Moving into a new apartment can be scary and exciting at the same time.
However, no matter how ecstatic and eager you are, it’s important not to rush through the whole process. For however long you plan to rent the apartment, it will be your home for a considerable amount of time.
It will probably be the place where you spend the most time every day. Therefore, when taking this big step in life, you want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
And the best way to do that is to ask the right questions.
Here are some important questions to ask when renting an apartment.
Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment
This is one of the most important factors you consider when choosing an apartment.
Therefore, you should try to ask as many questions as you can about it. Some things you can ask include:
What Payment Methods are Acceptable for Rent?
For one-time payments, you can manage whatever method is required. However, if you’re going to be paying rent every month, you want to make it clear how it will be done.
Some landlords allow you to pay the rent online, so you save that trip to the landlord every month.
In other cases, the landlord might require you to pay in cash only, which can be a hassle for some people.
What is the Late Fee Policy?
As much as we plan our budget and expenses, sometimes things do get out of control. You might not get your salary on time, or you may face an unexpected but important expense.
Either way, you might end paying your rent at a later date. So, you should ask what your landlord’s policy is regarding late rent.
How many fees will they charge for it?
How late can the rent be? Make sure you have some definitive answers so that you don’t end up regretting your decision.
Will the Rent be Increased and By How Much?
Many landlords increase the rent after a specific period, such as a year or after every lease term.
This will obviously affect your expenses and living if you plan to stay that long. So, ask if that will be happening and if yes, then ask by how much the rent will be increasing.
You can then factor this information into your living costs and make a decision accordingly.
Questions About Lease
Even if you don’t know much about real estate laws and contracts, your lease is one document that you should know everything about.
Memorize the whole thing from the first to the last page.
Ask any questions that come to mind, or you feel should be included in writing in the contract.
Is the Lease Renewable?
You might be thinking of renting the apartment for a couple of years, and the landlord might offer you a lease of just one year.
Then, you might think that you’ll just get it renewed after a year, only to find out that the landlord plans to live there now.
So, before you end up having nowhere to go, make sure to ask if your lease is renewable if you plan to rent for a long time.
Can the Lease be Terminated Early?
Unforeseen circumstances are precisely that. Unforeseen. So, one day, you might suddenly find yourself wanting to leave the apartment, and so you will have to end the contract.
Now, unless you want to pay the rent without even staying there, you should ask if the lease can be terminated earlier on and the duration of the notice period that is required.
Moreover, you should ask if they charge any fees for early termination so that you can factor that into your expenses.
What is the Lease Duration?
This is another important detail that you can’t really work-around.
Ask your landlord how long the lease duration will be. It could be that they want to lease the apartment for at least two years, while you only plan to rent it for six months.
In that case, it’s not a good match, and you can opt for some other apartment instead.
Questions About Who Else Can Live with You
Whether it’s a pet or a friend from out of town, you need to be clear about who else can stay with you at the apartment.
What is the Guest Policy?
Different landlords have different policies. Some might have no issue with guests coming over. Some might be stricter and not allow a visitor to stay longer than two weeks.
If you’ve got a significant other who often stays with you, you might want to carefully consider the guest policy to avoid any trouble later on.
Have it included in your contract so that your landlord can’t complain about it afterwards.
Are Pets Allowed?
The pet policy can be a big dealbreaker for many people.
Some landlords clearly state if they don’t allow pets on their property. Some might mention specific animals or breeds that are prohibited.
If they haven’t said anything, it’s a good idea to clear it out beforehand, or else you might be forced to choose between your beloved pet and the apartment.
Questions About Utilities, Furnishings, and Other Facilities
Utilities play a big role in your living expenses, and that’s why you need to know everything about them to accurately calculate your monthly budget.
Similarly, what furnishings and facilities are available can also affect your convenience.
What is the Cost of Utilities and What’s Included in the Rent?
Utilities include water, gas, electricity, heating, garbage, etc. Some landlords include the cost of some utilities, such as the water expense, in the monthly rent.
Accordingly, gas, electricity, heating, etc., then come under your expenses. So, you should ask how much these utilities cost so that you can accurately account for them in your budget.
What Furnishings and Appliances are Provided?
Some apartments come partly furnished with some appliances and furniture, such as a laundry machine. In that case, you save some money by not buying your own.
However, you have to be careful to preserve it in its working condition.
Make sure you know exactly which appliances are being provided by the landlord himself and don’t rely on what you see during the apartment visit. Some things you see could belong to the previous tenant.
Are There Parking and Delivery Facilities Available?
The facilities available also make a big difference.
You might not realize it initially, but when you have to park your car a block away every night, it can become a headache.
Therefore, ask if there are adequate parking facilities. Similarly, also enquire if there’s a superintendent of the building who can deliver your parcels to your doorstep.
Other Relevant Questions
The idea is to make as many things as clear as possible about renting the apartment.
Only then can you make a completely informed decision about whether you should stay there or not.
Therefore, think of everything that matters to you or would be troublesome, such as noise or visitors, and ask about them.
Here are some other questions you should ask.
How Are Repairs and Maintenance Handled?
No matter how careful you are, every apartment requires some repairs and maintenance every now and then.
Unless you want to be paying them out of your own pocket, ensure that you make it clear with the landlord who’s responsible for the regular maintenance of the apartment.
Moreover, ask them what’s the procedure for it and how long it takes to carry out these repairs.
What Changes are You Allowed to Make in the Apartment?
If you’re fond of decorating your apartment to how you like it, make sure you’re allowed to do it before.
Some landlords might not like a lot of changing and redecorating in their property.
So, ask what’s allowed and to what extent, so that you’re saved from paying any additional fees later on.
How Safe is the Neighborhood?
Security is a big concern for everyone, but most people forget to ask about it. Therefore, one of the first questions you should ask when renting an apartment is how safe is the neighborhood?
How high is the crime rate? If you’ve young children with you, you might not like an apartment that is not in a safe neighborhood.
Will the Building be Updated?
You should ask if the landlord plans to update the building during your lease. This is also an important question as it could affect you in many ways.
If there’s construction, you will have to bear the noise. If they plan to add a new facility, you could benefit from it.
You might think that you’ve all the information you need from looking at the rental ad or going through the rental agreement.
However, there are always some things that the landlord doesn’t necessarily want to share with you and will not unless you ask them.
Therefore, before you find yourself in a situation you can’t get out of, ask these important questions when renting an apartment and save yourself from trouble later on.
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