Are you ready to pursue that condo for lease you've been eyeing for so long? Condo renting is definitely a breath of fresh air from the toxic city life you're used to. No more sleepless nights because of your rowdy karaoke-loving neighbors. No more spending long hours commuting. No more worrying about a car floating on the flooded street. To top it all off, staycation will likely be your new improved lifestyle.

If this is your first try at condo living, you should be aware of a few things to ensure hassle-free accommodation. Here's a quick list of questions to ask your landlord for a peaceful lease.

Are my monthly payments inclusive of all applicable fees?

Before bombarding your landlord with queries, make sure you've done your assignment first: read the lease contract carefully. The Terms of Payment provision shall indicate monthly rental rate, any applicable tax, the amount of advance rent and security deposit. The security deposit shall answer for damages and other monetary liabilities at the end of the contract such as replacement lights or pipe repairs.

The lease contract should also include any condo fees chargeable to the owner or tenant. The association dues are “monthly payments that tenants have to make so they can contribute to the operational expenses of the condo building.” There is no standard rate for these dues. It may depend on the size of the unit, so the larger the condo space, the higher the association due collected by the DMCI Homes Property Management Corporation.

Is the monthly rate inclusive of association dues? Your landlord may have settled this in advance. If that’s affirmative, make sure this is stipulated in the contract.

Can I replace my checks with cash?

Peaceful Lease Replace Check with Cash

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Whether it's an apartment or condo for rent in the Philippines, rent payments are one of the sources of rift between landlords and their tenants. This is partly because tenants know that the law protects them from evictions without court proceedings. Well, landlords are aware of this as well, thus the meticulous vetting of potential tenants.

The lease contract shall indicate the ground for contract termination including default in rents. By signing up, you're bound to an agreement in which you're obliged to fulfill your duties. Failing to comply with the letters of the contract, without justifiable cause, shall give your landlord reason to end your lease agreement.

Make sure you settle your rent on time to maintain good relations with your landlord. He may not be able to immediately evict you for non-payment, but he'll have a cause of action to seek legal remedies against you. What are the acceptable modes of payment? If you're out-of-town, can you deposit the rent to his bank account? If you forget to fund the checks you issued, can you pay in cash instead?

Can I lease the condo with other people?

Peaceful Lease the Condo with Other People

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Unless you're a lawyer, contracts are among your least favorite reading materials. You're not alone. Studies show that only 10% of people actually go over the fine print of a contract before signing. To ensure a peaceful lease, you need a change in attitude and habit. Read the contract as many times as you need until you understand every single sentence. Ask questions if you need clarifications. Never assume.

Most lease contracts, whether business or residential, include a provision against subletting. The lease contract is between you and your landlord. Any tenant violation is attributed to you alone. It's also against public policy to profit at the expense of another. Remember to always act with justice and observe honesty and act in good faith.

Can you share the unit with your friends, say you plan of sharing the rent? You may be allowed to do condo sharing. But ask your landlord first.

Can I bring a pet with me?

Peaceful Lease Bring a Pet with Me

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Some condo privileges may be extended to your landlord as a condo owner, but not to you as a tenant. Generally, there's no restriction on bringing pets to condo units. In fact, some condo communities feature amenities suitable for raising cats and dogs. There are open spaces for morning walks. The 24/7 security in common areas ensures that pets are safe from wandering off and getting lost or accidents. However, a landlord may set rules against pet ownership especially of he's leasing a fully-furnished unit.

Is it okay to bring pets in your condo home? If yes, are there specific rules you should observe?

Is it okay to renovate the unit?

Peaceful Lease Renovate the Unit

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A home is every man's castle. Your privacy is protected in your home, or in any other place you consider as your private space, regardless of its ownership. This means that your landlord cannot enter the leased unit without your consent, subject to certain circumstances such as actual threats to life or property. However, your rights over the leased unit are governed by stipulations in the lease agreement. The condo administration may also impose guidelines for doing repairs and renovations in condo units.

Before doing any major repair or renovation on the unit, make sure you secure prior consent from your landlord. Rules on renovations are typically included in the contract. You may be restricted from changing the flooring, repainting the walls or installing wall shelves. If certain renovations are not expressly indicated in the contract, ask your landlord instead. Here's an advice: if he agrees on a procedure not stipulated in the lease contract, have him sign a consent form. This will protect you from possible allegations of breach of contract.

How long can my guests stay over?

Landlords know that tenants may host guests once in a while, that's why rules on accommodating guests are typically stipulated in the lease contract. You're allowed to have mom and dad stay over on a weekend or host a slumber party with 3 of your close friends. But keep in mind that a condo community isn't like a residential subdivision. Condo homes stand closely together. You are sharing a wall with your neighbor. Keep your noise at manageable levels. Remember that any complaint against you may also be imputed against your landlord. He can be subsidiarily liable for your acts.

How long can my guests stay over? How many guests can I accommodate at any given time? There's no harm in verifying these with your landlord first before saying yes to family and friends.

When's the best time to call?

Peaceful Lease Best Time to Call

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Communication is key in any relationship. It doesn't matter if it's professional or personal. Talk to your landlord whenever necessary. Just make sure you're calling up your landlord during reasonable hours and about valid concerns. If you have issues with your rowdy neighbors, you can report them to the condo admin for immediate response. You can inform your landlord after. But for matters such as rents and repairs, dial your landlord first. What's the best mode of reaching your landlord? What time can you dial-up? Before calling, have the courtesy to send a text message first.

Condo living is a trending lifestyle in the Philippines. It conveniently suits a millennial's busy schedule. You can cut your commuting time in half by living near your office. Do regularly exercises in the gym or lap pool. You can also host brunches or afternoon picnics with family and friends. Most importantly, staycation will never be the same again with the lifestyle amenities within your reach.