Always read not only the contract itself but also all of the fine print. Read everything in the document. If you do not understand something, ask from someone you trust. Let someone you trust translate the document if needed. You should not give or send out any money beforehand.
If possible, check the apartment with the owner or a representative of the owner before you move in. Mark down all things you find unacceptable, like a broken pipe in the kitchen or dripping shower etc. In addition, it is a good idea to write down all the furnishing that remains in the apartment and their condition. Make sure you understand the responsibilities and rights of both parties. They should be written down in the contract. Make sure that all starting costs are written into the contract (e.g. electricity, water, gas, etc.). These numbers should be added to the contract on the day you start your apartment lease (if you do not have any other agreement with the owner).
Here is a list of things that should be included in the written rental agreement:
- Description of the object (including an accurate inventory of furniture)
- The amount of rent and payment procedures (if you pay in cash, make sure you take a signed proof of this every month)
- Additional costs (utility bills), calculation and payment procedures
- Contract period and the termination of the contract, including the early termination and the arrangements if that happens.
- Yours and the landlord’s obligations and rights
- Furnishing’s (furniture, equipment) preservation and the returning obligations.