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Renting an apartment can be tough, hours of research online and tours of various buildings in various places. All that’s left is to pick the best one. However, a lot of buildings are “fine” to live in, but how will you know which place will be your home?
To really understand what you’re getting into, we’ve come up with the following list of 9 great questions to ask the landlord or property manager before you rent:
What is the parking situation? Where will I park my vehicle?
This is one of the most important questions to ask. Inquire if there are reserved parking spots, if it’s an open lot, or if there’s street parking. Ask about parking garages or covered parking and if they cost extra to use. Check it out while going to the leasing office or while you’re on a tour. Parking can get messy especially in bigger living communities. Make sure about your parking situation because no one wants to park 2 buildings away to walk to their apartment after a long day!
How are emergency repairs done?
Sometimes life will throw you a curveball and you won’t want to be alone when your heater goes out mid-winter at 2 AM. Some properties offer maintenance 24 hours a day and ask how quickly response time to problems are!
How do I pay my rent?
Almost assuredly any apartment complex has an electronic way to pay your rent nowadays. That’s the universally preferred method, but in some cases, writing a check and dropping it off in a deposit box or mailing it directly to your landlord will suffice. If they don’t have either of these options and only take cash, find another place to rent!
How is safety and security at the complex?
Ask about the security features installed in the apartment. Things like gates, buzzer systems, patrols, etc. It’s also good to ask about the area itself. Is your neighborhood a good one? Feeling safe in your own home is incredibly important and knowing these things ahead of time will allow you to make a better decision!
Can I make changes to the apartment?
This is a slightly polarizing topic. Making your place your own can usually be accomplished without changing the integrity of your unit. However, in the cases where you would need to change something major about your apartment (like hanging shelves or painting walls), some landlords are ok with it while others are vehemently against it. Ask! Make sure you’re familiar with everything in the lease agreement, it could very well save you a security deposit!
Are there plans to update the building?
This is a good question to ask because it can mean many things. The first is construction. If there are plans to make changes you could be dealing with the noise and inconvenience having construction crews. However, this could also mean renovation on units. This could be a great sign because remodeled or renovated units are almost always much better and you may have a chance to get a unit with brand new things and be the first to live in it!
What is your guest policy?
This is a good question to bring up especially if it’s not outlined in the lease itself. Of course, people can visit anytime but the question becomes “How Long?” Most apartments have a policy of how long a guest can stay with you. This time frame is usually 2 weeks before it becomes an issue. This will vary from place to place so make sure to ask!
Are utilities included?
This is the money question… quite literally. Some apartments will include utility costs in the rent and pay the companies directly so you don’t have to. Other places don’t pay it or include it in the overall costs. It’s important to establish which utilities, if any, are included to determine how much you can save on utilities. You don’t want to be shocked if your electricity, sewage, trash, or water stops because you didn’t ask if they were included!
What is your subletting policy?
Subletting is renting out your apartment to another person while the apartment is under your name. This can be incredibly handy if you suddenly have to move for work or other reasons. Ask the landlord or leasing agent if they allow it. This is another pretty polarizing topic. Most are either all for it or all against it. If they are against, you need to know because it could potentially be a breach in contract and land you in some hot water!
These certainly are not the only questions you can ask to ensure you’re getting the best place you possibly can, (Like is the rental pet-friendly!)but we found these to be the most pressing and they are also about the things that will affect you most in your day to day apartment life.
So, remember, don’t be afraid to ask your questions! This is where you may end up living, so make sure the place is worth it.
Print a handy checklist with all of the above questions.