Renters make up a significant section of the US population, accounting for 44.1 million households as of 2021. That number may grow in the coming years, with 77 percent of Americans saying they prefer to rent instead of purchasing a home.
But while there are plenty of good things that come with apartment living, it also means you have to move more frequently than the typical homeowner does. Indeed, renters make up the bulk of the 15.3 million households that move each year.
A big part of apartment shopping is asking your potential apartment landlord questions about the property that you’re considering renting. You’re going to be living in the building for a while, so it’s only natural to want to know as much about the place as possible.
In today’s post, we highlight the seven top questions to ask landlords while apartment hunting. Read on to learn more.
How Much Is the Monthly Rent?
As soon as you’ve viewed the rental property, your first question should be what the rent is. Even if the monthly rent payment was already advertised online, you need to know that things may have changed.
Rental rates can fluctuate rapidly, and the price you saw just a few days ago may have changed today. Getting clarification from your potential landlord helps you budget accordingly.
Note that the rent may vary depending on the length of the lease. A month-to-month lease will most likely be higher than a yearly lease.
You’ll also want to know when the rent is usually due, and whether there are fees for late payment.
How Much Is the Security Deposit?
Besides rent, you’ll most likely need to budget for the security deposit. Most landlords require anywhere between one and three months’ rent as a security deposit.
Of course, if the landlord is looking to get tenants in quickly, they may consider giving you a discounted security deposit. Some landlords even waive the deposit entirely. Look for any special alert on the rental apartment list to see whether such offers exist.
Don’t forget to ask whether the security deposit is refundable. In some cases, the security deposit is fully refundable as long as you return the apartment in good condition after moving out. In others, the deposit is non-refundable.
What Utilities Does the Rent Include?
In many apartments, the rent covers such utilities as garbage and water. As a tenant, you’ll only need to pay for heating, gas, and electricity expenses. Things may be different in other apartments for rent.
Enquire from the landlord what utilities your monthly rent will cover and what you need to pay for out of pocket.
You may also want to find out how you’ll be required to pay the utilities you’re personally responsible for.
How Many People Can Live in the Apartment?
Where you intend to share the apartment with roommates or have a large family, it helps to find out the tenancy occupancy standards before signing the lease. Many apartments only allow a maximum of two people per bedroom, and that includes children.
You may also want to find what the apartment’s guest policy is. Most landlords have no problem with you having guests. However, the guest’s stay may be limited, with many guest policies capping guests’ stay at two weeks.
What’s Your Pet Policy?
Finding an apartment that does not allow pets can be a huge deal breaker if you own pets. The good news is that 78 percent of all apartment buildings in the US allow pets.
If the building you’re planning to rent allows pets, you need to find out what their pet policy says. Some pet policies can be significantly complicated. Some have strict breed and weight restrictions for dogs, for instance.
Enquire about the fees associated with keeping a pet in the apartment. Most apartments require a pet deposit or a monthly pet rent.
How Is the Parking Situation?
If you own a car, a gorgeous apartment without parking space is no good. The last thing you want is to be doing circles around the apartment building every day while trying to find street parking.
Ask the landlord whether the apartment unit comes with parking space. If it does, find out whether there’s an additional cost associated with the parking. In most apartment buildings, the cost is included in the rent.
In some apartment buildings, renters can choose between covered and non-covered parking spaces. Typically, the covered parking spots cost extra.
Where the apartment building doesn’t come with parking space but you’re still interested in it, scan the street and nearby areas to find out whether you can easily find a secure space to park your car.
What if I Need to Break the Lease?
It’s difficult to predict what will happen within the year. You could get a new job or develop a cross-state love connection, for instance. Whatever the situation, if something comes up that makes it necessary to move mid-lease, you need to know from the very beginning what your options will be.
Some landlords may require the tenant to buy their way out. Others may simply ask you to find a suitable tenant to take over the lease. Knowing what to expect helps you decide whether to commit to the lease or not.
Know What to Ask Your Apartment Landlord
Being sure that you’re moving into the right apartment for you and your family is a wonderful feeling. The best way to clear up all doubts is knowing what quotations to ask your potential apartment landlord before you sign any papers.
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