Tips for Tenants

If you are looking to rent a residential unit (apartment or villa), or lease commercial space (shop, office, warehouse, etc.), the following checklist should be fundamental to your search:

Set a reasonable timeframe within which you will conduct your search, and the earlier you start the better as no potentially good property will stay in the market indefinitely as you try to make up your mind.

Get a reputable, licensed, experienced professional broker to help you in your property search. A good agent should point you in the right direction and ensure all your viewings are worthwhile, negotiate well on your behalf and ensure you get the best price for the right property

Make sure that you fully comprehend all the terms of the lease/rent contract, especially with regard to items such as the commencement and termination date, renewal, maintenance and repair (especially what and how much is covered), grace period for late rent payments (if any), rent increases, subleasing, rules on keepings pets, etc.

If you are planning on renting in an apartment building or any shared space, know what common area fees will be charged and what facilities are meant for communal use. For commercial tenants, know the rentable square footage from the usable square footage as this will determine how much of the area you will be actually using for your business operations.

The terms of your rent should include information on building/community rules and regulations. For commercial tenants, other concerns include permitted uses of the space, signage rules, weekend use of premises, terms in case of property transfer/sale, business interruption, and the like. Commercial tenants who are new to the market would do well to get the right expert representation so their interests are protected.

Secure the following documents once everything is set in order: your lease or rental agreement, security deposit receipt, list of things wrong with the apartment or commercial unit (preferably with photos) before move-in co-signed by the landlord or his/her representative, rent receipts (or cancelled checks), landlord's address and phone number, and all other papers related to the lease/tenancy.

Aside from the leasing/rent payments and the security deposit, know exactly what fees you will be paying for as one-time expenses and what need to be paid periodically and for what purpose.