Avoiding the pitfalls of renting a home

RENTING: A few precautions can help ensure dream home doesn’t turn into disaster.

STUDIES by Fotocasa show that more and more people in Spain are leaning towards renting a home rather than buying one, with 38 per cent of tenants saying that renting gives them more freedom.

Yet if you are within this group, there are some pitfalls and misunderstandings you need to avoid to be sure it really is home sweet home rather than rental nightmare.

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The College of Estate Agents in Catalonia has drawn up a list of the seven most common mistakes made by prospective tenants:

-Failing to read (and understand) the whole contract.

You are agreeing to everything you sign, so take your time and make sure you understand it all. Don’t let anyone rush you, and if necessary ask for a copy of the contract in advance so you have time to query any unclear points before signing.

-Renting from an acquaintance without signing a contract.

Although golden opportunities can sometimes arise, when someone you trust offers you property at a great price you never know what the future may bring. It’s always a good idea to write everything down, if only for both parties’ peace of mind.

-Not negotiating the price or worrying points.

If you think a clause is abusive or you’ve given a bit over one point and want the owner to do the same on another, make sure you make this clear. You’ve nothing to lose and it’s a good idea to make sure everything is crystal clear from the start.

-Failing to check the property before signing.

Rental contracts almost always carry a clause stating the tenant will pay for any damage caused. But unless you check the state it’s in before signing you could find yourself lumbered with paying for damage previous tenants made.

To avoid this, check the property carefully and list any imperfections before signing a contract. This list should be signed by both parties and attached to the contract.

-Paying in advance.

Don’t hand any money over until you’ve seen the property and signed the contract. If you’re pushed for advance deposits, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a document specifying what the payment is for.

-Taking on expenses you shouldn’t have to pay.

Make sure you know exactly which expenses and bills will be paid by each party, and also that the contract specifies who will pay for repairs that may be needed.

-Accepting verbal agreements the owner refuses to put in writing.

If the owner makes promises verbally but doesn’t want to put them in the contract, there is no guarantee they will be met. If they really mean what they say they should have no reason not to include their promises in the contract, which when all is said and done is a private agreement between two parties and can be written to measure.


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