8 things to know before signing a lease contract

We all know that moving abroad is not an easy undertaking, especially if it’s your first time.

One of the most difficult challenges is finding a clean and safe place where to stay.

Searching for a room or apartment abroad online isn’t easy as it seems: you must deal not only with the search itself but also with the signature of a rental agreement.

A lease contract is an agreement between you and your landlord that states the duration of your stay, payments, rules, obligations, and other terms and conditions. 

In order to avoid unpleasant surprises during your adventure abroad, here you will find 8 useful tips to deal with rental contracts in the best way possible.

1. Research the average cost of rooms and apartments in advance

If you already know the average price of flats and rooms in the city, you decrease the chances to fall for fraud. Research for other listings’ prices in the same area and compare them with what you have found. If the option you choose isn’t aligned with others, ask the landlord why the price is so cheap.

For instance, if you already know that it’s highly unlikely to find a cheap place in the city center, do not fall for landlords who leave you a room for €200 per month.

2. Visit the flat before paying or signing anything

The safest way to avoid any fraud is to visit the flat before signing the contract, to ensure the apartment really exists. Before signing or paying anything, ask your landlord if he or she would be available to organize a visit.

If you are in another city and you have no one there who can visit the apartment, always remember that, with Abroadie, you can send a person to visit it for you.

3. Read the contract carefully

Before signing the lease agreement, read it several times. It is recommended to go through each of the clauses carefully. Take your time to be sure you know exactly what you are signing up for.

Once you receive your rental contract, make sure the followings points are present:

  • The date the agreement is signed
  • Your stay’s start and end dates
  • The landlord’s name and surname (these might be of a company, if there is a real estate agency in between)
  • Landlord ID number
  • The tenant’s name and surname
  • Tenant ID number
  • The property address
  • The rental price, when it’s due, and how it will be paid
  • The deposit amount
  • Who is responsible for paying bills
  • Circumstances in which the deposit might be partly or fully withheld
  • Landlord obligations
  • Tenant obligations

Always remember: if something seems odd to you don’t sign the contract or contact us to have your rental contract checked.

4. Don’t be afraid of asking

If something looks odd to you, don’t be afraid to bring it up with the landlord or agent. If you are unsure about the price or any of the clauses present in the contract, you have to say it. You can always negotiate any clause with your landlord as long as it is reasonable and acceptable to him or her. It is always better to ask for any modification and clarify every doubt before signing the contract.

5. Don’t accept verbal agreements

Whatever the landlord tells you, it must be included in the contract. If he or she refuses to put it in writing, you have no guarantee that the landlord will keep the word. So, if you agree on any modification with him or her, be sure it is written in the contract, too.

6. Sign on each page of the contract

If you don’t sign the contract on each page, the landlord might change its pages. By signing every page of the lease, you will be sure that its content won’t be changed by the end of your stay.

7. Check the apartment conditions

The deposit is the amount of money you pay the landlord to ensure to him or her you will pay the rent and follow the lease. However, this deposit might be used also to cover the expenses of any damage you cause in the flat.

That’s why you always need to check the apartment conditions on the first days of your stay. To avoid being charged for something you didn’t break, it is always recommended to check the house conditions within the first 2 days of your arrival.

If you notice something was already broken, notify immediately your landlord (not only through calls or texts but also through e-mail, which serves you for official communications).

8. Check the inventory

An inventory is essentially a checklist listing any furniture and appliances present in the apartment. Usually, landlords provide you with this inventory and it formally makes part of the rental contract. So, before signing it, be sure you check all the things listed are present in the flat.

If your landlord sends the inventory to you before you have checked-in in the apartment, ask him or her to give you the possibility to sign it on the day of your arrival.

If your landlord doesn’t give you an inventory, you can always do your own and ask the landlord to sign it, to be sure to not be charged if something is missing.

Always remember: if you are uncertain or have any doubts, don’t sign the lease.

If you would prefer to receive assistance in checking your rental contract or visiting an apartment because you are not yet in your destination city

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