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5 Questions To Ask The Property Owner When Considering A House For Rent

Not all renters want to live in a high-rise apartment unit. Many of us want the experience of living in a home in a residential neighbourhood, near green spaces and schools and away from heavy traffic. Whether you’re looking for a whole house to rent, a basement apartment or a secondary dwelling, renting from a homeowner can be a very different experience than dealing with a big building management company.

If you’re inexperienced in dealing with property owners, here are some questions you should consider asking during your walk-through.

1. What’s included in the rent?

Unlike many high-rise apartments for rent, rental houses often have extras included in the rent, such as TV and internet. This is typical if you are renting a section of a house, such as the basement or attic. If the homeowner lives on the premises, they might be willing to share the cost of these things with you by rolling them into your rent. You will also want to ask whether electricity and water are included, too.

This could affect your decision to take a place or not, because if the rent is already on the high end of your budget, you probably don’t want to have to pay for internet and other utilities on top of that.

Calculated Rental Price On Wooden Desk

2. Who’s responsible for yardwork and maintenance?

If the house has a yard and garden, whose responsibility is it to care for it? Will you have to mow the lawn yourself, or will they send a service to do it? If you do have to maintain the yard yourself, do you need your own lawn mower, or will there be one available for your use?

If something breaks inside the house, who is supposed to fix it? Do you arrange repairs yourself and get reimbursed by the landlord? Or will they send a maintenance person out to fix it at their expense? Do you have to absorb the cost? Find out.

Man mowing lawn

3. What amenities do I have access to?

If you are renting an apartment inside someone’s home, where they currently live, you need to ask if there is a shared laundry room. What about the backyard and barbecue? Will you be allowed to use that? If you are allowed to use these things, is there a policy regarding when and how they’re used? Do you have to book them with the owner, or is it a free-for-all?

One of the major benefits of choosing a house for rent is yard space and on-site laundry. If your access to these is limited at best, perhaps look for another place.

Young Woman Carrying Basket

4. What happens if you decide to sell the house?

Many homeowners buy income properties to fix up and perhaps resell later. If this is the case, you need to know the landlord’s policy on this. Some owners will end up selling the house with the stipulation that you be allowed to stay for the remainder of your lease. Others will give you 30, 60 or 90 days to move out in the event the home sells.

If you’re not looking for a short-term rental, make sure you know what the homeowner’s intentions are before signing a lease.

5. Can I get that in writing?

If you ask these questions in person, follow up by asking for the answers in writing. You can also submit your questions by email and save the answers in your inbox.

This way, you are covered if the owner tries to backtrack on something you previously discussed. You want proof of what you were promised in the event you need to go to the Landlord and Tenant Board with a complaint. A verbal promise is fine, but you need more than that if you want to challenge a decision down the road.

Want to find a house for rent? Start your search using! Once you find your ideal place, you can connect with the property owner and arrange a tour — and don’t forget to ask those important questions!