Preparing questions for landlords is the last step you need to take before you begin your apartment search in earnest. It is important to be ready with questions so that you can be sure that the apartment is right for you.
This will not only allow you to get a better idea of how living in the apartment will be, but you will also be able to gauge how responsive your potential landlords will be once you move in. If you have any problems with your apartment, it is nice to know that you have someone you can trust to take care of any issues.
Here are some questions you should consider asking:
- Rent questions. How much, when is it due, how can it be paid, and what happens when you are late on rent?
- What are the leasing terms? Is it on an annual basis or is it month to month? If it is yearly, can you move to month to month at any point after your first year?
- What deposits and fees are associated with the lease? What are the terms for the return of your deposit? Deposits usually include security deposit, 1st and/or last month’s rent, cleaning, pet damage, and key deposit.
- What utilities are included as part of the rent, and what utilities will you need to pay for? Ask about the average cost of each utility and if there is a variance between seasons.
- Is there parking available? Is it indoors, covered or outside and are there any fees?
- Are storage units available? How much is included and what is the cost for additional space?
- Are cable and high speed internet available and are they included in rent?
- What other fees and cost are associated with renting this apartment?
- Is the rent expected to increase? What increases have been made over the past 5 years?
- Will you be responsible for cleaning when you move out of the apartment? Will you be charged for cleaning regardless of the state of the apartment you vacate?
- When will the unit be available?
- What are the restrictions on roommates and sublets? Although you may not plan to utilize these options, it is best to inquire upfront.
- Can you do any remodeling to the apartment such as painting, installing shelves, hanging pictures and mirrors, etc?
- What is the repair policy? Find out if there is someone specific to call and during what hours. Is there anything that will not be repaired? Can you be reimbursed for hiring outside help?
- What is the policy on pets? Even if you don’t currently own a pet, it is nice to know in case you want one later; also, you will know if your neighbors will have pets. This is crucial if you have allergies.
- Are there any specific rules that are associated with renting the apartment? (pertaining to visitors, parties and other issues that may affect the entire apartment community)
- Are there or have there ever been any pest control problems?
- Are there or have there ever been problems with mold or toxins in the apartment unit or building?
- How should one go about dealing with issues with other tenants? Have there been any incidents of note?
- Have there been any problems with security, such as theft or violent crime in the area or in on apartment grounds?
Moving Forward (and Into Your New Apartment)
Now that you have a comprehensive list of apartment needs and wants, you have exhaustively researched and organized your budget, you have a place or neighborhood in mind and you have prepared questions for landlords, it is time to start checking out what apartments are available for rent.
The best resource has become the internet. Our next article details some specific tips on Finding Apartments Online.