If the landlord or leasing agent you are working with only gives you the terms verbally, ask for the terms in writing before you draft a counter offer. You can simply ask for them in an email or a copy of the listing containing basic leasing information if the agent or landlord is hesitant to give you a letter. Here are some reasons why it is so important to get the initial leasing terms written down:
- Agent Misunderstandings. A leasing agent is working for the interests of the landlord, and it is possible that they could misunderstand the directions of the landlord, or even possibly attempted to alter them. If you have the terms in writing, you can show the landlord that you made a counter offer in good faith based on the information that the leasing agent had given you.
- Your Misunderstandings. If you are simply told the terms, it is also possible that you could misunderstand them and not be able to go back and reference them as you write a counter offer. Misunderstood information could lead to you making a counter offer that is either too high or too low.
- Research time. Asking for the terms in writing also buys you a little time to research more about the lease, compare terms to other potential leases, or to consult an attorney about the terms.
Remember that asking for terms in writing does not legally require you to move forward with the lease. You can still either counter the terms or just turn them down if you do not think they will work.