Questions to ask when renting your first apartment
Here is a list of questions to ask when renting for the first time in an apartment complex to avoid any surprises.
Whether it is your first time living out of home or your first time doing this alone, renting for the first time can be exciting but also intimidating.
Choosing an apartment is the first step. But you want to have all the information necessary to help you decide if you should take the rental. After looking through your rental checklist, you want a good idea of what the landlord requires.
Here is a list of questions to ask when renting for the first time in an apartment complex. Avoid any surprises that might make you wish you never signed that lease.
What is the cost per month?
Your budget is what guides your apartment search. Always ask your future landlord about what amenities are included in the lease. Are cable, water, internet, electricity or gas included in the rent or are they separate?
If they are separate from the month's rent, ask for an average of the utilities to figure out how this will fit into your budget.
Is there a security deposit?
Most landlords ask for a security deposit equal to a month's rent in case their damage to the property.
The good thing is that it is possible to get it back if you don't break anything of course. The rental unit should be in the same condition as when you first moved in. Trusting your landlord on this is important. There have been cases where the security deposit have been denied. Even the slightest scratch on the wall, and you will never see your security deposit. To avoid this, do some research on the landlord and their reputation.
What is included in the lease agreement?
Before you sign a lease, ask what is included in it. Yes, you can read it over (don't forget the fine print) but if you have the chance to discuss it face to face with the landlord even better. If any more questions come up, he'll be right there to answer them before you commit.
Your lease should include what the landlord is responsible for and what you are responsible for. For example, your landlord is responsible for snow plowing, and you are responsible for replacing burned off light bulbs and getting tenant insurance.
What happens when a tenant is caught breaking the lease should also be clear. There could be penalties for breaking it or the landlord might terminate your lease. Make sure you understand under what circumstances this can happen!
Other details that should be included in your lease are: the rental term, the monthly rent amount, the date rent is due, when the landlord can increase rent and other rules to follow.
Will I need a co-signer?
Because this is your first time renting an apartment, some landlord might not trust you as much as an experienced renter. A co-signer brings them a piece of mind. This person could be a parent or guardian who will take responsibility for your rent in case you fail to pay.
What is the policy on subletting?
Subletting is a great option to save a few bucks on rent whenever you are out of town for months. But your landlord might not approve. It is always better to double check if your landlord is okay with a non-tenant staying over in their property.
What is the pet policy?
Pets can be man's great companion, and hopefully, they'll get to join you in your new apartment. Depending on what animal you own, the landlord might approve or disapprove. Some landlords are strict and have a no pets policy, others are comfortable with them as long as they stay in your unit or you pay a fee.
What is the procedure for emergency repairs?
Regular repair duties should already be covered in the lease agreement, but what happens when it is an emergency? You should know what to do whenever something needs to be fixed right away and how to contact management after hours.
What is the parking situation?
If you have a car, you need to ask about your parking spot. Will it be covered by rent or is there a monthly fee? Depending on this fee, the parking situation might be a deal breaker.
Don't forget to ask about guest parking, the security around the parking lot and whether or not they offer underground parking (useful in the winter months!).
How safe are the building and neighbourhood?
Knowing what measures are taken to keep the building safe and secure can help you make a final decision. They could have night patrols, security cameras, coded gates, and more. Ask about the crime rate and even if a crime has happened inside the complex.