1. Do not be surprised by additional costs
Housing adverts do not always list all the ancillary costs. Moreover, these may vary over time. Ask the landlord or the previous tenant how much to expect for electricity, water and heating costs. Keep in mind that the actual costs may be higher. For example, if you use a lot of electricity.
2. Inform yourself in advance about the rules
Read the house rules as well as the general rules of conduct carefully in the rental agreement. They can differ greatly. You may not be allowed to leave shoes in front of the apartment door. Or it is not allowed to use the washing machine on Sundays. It can be difficult with pets too. Many landlords do not allow your beloved four-legged friend. Therefore, you should decide if you can live within the existing rules before signing.
3. Don’t assume "Sharers welcome"
Will your first home be a shared flat? Then check in advance, if the landlord permits this. Perhaps he does not want people sharing a flat, preferring a family or a couple.
4. Think about moving out before moving in
You don’t want to think about it to begin with. But, you should look at the termination clauses before signing the rental agreement. It is possible that your landlord may only allow moving out on certain dates. Early termination is to be sure possible, but it may be subject to conditions. In the worst case scenario, you will still have to pay the rent until the end of the contract period.
5. Check the handover protocol carefully
There are deep scratches in the parquet, the wall in the bedroom is covered by holes or the mirror in the bathroom has a crack. If there is a handover protocol, obvious issues must be recorded.
Do not sign the protocol until all visible damages have been registered. Otherwise the landlord can claim that these damages were your fault. Hidden defects can be reported later - for example if the oven does not work properly. Such things should be reported to the owner as soon as you discover them.
6. Have money ready for the deposit
Before you move into an apartment, you usually have to pay a deposit. The amount can be up to three months' rent.
7. Start fully connected in your new home.
Internet, TV and telephone should be ordered a few weeks before you move in. Often, it takes more than a day to be activated. Especially if you have to set up a new contract.
8. Set up a standing order so you don’t forget to pay the rent
You actually only need to think about your rent once. Set up a standing order Online or with Mobile Banking. Thus, the money is automatically transferred on a specified day every month. And then you don’t need to worry about it - at least until the rent changes.
9. Good insurance is half the battle
With private liability insurance, you are covered for accidental damages. For example, if a window pane is broken by mistake, or the sun blinds on the balcony are damaged. This insurance is important because such damage is often expensive.
Household insurance can also be worthwhile. It pays for damage to your furniture. For example, if your sofa is damaged by flooding or your computer is stolen during a burglary.
10. Allow for small repair costs
The water tap is leaking, the toilet is blocked or the window handle is wobbly. It may well be that you have to pay for such and other repairs yourself. The rental contract should indicate for which minor repairs you should pay. For example, the landlord can determine that you will pay for up to a certain amount of all repairs each year.
11. When problems occur, contact the landlord
Suddenly there is mould in a corner of your living room? Or the fridge freezes all the food at the lowest level? In case of problems, contact the landlord first. In many cases the problem can be solved straight away. If you can’t reach an agreement, go to the tenants' association. They give you tips on what you can do.