent? That is, you only pay for the time you occupy the house? You need to understand the payment dates so that you only pay for the time you’ll occupy the house.

What happens if you move before your lease expires?

You don’t rent a new place with expectations of moving out before the lease expires. But circumstances will force you to do so. For instance, when you get a new job that is far from where you live and you’ll be forced to move closer to your place of work.

If it is not stated in the lease agreement, the landlord needs to tell you what penalties or fines you will pay if you break a lease.

You could end up losing your rent deposit just because you didn’t agree with your landlord in advance on what would happen. Knowing the rules set in place beforehand will help you plan your move in advance even though it is on short notice.

What are the payment options?

Landlords have different payment options for their tenants. Some accept cheques, others want M-Pesa and some would rather accept a cash payment. Knowing how you will pay your rent will help you plan in advance to avoid rushing the last minute.

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