4 Questions to Ask Before Renting an Apartment

There are a few things to consider before renting an apartment for the first time. As excited as you are to finally begin your new apartment life, you are probably a bit less enthusiastic about poring over the details of your lease. We’ll keep it simple: Here are four questions you should be sure to ask before renting your new apartment.

“Can Guests Stay Over?”
Believe it or not, some property managers frown upon house guests. Most will look the other way, but you need to ask. There may be a limit on the number of guests you can have spend the night, and your community may disallow extended-stay guests. The more guests you have, the more noise you’ll make and the more utilities you’ll use. What about parking? Does your apartment community have extra parking spaces? Make sure to find out about your community’s policy on guests.

[ Related: 10 Amenities to Look For When Choosing an Apartment ]

Moonlightway via morguefile.com: http://mrg.bz/WQ5kCQ

You get the couch: Typically visitors are not a problem, but you may run into difficulties with extended-stay guests. Be sure to check with your property manager if you have any questions. (Moonlightway via morguefile)

“Can I Have Pets?”
If you want to get a pet or already have one, it is very important to ask if your community allows pets. Many communities simply do not allow pets. Some permit cats but not dogs. Other communities allow both cats and dogs but hit you with a monthly pet fee (which helps offset any damage Fido may do to the apartment).

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“How Much Will I Have to Pay to Move In?”
There are always costs that you will have to pay to move in. You might have to pay to have the electricity turned on or for your cable to be installed. There will probably be a deposit that you will have to pay as well. Some property managers will tell you up front how much you will have to pay to move in, keeping you from being surprised later on. You might also want to contact the relevant utility companies to see what they charge to turn on each service you will need.

“What Happens If Something Breaks?”
You might not even consider this one, but you do not want to be responsible if something breaks while you are living in the apartment. But what happens if:

  • There’s a leaky faucet?
  • You need to have a pipe fixed?
  • The stove or oven stops working?

[ Related: Brush Hour: 3 Daily Habits to Help You Keep Your Apartment Clean ]

Before you move in, you should go through a checklist of the amenities. Who is responsible to carry out minor repairs? You or the property’s maintenance team? In most states, the law requires property managers to make repairs that make the apartment habitable, but the extent to which this should be done should be reviewed by you and the property manager.

Many residents do not stop to consider who’s responsible for maintenance, and, unfortunately, the probability that you will have some kind of problem with the apartment is high. Many apartment communities have a maintenance crew that will fix these kinds of problems, but this is a very important question to ask if you are on a budget. Remember, repairs are not cheap. The amount you should be paying for your apartment should only total about a third of how much you make. If you are paying for repairs, you will have to take that money out of your budget somewhere.

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