Leases for a new apartment can range from handshakes and verbal contracts or lengthy contracts. Sometimes depending on the length of the lease contract you may want to have a lawyer look over the lease and explain everything to you. Vital information should always be provided upfront from the leasing company or landlord.
Never assume anything, make sure to ask about anything. Which questions are the most important to ask your landlord or leasing agent? We have come up with a list of the best questions to ask them. Some of the questions below will not apply to all but keep reading and you may find others that do apply to you.
When is Rent Due and How to Pay?
The first and most important question to ask right at the start. You may assume you know the answer, which is the first of the month and by check. Not all but some landlords require and electronic direct deposit. Others may accept credit cards and usually apply a fee to this style of payment. Best to find out the specifics on your rent and due date.
Also make sure to ask for any additional costs such as:
- Late Fees
- Hidden Charges
- Rent Hikes
- Move-in Costs
What’s Included in Your Rental Costs?
Some apartments will include utilities or other amenities to help lower your cost of living. Ask your leasing agent or landlord if any of the following are included in your rental agreement.
- Garbage Fees
- Natural Gas
- Wi-Fi, cable, or satellite
Are There Any Discounts or Rental Promotions?
It is never hurting to ask! If they say no, then do some research and check online for any available discounts. Sometimes rental companies will not tell you out right if there are any discounts but will have them posted on their website.
Do I Need Renters Insurance?
Not all landlords require you to have rental insurance. But it is smart to have no matter. This will cover any damages to your apartment. Which in the long run will save you a lot of money. Renters Insurance is also quite cheap, so it will only add a little bit to your final cost of living.
Is Month-to-Month Available after Lease Expires?
This is the perfect time to find out your exact lease terms. Make sure to find the answers to these questions.
- What happens if I break the lease early?
- Will they report you to collections or a debt collector for breaching the lease?
How Much Notice Must I Provide When I Want to Move?
When this question is asked, make sure to consider the following as well:
- What is the time frame?
- What is the security deposit return process? How long will it take?
- When is the final walkthrough? Do I need to be present?
Who Will be Able to Enter My Apartment?
This is your home and your privacy matters. Different agencies have different policies, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them.
Find out the specifics on the following:
- Emergencies – who on the staff will be able to enter if there is an emergency? Does your company require background checks on its employees?
- Notice for Standard Entry – What is the time frame the staff will give? How much notice?
- Guest Policy – who am I able to have in my apartment?
- Roommate Policy – Does a roommate need to sign the lease as well?
- Pet Policy – What is the deposit? What types of pets are allowed? How many can I have?
Will Locks be Changed Before Move-in?
This may be one of the most overlooked questions to ask your leasing company or landlord. If they say no, demand that they change them. Also find out who has the master keys to your residence.
Is there any construction or future construction?
This may mean more noise and less security. Now is the time to inquire about the security of the property. Are there cameras? Is the parking lot adequately lite?
Am I able to Sublet the Apartment?
With companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo, and you plan on subletting your apartment, make sure to ask this question. Landlords do not always make this decision, but they follow and abide by local laws.
Can I Paint the Walls?
Sometimes you will want to make changes to your apartment, make sure to find out if you are able to make those changes. The landlord may allow you to paint the walls a different color, but the walls must be returned to original color or it will impact your security deposit. Also, ask about what general wear and tear you will be responsible for when you move out.
Other related questions may be:
- Can I smoke in the apartment?
- What is the noise policy?
- Do blinds or curtains come with the apartment?
Who to Contact in Case of an Emergency?
It is important to know who you will need to contact if there is an emergency. You will want to have all the contact numbers of your landlord or rental company.
Numbers to have:
- Emergency line
- Maintenance staff
- Someone you hire
Who to Contact about Issues with Rent?
Most apartment complexes have a leasing office, make sure to know the number and their hours.
Who to Contact for Basic Repairs?
Minor issues you may need to contact someone different than if it was an emergency. Find out who you will need to submit these issue requests.
Is there Existing Damage?
Your security deposit is a key component when you decide to move out of your apartment. Make a list of any damage to the apartment before you move in during your walkthrough. Also, if there was any damage that went unnoticed during your walkthrough, and you found it when you have the keys, take pictures, and send them to your leasing agent. You do not want to get dinged for damages that the prior residents caused.
Where are the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?
You and other resident’s safety comes first. Look to see where all smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are located. If you do not see them, then ask your landlord.