As exciting as touring a new apartment community can be, it’s also a very important time to gather crucial information about your potential new home-sweet-home — and we’re not just talking about the size of the closet or height of the ceilings. After all, you’re signing a contract for an extended period of time, so you want to ensure there are no surprises down the road.
Whether you’re touring a studio in the city or three-bedroom apartment for rent in the suburbs, it’s important that you ask these questions, and get the answers:
- How long is the lease?
- Will I need someone to co-sign my lease?
- When is rent due?
- What options are available to pay my rent?
- What are the consequences if I have to terminate the lease?
- How much notice am I required to give the property if I do not intend on renewing my lease?
- What is the guest policy?
- Am I allowed to sub-lease and/or short-term rent (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) to a third party? If so, what are the requirements?
- How much is rent?
- What is included in the rent? What is not included, but required? (Utilities, electricity and trash are often separate fees depending on the property.)
- Is a security deposit required? If so, how much?
- Will I need general liability coverage and/or renter’s insurance? If so, is there a minimum coverage required?
- What pets, if any, are allowed?
- Is there an age or weight restriction?
- Are there any specific breeds not allowed?
- Is there a monthly pet fee?
- How much is the pet deposit?
- Are there restrictions on where pets are allowed on community grounds?
- Where is the nearest relief area for my pet?
Estancia at City Center in Lenexa, KS
- What community amenities will I have access to?
- Are there restrictions on the use of community amenities?
- Are there restrictions on hours or days the community amenities are open?
- Are my guests allowed to use the community amenities?
- If I want to host a private party outside of my apartment, are there any community spaces available for rent? If so, is there a rental fee?
- Is there free Wi-Fi on the property?
- Are there additional storage rooms available for rent?
Elan City Lights in Dallas, TX
Interior Apartment Amenities:
- How is the kitchen equipped? Gas or electric?
- Is a microwave included in the kitchen?
- Which internet/cable suppliers provide service to the community?
- Which electric company provides service to the community?
- What items are not allowed in my apartment? (i.e. a real Christmas tree, a grill on the balcony, etc.)
- Am I allowed to paint the walls?
- Is the community eco-friendly or LEED-certified?
1 Kennedy Flats in Danbury, CT
Building Access and Maintenance:
- How do you gain access to the community?
- How do I submit maintenance requests?
- Does the community perform after-hours lock out service?
- After normal office hours, what services are considered emergency services?
- Is there a number I can call if I need assistance after office hours?
- How many vehicles are allowed per apartment?
- Is covered and/or garage parking available? If so, does it cost extra?
- Where is the closest guest parking?
- How is parking enforced?
- Is the building in a flood zone?
- In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, what protocols are in place?
- Where is the nearest grocery store?
- Where is the nearest hospital?
- Where is the nearest police station?
- What schools or school zone(s) provide services to the community?
- Is there public transportation in the area?
- Are there any surrounding attractions or construction going on or planned for the area that would be an additional benefit or a disruption to my everyday life?
- Are there any incentives if I refer a friend?
Don’t be afraid to bring this list with you when “interviewing” your next potential residence. Having these questions filled out for every community you visit could also help you make a decision when it comes down to two properties you’re waffling on.