When searching for an apartment, there is a lot to take in and consider. While you may have a checklist of what you want out of a property, like rent rates, room sizes, or amenities, you might be forgetting a few important things. We’re bringing you 5 questions apartment renters should ask. These will help you make an informed decision so you can choose the apartment that is right for you.
1. “What is the cost of rent, deposits and utilities? Can you break it down for me?”
Asking this question will help you verify all costs that you will be expected to pay when signing a lease. Knowing all costs will help you better budget your money. Find out how much you’ll be expected to pay up front with rent, deposits and any other fees. Plus, cost of utilities is often a make or break factor for most people looking to rent an apartment. Since utilities can greatly increase monthly expenses, you’ll want to understand what is and is not included early in the process.
2. “If my roommate cannot make rent, will I be held accountable by the property?”
Understand lease agreements and penalties, especially when roommates are involved. It is important to know the differences between tenants and occupants. If you sign the lease agreement, you are a tenant and will be held responsible for agreements made in your lease. If you have people living in your apartment without signing anything, they are not contractually bound and cannot be held responsible if they cannot pay their portion of the rent or other issues that may come up. You should always require all roommates sign lease agreements (if it isn’t required by the property already).
3. “What is required in the application and screening process?”
It is always a good idea to know what you will need to submit for the application and screening process, as well as how long it takes. Make sure you find out if there are additional application fees to help you keep an eye on your overall budget. Most properties can do the application and screening process pretty quickly but if there is a wait, and you are in a bind, this is something you will want to know.
4. “What if I need to break the lease?”
Life happens and sometimes that can interfere with a yearlong lease you have somewhere. While you never move into a place with plans to break it in 4 months, it is good to know what will be required in case of an unavoidable speed bump in life.
5. “What is expected of me as a tenant? Are there property rules, like quiet hours, I need to know about?”
Properties can vary greatly in rules and expectations on site. It is always good to know what is and is not a rule on a property. If you want to get specific ask questions like: Am I allowed to have furniture or planters on my patio? Does my dog have to be on a leash if we are on the property? Is glass allowed at the pool? Can I have social events with friends at the pool or clubhouse? It is always better to ask than assume!
Renting an apartment doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Making an informed decision is the best way to choose the best apartment for you! Empower yourself and never be scared to ask questions. The leasing staff is there to help – use them to get all the information you need before signing a lease. Property management companies vary in prices, fees, and policies. You shouldn’t assume you know what to do because you’ve rented before. Do your research, and ask questions when you take a tour or speak to a leasing agent. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be when you sign the dotted line!