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10 Questions to Ask Before Entering a Short-Term Lease


There are many different moving scenarios that may cause you to consider the option of a short term lease. As moving experts in the industry, we’ve seen people move as frequently as every six weeks. Of course, it helps to have the assistance of a trustworthy packing and moving company.

A short-term lease refers to a rental agreement with a duration of six months or less. It is an option for individuals that do not need/want a long term lease. There are different reasons you may choose to enter a short-term lease. The most important benefit is that it offers is flexibility. However, a short term lease can also have some drawbacks. It is important that you understand the full implication of any lease before putting pen to paper. Before you commit to any short term lease, therefore, ask the following important questions:

Are There Some Move-In Fees?

Besides your first month’s rent, there are fees you may pay before moving in. These are generally referred to as move-in fees. They may include administrative fees and security deposits. In some places, you may even pay security fees and elevator rental fees. You need to know about these fees before signing the lease agreement. This will ensure that you don’t meet surprises on the day you move in. Also, find out if there are some other regular fees you will be paying while you live in the rental unit besides your rent.

Some additional fees could include:

  • Key fob access to shared spaces like pool or gym
  • Renter’s Insurance
  • Pet Deposit
  • Background Checks

How Will the Apartment Be Prepared and How Do I Leave It?

You need to know the condition the apartment will be in when you move in. You also need to know how you are expected to keep it when you want to vacate. This will help you to eliminate the chances of surprises. There are landlords that ensure that the apartment is properly cleaned before you move in. Such landlords also require that you leave it in such polished condition. Knowing this at the initial time will save you some little surprises. It can also save you from penalties when it is time to move out.

Which Utilities Are My Responsibilities?

Utility responsibilities vary from one place to another. The generosity of the landlord or the nature of the property can also influence which utilities you will have to pay for. It is important, however, that you know about this before you sign the lease. If the rent you will be paying is high,most of the utilities have to be covered, at least. When you know about the utilities that are your responsibilities, you will have a better understanding of the true cost of living in the apartment.

How Do You Handle Maintenance and Emergencies?

Even if you are staying at a place on a temporary basis, you should never rule out the chances of emergencies. It’s a good idea to ask the landlord about who handles maintenance and emergencies before you enter a lease. You need to know how long it will take the landlord to fix a problem. You also need to know if you can be reimbursed when you fix a problem. Knowing about these early will prevent conflict when you move in.

Can I Make Improvements?

Even when you hope to stay in a place for a little while, you still want it to feel like home. This means you may want to personalize the rental unit with upgrades like:

  • Painting walls
  • Installing shelving
  • Upgrading fixtures

You need to have an understanding with the landlord about the level of personalization you can make. Enquire about the possibilities to make improvements. When there is no concrete agreement about the improvements you can make, the landlord can penalize you when you want to move out.

What Is the Guest Policy for Your Short-Term Lease?

In some instances, a short-term lease has special guest policies. Some landlords may not want you to have guests that will stay too long when you are on a short-term lease. You need to understand if there are specific rules around guests to save you from possible embarrassments. Some landlords may insist on conducting background checks before allowing your guests to stay for an extended period. Make sure you are comfortable with the guest policy before you sign. Being penalized for a such trivial issue can really hurt your pocket.

What Is Your Pet Policy?

Unless you don’t have a pet, this policy should be important to you. Even if you currently have no pet but have plans to adopt one in the future, ask about pet policy. Landlords that don’t want pets probably have their reasons and you need to respect that. You also need a place that can accommodate your pet if you have any. Know the kinds of pets allowed. Ask about any other conditions pet owners have to fulfill. In all, ensure that the policy is favorable enough for your pet.

What Is The Renewal Process?

There are chances you will have to stay in a place longer than you anticipate. You can fall in love with your new unit and decide to stay longer. Ask the landlord about the renewal process. Know if you will have to give any prior notice to renew after your initial term.

What Are the Conditions for Breaking the Lease Early?

There may be need to break the lease early. If you find a better place you want to move on a permanent basis, you may want to leave. Ask at the initial stage if there are going to be consequences for breaking the short-term lease earlier. There may be some conditions you will have to meet like:

  • Providing 30 days’ notice
  • Proving extenuating circumstances like loss of income
  • Finding someone to sublet for the remainder of the lease

Is the Security Deposit Refundable?

Most short-term leases require a security deposit. You need to know if it is fully refundable or if only a percentage will be returned even when there are no damages. You can ask about specific situations that may make you lose part or all of your security deposit.

You need to know all the terms and conditions of your short-term lease. It will help you to avoid conflicts with your landlord. Ask the ten important questions discussed above before entering the lease.

Are you planning on relocating anytime soon? Contact us today at Colonial Van Lines. You can count on our reliable experts to handle every process involved in your moving and packing. We offer affordable, well-detailed, and highly professional moving and packing services.

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