Questions to Ask a Landlord Before Renting an Apartment

BEFORE SIGNING THE LEASE,
WHAT SHOULD YOU ASK THE LANDLORD?

Make sure you know what to ask a landlord before renting an apartment. These questions will help you get the most out of your lease, and even get some extra perks!

Apartment Lease
  1. Paint. Normally the landlord will paint before you move in. Feel them out and see if you can supply your own paint colors. This is what many tenants are doing now and it saves time and you get the look you want.
  2. Upgrade appliances. Check out the appliances and if the fridge still doesn't have a separate freezer, see if they're willing to upgrade it. Pitch the idea of energy efficiency.
  3. Carpet upgrade. Is the carpet worse for wear? Could it use a deep cleaning or could it be switched out. Before you sign the lease see if the landlord will pay for that to happen and if not see if they'll split it with you.
  4. Utilities. Make sure you understand what the landlord is responsible for and what you are. Sometimes, the tenant is responsible for the trash and electricity, and the landlord is responsible for water. The tricky part is that they all come on the same bill.
  5. WilliamPaid.com. Many landlords would be thrilled to accept your rent payment online. That way, you don't have to worry about paying your rent on time. It is easy and very convenient. Sign up and you can pay rent online by check, debit card, credit card or any combination of the three options. More than likely, your rent check is the only physical check you are writing with many of your bills already being paid online.
  6. Last Tenants. Always ask who the last tenants were, how long they lived there and why they moved out. It often gives a lot of insight into the landlord and the property. Even if the landlord is vague, even that tells you something.
  7. Major Repairs. Find out if there have been any major repairs done in the last 5 years. Mold Reparation? New pipes? New Central Air?
  8. Garden. Ask about the exterior maintenance. A lot of times landlords will do a pesticide spray a couple of times a year. If you have pets you'll want to know how often it happens so you can keep them out of the bushes.
  9. Pet Deposit. Our new landlord wanted an extra $50/month in order to have our cat. We negotiated and put down a deposit instead. This way when we move out, if there's no pet damage, we’ll get money back instead of it all going to rent.
  10. Read the Lease. This is perhaps too obvious, but under pressure we often feel like there's only time for a quick skim and then sign. Ask to have the rental lease emailed to you ahead of time so you have time to really read through it and that you understand what each party is responsible for. If there's anything you’re uncomfortable with, bring it up before signing it. Make sure that everything you agreed to verbally is reflected in the lease; it's there to protect you and the landlord. It might also make sense to have an attorney review the lease before you sign.
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