When you are looking to move into a new rental apartment, there are many questions you should ask and many factors you need to consider. Some of these things you will be able to figure out on your own, and some you will have to ask a property manager. Before you sign a lease, you will want to make sure the below questions and factors have been addressed. This will ensure you will be as happy as possible with your new apartment. Let’s cover 14 questions you will want to ask before signing an apartment rental lease.
Questions to Ask When Looking at Properties
1. How long is the lease?
While most apartment complexes have 12-month leases, it is very likely that you will come across a place that has a longer or shorter term. Some landlords like longer leases to ensure they will have a tenant for a longer period of time. On the other hand, some landlords prefer to have month-to-month leases with their tenants. This is why you should not assume your landlord is giving you a 12-month lease. Be sure to read the lease and make sure it is for as long as you would like it to be. You don’t want to get locked into a long lease or have to find a new place sooner than you expected.
2. How and when is rent paid each month?
Another thing that is very common for apartment complexes is to have rent due on the first day or the last day of each month. However, this is not a requirement, and it is completely up to the landlord. Each landlord will have a preference for when their tenants will need to pay their rent each month. So, be sure to know when your rent will be due before you sign your lease so you are not surprised when you get the charge.
After you know when rent is due, you will need to know how to pay it. There are many cash transferring apps today like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay, and many landlords have started accepting them as a method of payment. Many landlords still use wire transferring or take money out of their tenants’ bank accounts each month. Either way, before signing your lease, ask how to get your rent payment to your landlord each month.
3. When will the unit be available?
After you have toured and found the perfect rental apartment, you will need to find out when you can move in. Ask your landlord for a clear timeline for when you can move into your new apartment. You will want to make sure there is no waiting list for an open apartment and that you can move in as soon as you are able to. Checking on this will help you to know if you need to ask the next question as well.
4. Will the cost be pro-rated if the lease doesn’t start on the day rent is due?
As mentioned above, many landlords require payment on either the first or last day of the month. But, if a unit will not be available until the 15th, you should make sure you don’t have to pay for the entire month. This is what is considered as a pro-rated charge. Most landlords will automatically have your rent be pro-rated, but it is always safe to ask them before assuming.
5. Are there any move-in fees?
Many landlords have move-in fees that they charge their tenants. Oftentimes, these fees will be in the form of a security deposit or a finder’s fee. Some landlords will also require the first and last month’s rent for a tenant’s apartment. Additionally, you may be expected to pay for an application fee, vehicle registration fee, and a pet deposit. Before you sign a lease, make sure you have room in your budget to cover all of the fees your landlord will expect you to pay.
6. Are utilities included in the cost of rent?
This is a very important question to ask before deciding on an apartment to rent. There have been many cases where people forget about the cost of utilities, and they think they can afford their apartment based on the rent amount. In reality, if utilities are not included in the cost of rent, you will be spending much more than expected. Make sure you can afford $100 to $200 in utilities each month on top of the cost of rent. While you may not spend this much on utilities every month, the summer and winter months will likely be this expensive.
7. Are pets allowed?
If you are planning on bringing one or two furry friends with you to your apartment, make sure they are welcomed with open arms. When pets are not allowed and you bring one anyway, you can face hefty fees and can even get evicted. There are many landlords who do allow pets, so don’t feel discouraged if you fall in love with a place that does not allow Fido to come with you. On the other hand, if you do not like pets, you will likely want to live in an apartment complex that does not allow them.
8. Are guests allowed?
Many people love having dinner parties and inviting many people to come over at once. This is normally not a big deal to landlords, but you will want to ask just in case. Ask your landlord where your guests should park and if parking overnight is allowed.
9. Can you personalize the space?
Considering this will be your new home, you will likely want to add your own personal touches. So, ask your landlord what they allow when it comes to personalization. Can you paint the walls if you paint them back before you move? Are you allowed to use nails to hang pictures? Asking these questions will help you get your security deposit back when your lease is over.
10. How are maintenance requests handled?
There is a very slim chance you will not need maintenance services when leasing your apartment. It is likely a lightbulb will go out, a sink will stop draining, or your air conditioning will go out. The beauty of renting is that you can call your apartment’s maintenance and they will be able to handle the issue for you. With that being said, you will need to know how to put in a maintenance request when your apartment needs servicing. Typically, these requests will be made through a form online or through the phone. But before you are in a desperate situation, you will want to be made aware of how to put in a request at your specific apartment complex.
11. Is renter’s insurance required?
While most landlords don’t require renter’s insurance, some will not allow their tenants to lease from them without it. Some people believe that rental insurance is essential when renting an apartment, so even if your landlord does not require it, you may want to look into getting your apartment covered.
12. Do you like the landlord?
As you may know, your landlord will be conducting an extensive background check on you before you are approved to move into your apartment. This is to ensure the safety of their property and to make sure you will be a tenant with integrity. It is also a good idea to conduct a simple research on your landlord. See if there are any reviews for your apartment complex online and read what people have to say about it. Look to see if there are any formal complaints made against your landlord or if they have gotten into legal trouble recently. This will increase the chances you are safe in your apartment and that your landlord has high integrity.
13. Where is the apartment complex located?
Before searching for an apartment, there is a good chance you narrowed down your search to a specific area. This is a great idea, as location is a very important consideration in deciding on a place to live. You will want to live near your job, school, family, or any other place you visit frequently. If you are having to drive for an hour just to get to work in the morning, you may not appreciate where you live. So, before finalizing your decision to lease an apartment, check your phone’s GPS to see how many minutes and miles it is from your most frequented places.
14. Does the apartment complex have any amenities?
Amenities are a very important aspect for each apartment complex. Many places have pools, gyms, and lounge areas that tenants love to use. If having a place to workout in your apartment building is important to you, make sure the apartment building has one. On the other hand, if you know you will not be using a gym because you already have a gym membership, you may want to look at another place. A part of your rent goes towards the amenities offered by an apartment complex, so you want to be sure you are not over spending.
Looking to Sign an Apartment Rental Lease in Hattiesburg?
Hattiesburg Apartments helps get people into some of the best apartment communities in Hattiesburg. Our listings have great property management teams and have fantastic amenities. Feel free to take a look at our available units today and contact one of our team members to help you find your new apartment!