Every landlord has good things to say about their property. If you’re new to renting, you might find it challenging to navigate through the criteria by which an apartment becomes desirable. With open queries (like what’s your late-fee policy? How is the water pressure? Can I sublet?) you can get to know more about the property and the landlord’s expectations.
Here’s a list of 20 questions compiled by Roomi that will help you gain more perspective on whether or not you should rent that gorgeous space you’ve been eying.
1. When is the apartment available?
Match your move-in date with the landlord’s start date. It’s challenging to find an apartment that ticks all the boxes, so if the move-in date does not match yours, see if you can have a conversation with your potential landlord to find a solution you’re both happy with.
2. Is there a rental deposit?
Despite some state laws prohibiting the practice, many landlords go for non-refundable deposits and have them printed in the lease. It’s best to do your research and check the agreement thoroughly.
3. What is the lease duration?
If the landlord wants a lease for two years and can only commit one year, no matter how perfect the apartment is, you need to move on and check other places. You do have an option of subletting – but consent from your landlord is essential here.
4. How is the water pressure?
It’s important to check all taps in the kitchen and bathroom. Ask the landlord about the shower pressure and how long it takes for water to heat in the morning.
5. What are the amenities?
This is one of the most important questions to ask before renting. Check if all amenities are in working condition, and document the ‘before’ pictures of all the appliances provided. If there’s a gym or a pool in your apartment building, check for timings and the policy on guest usage.
6. What is the room’s heating situation?
It’s a good idea to check whether you have control over your room’s temperature regulation. Often, your landlord has the back-end control of the temperature. So, make sure you ask them if it’s possible for you to regulate the temperature.
7. How is cell reception?
Can you imagine yourself leaning out of your window trying to get a cell network or scurrying into a corner of the room for a better signal? And that’s why it’s a good idea to check for phone reception in your potential apartment.
8. Who accepts the deliveries to the property?
You may want all your parcels or UPS or FedEx deliveries taken by a supervisor or authorized person in the absence of a doorman. Ask if these options are available.
9. Is it noisy?
Noise can be disruptive, especially if you are going to be working from home. Whether it’s noisy neighbors, loud music, or TV, it affects the quality of your lifestyle. Some landlords have a ‘quiet hour policy’ included in the housing agreement. Check with your potential landlord if noise is something that could bother you.
10. Who is responsible for managing common areas?
Some landlords take the responsibility upon themselves to maintain common areas like the hallway, elevator, and porch. It is also common for some landlords to charge an annual or monthly maintenance fee. It’s best to know some of your rights as a renter in your state to clarify this one, so ask the right questions to your landlord.
11. What is the guest policy?
In many areas, the landlord or the building manager needs to be informed if you’re having a long-term guest or visitor coming over. Do ask your landlord beforehand if you plan on having a guest over for more than a week to avoid sneaking around.
12. Is there parking available?
High-density areas have permit and license requirements for parking. With tightly cramped apartment blocks, it may be a challenge to park your car if you drive one. Ask your landlord if there’s a parking spot reserved for the building residents.
13. Are pets allowed?
A necessary question before renting! If you own a pet, it is a good idea to check for pet policy with your landlord to avoid unnecessary fines later.
14. Can you sublet?
What happens if your work requires you to travel for a few months, or what if you’re going away for a long trip? Subletting will help you pay rent for the months where you’re personally not using the space. A fair request from the landlord’s end might be to adhere to his guidelines and meet his screening criteria, which seems like a fair deal.
15. What is the late-fee policy?
Check with the landlord on the late-fee policy. Every state allows late fees within their guideline and state limit. It’s best to do your research on the late-fees policy to avoid paying a higher late fee.
16. Mode of paying rent
What methods for rental payments will the landlord accept? Online payment is an easy and convenient option. Also, avoid landlords who only insist on cash payments.
Another important question to ask before renting! Does your landlord allow early lease termination? Some landlords may provide early termination of the lease, but might ask you to pay a fee for the months you signed up. Get clarity on this if you have uncertain plans for your stay in the future.
18. Lease renewal
Can the lease be renewed? What if you want to go month-to-month after your lease expires? It helps to know the landlord’s perspective on this as some plan to sell the property, and you may not know their intention unless you ask them this question.
19. Which furnishings or appliances are part of the rental lease?
As a practice, some states require the renters to install their own devices, while in many others, the landlord installs them. For the latter, it might be a good idea to check the working condition of the appliances. You might also need to ask for an upgrade if required.
20. Neighborhood safety
Has there been a break-in, theft, or assault on this property? You may not get a direct answer to this question, but at least the landlord knows that you take safety seriously. You can check police or public records for accurate answers if you need to. It might not seem like it, but this is one of the most important questions to ask your landlord for your own safety.
D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers frame the right questions to ask landlords? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!