Want More From Your Rental Agreement?

Posted

get the most out of your rental agreementThis post originally appeared on Zillow.

Most apartments will never come with the same perks as hotels. No room service. No wake-up calls. No daily housekeeping. No fancy soap in the bathroom or mint on your pillow.

But while your typical apartment lacks these instant-gratification niceties, most come with at least one or two alluring perks of their own. A yard, rooftop deck or other outdoor space for hanging out. A pool or fitness room. On-site laundry (or even that elusive, magnificent find, free on-site laundry). Most of these amenities are well-advertised as part of the landlord’s sales pitch.

Other perks, for various reasons, are more discreet: You have to ask for them. There’s no guarantee your landlord will say yes to any of these extras, but it’s worth making the inquiry.

Parking and storage

In all buildings, particularly in big cities, space is at a premium. Income-generating use (that is, rentable space) typically gets priority over everything else — hence the tiny studio apartment wedged into the basement corner, just past the mechanical room. Even in these buildings, though, there may well be a parking spot or two in back, or a storage room down a dank hallway, If they exist, however, there’s probably not enough space for everyone in the building. So how can you grab one of the spots? It may be a simple as just asking. You may have to settle for putting your name on a waiting list, or you may have to pay a nominal additional monthly fee, but at least you’ll end up with more options than you had otherwise.

Pets

You’ve found your dream apartment, and the price is perfect, too. But the fine print of your lease bars your four-legged companion from living there. Bummer. Don’t walk away quite yet. As with all the lease terms, it’s worth asking the landlord directly if there’s any flexibility. Sometimes, especially if you’re dealing with a landlord who owns just one or two properties, the lease may be all boilerplate that even the landlord doesn’t wholly understand (and didn’t draft). Explain that your pet is well-behaved and you’re a good neighbor (now would be a good time to provide references from previous places you’ve lived). And know that even if your landlord gives the OK, you may be charged slightly higher rent or an additional damage deposit.