Finding the perfect condo for rent is a tricky task. So much needs to be considered, and sometimes, a perfect façade can fool you. You may think you’ve found the perfect condo rental that would fit your lifestyle, but you may have failed to anticipate the looming difficulties it could bring. That is why it is important to know the different things to consider before closing a condo lease contract.

In the Philippines, tales of landlord-tenant issues are not at all uncommon. Leasing problems are usually encountered when the tenant and the landlord fail to agree on leasing terms before the tenant moves in. Maybe the tenant was in a hurry to find a place, or the landlord forgot to disclose a few rules. Whatever the reason is, not being on the same page on all rental terms will inevitably cause landlord-tenant issues in the long run. As a responsible condo hunter, it is important to do your part and ask. It’s better to appear overly meticulous than be sorry in the end.

Don’t be in a hurry to sign that leasing contract just because you found out that the condo unit has a bathroom with a massive bathtub, or that it has a Tuscan-inspired kitchen. Make sure to clarify everything—all the weird rules, all the possible circumstances.

Here, we created a list of questions to help you out.

1. How rich do I have to be to live here?

First things first: How much is the rent? Will the rent be increasing anytime soon? Will my current income allow me to afford this place? Knowing what to expect in terms of rental fees will help you assess whether or not you could really afford to live there. It’s also useful to know if the rent is inclusive of utilities and/or association dues, so that it will save you the confusion when unexpected bills come pouring in.

2. I can’t pay my rent on time this month. Should I start packing away my things?

Unexpected things happen and sometimes, we just really need an extra week to come up with rent. That’s why it’s important to know if your landlord would be willing to grant you a grace period in the event that you get unbelievably broke. While landlords do have the right to evict a tenant who refuses to pay rent, providing an eviction notice is always the first reasonable step in going about this issue. Ask the landlord to clarify his or her terms on eviction, and make sure that you’ll be able to adhere to them.

3. Does my cat have to live with her new foster parents?

Before moving into your new condo unit with Snuffles, or whatever you call your cat, make sure that pets are allowed in your building, or that your landlord doesn’t hate cats. If he does, you may need to find new adoptive owners for your beloved pet.

4. Am I expected to repair my own bathroom sink pipe in the event that it bursts?

Living in a condominium doesn’t mean that you’re insusceptible to damages. Much like in a normal house or apartment, things will break, and things would need to be fixed. The questions that must be asked here are the following: Who is expected to fix the damage? How long is the reasonable amount of time for repairs? Again, is this included in the rental fee?

5. Should I be surprised when I come home to a stranger cleaning my kitchen?

Property employees may have to perform housekeeping chores and scheduled maintenance while you’re away. However, you must insist on being informed ahead of time should they have to enter the condo unit while you’re at work. This will prevent you from panicking when you find unfamiliar people scrubbing your sink. However, certain circumstances such as gas leaks, suspicious break-ins, and other emergencies may require your landlord or condo developer to enter your unit without prior notice.

6. If I get hungry in the middle of the night and have no food on hand, do I wake up my neighbors and beg for leftovers?

One important thing to consider is the existence of (or lack thereof) 24-hour grocery stores, convenience stores, or cafes near your place. Nobody wants to wake up at 3am and have nothing to eat. Unless you’re good at befriending neighbors, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

7. I hold monthly pajama parties for my friends. Are they allowed in my private domicile?

Know the existing policy on having friends over at your place. Ask whether or not sleepovers are allowed, and if they aren’t, ask what the visiting hours are. Understanding the terms before moving in will prevent embarrassing reprimands during wine nights.

8. What are the chances of getting myself burned during a fire emergency?

Make sure that you’ll easily be able to get out of the building during a fire emergency. If your condo unit is on the 4th floor, and the fire exit is at the end of the 2nd floor hall, you may want to reconsider.

9. Can I paint my walls pink?

You might think that since you’re a paying tenant, you’re allowed to do whatever you want with the place. However, most leases stipulate that when you move out, everything must be restored into its original condition. Same goes with any home decorating you’re planning to do.

10. Is my next-door neighbor a serial killer?

Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord or condo developer about your would-be neighbors. Seriously, you have the right to know if you’re risking your life here.

11. Is there an area in the building where smokers gather in peace?

If you’re a smoker, make sure you know where you’re allowed to light up a cigarette. Consequently, if you’re a non-smoker, it would be great to know which places to avoid so that you won’t be bothered with secondhand smoke.

Be thorough in asking about the condo unit you’re planning to rent. Ask yourself what you want out of condo living, and know whether your demands could possibly be satisfied in the event that you move in. Create a renting checklist. It would also be ideal to start your condo search with the top real estate developers in the Philippines. This way, you can be sure to choose from quality options.