The Ultimate Checklist: 14 Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment

Posted by: TheGuarantors on December 9, 2021

Touring apartments to find your new dream home is as exhausting as it is exciting. You might be tempted to jump the gun and lock down the first apartment that looks good. However, there are many questions you need to find out the answer to first. For example, if you're renting with pets, you'll want to know if your pup can live with you and the costs. If you're moving in with your best friend or partner, you'll wonder if the neighborhood is a good fit for the both of you.

In this two-part guide, we'll cover the 14 most important questions to ask when renting an apartment. Part 1 lists the questions you should ask your property manager. These include apartment utilities, renting with pets, etc. Part 2 lists the questions for your roommate or significant other. These include splitting rent and sharing renter's insurance.

Questions to ask when renting an apartment

So, without further ado, let's dive in!

Part 1: Questions to ask when renting an apartment

You'll be signing a lease with your property manager, so who better to turn to first? In this section, we'll cover ten important questions to ask when touring an apartment.

1. What's the rent?

Did you know that apartment prices fluctuate daily? So, always confirm the rent with your property manager to check whether or not it matches the online advertisement. Plus, it's a good idea to find out when the rent's due each month and if there are late fees. You want to be sure that the lease length and rent fit in with your budget.

2. What is a security deposit?

In addition to the rent, you'll have to put down a security deposit. Generally speaking, the security deposit is equivalent to the first and last month's rent.

Putting down a security deposit

3. Are utilities included in the rent?

The tenant usually pays for electricity, gas, and water bills. However, the rent might cover other costs like a garbage disposal. Therefore, it's best to check with your property manager about utility bills and each party's responsibilities.

4. How do I pay utility bills? 

Before moving in, check out the service providers in your area. One of the important questions to ask when renting an apartment is, "How do you keep your lights on and the Wi-Fi running?"

5. Are pets allowed?

Each complex will have its own rules when it comes to pets. For example, some property managers only allow certain breeds of pets. Nonetheless, It's best to know the regulations regarding renting with pets with each new apartment you visit.

Pet friendly apartments when moving in

For a more comprehensive review of renting with pets and associated costs, read our guide here.

6. What amenities are included?

Some of the biggest perks of living in apartment complexes are the amenities on offer. For example, your new dream home might come with an on-site gym! However, the more amenities there are, the higher the price is. So, on the list of questions to ask when touring an apartment, check whether you get an in-unit laundry or dishwasher.

TIP: Apartment amenities may be temporarily closed or have restricted access due to COVID-19 precautions.

7. What's the application process and fees?

Everything is perfect, and you want your dream home to be yours before someone else strikes! Ask your potential new property manager about the application process and how long it takes. Furthermore, it would be beneficial to ask for the budget for apartment application fees. This ranges from $50-$74.

8. What about rent hikes?

For long-term leases, you'll want to ask about any potential changes to your lease. If you're in it for the long haul, why live somewhere that regularly raises rent prices?

📌 Related: Everything You Need to Know About Apartment Fees

9. What are the house rules?

Just like pets, some property owners might have policies about drinking, smoking, or hosting guests. You should ask them about house rules and come to a mutually agreeable conclusion.

House rules when moving into a new apartment

10. How soon can I move in? 

As soon as you're sure this is the place for you, you'll want to move in straight away. However, that might not be possible. Check with the property owner about how soon you can move into your new home. Are there any tenants who have to move out first? Is there a specific policy regarding the entry of new tenants?

📌 Related: 12 Questions To Ask Your Landlord Before Signing A Lease

Part 2: Questions to ask when renting an apartment

Whether you're moving in with your partner or a potential roommate to save money, it's best to get these four questions out of the way. This checklist is also a self-assessment of your expectations as a renter.

1. How do we split rent?

The monthly payments will soon pile up if you're unsure of who's responsible for what. For example, your roommate might cover the apartment utilities instead of the rent if the amount is almost the same. Read our guide on splitting rent here for more creative ways to avoid risking late fees.

2. Is the neighborhood a good fit?

Since the past two years, there's been an upswing in virtual tours of apartments to avoid the spread of COVID-19. However, virtual tours are different from exploring nearby places in real-time. You might take a walk around the block and notice construction work or shuttered cafes. Before signing the lease, openly communicate your feelings and opinions!

Check if the neighborhood is the right fit when renting

3. Should we share renter's insurance?

Sharing renter's insurance is a cost-effective solution when bunking with a buddy. However, there are some pitfalls. For example, how can you be sure that your items are of the same value as your roommate's? If you're in a jam, hop on over to this blog to weigh the pros and cons of sharing renter's insurance.

4. What direction is the apartment facing?

If you love natural light or want to avoid direct sunlight, the answer to this question is important. In a west-facing apartment, the sun will rise behind you and set in the front. However, for an east-facing home, the opposite is true.

The direction of the apartment affects natural lighting

📌 Related: 11 Important Questions To Ask Your Potential Roommates

Wrapping up

Between application fees, renting with pets, and budgeting for utilities, it's hard to keep track of everything you need to find out when you're moving. Feeling overwhelmed? Use our checklist to guide you as you go along. Go ahead, bookmark or print this page when you have questions when renting an apartment! Are you moving in alone and need someone to co-sign your lease? We can be your guarantor!