We all know the obvious questions: “How much is rent?” “Are utilities included?” “Are pets allowed?” In addition to these common questions, we talked to the experts, including landlords, real estate brokers, and realtors to uncover the questions they believe every tenant should ask a prospective landlord:
Can I make any changes to the space?
It is good to ask whether you will be able to paint the walls, install shelving, etc. Some landlords are more stringent about this than others, and may have a process for requesting “upgrades” like this. Depending on your budget, this could make a difference for you when choosing between two apartments.
- Alex Yakimavets, Vice President, Formeflex
What is the renewal policy?
Make sure you look carefully at what the renewal policy is. Some leases simply end with no obligation from either side, others require the tenant to give notice 30 or 60 days before the end of the lease or you will be penalized.
- Sep Niakan, Real Estate Broker
Am I allowed to plant a small garden in the backyard?
If you have a green thumb and enjoy summer vegetables and herbs, it would be wise to ask questions about your restrictions with the yard space before assuming anything. Sometimes landlords will allow you to plant a small garden, while others may already have a landscaping company they’ve hired for maintenance and will not want you altering the space.
- Tonya Bruin, CEO, To Do Done Handyman Services
Who is responsible for landscaping maintenance and lawn care?
Some landlords include the lawn mowing in their lease agreements and some don’t. We have many property managers and landlords that use our service to manage all of their portfolio of properties so it’s evident that many landlords do provide the lawn services as part of the rent. On the flipside, we have tons of folks that use our system that are just starting out renting their first home and don’t realize that they are supposed to mow the lawn. They let it grow to 2 feet tall and end up being cited by the city. My advice is to get that clear up front because it could be a few hundred dollars a month difference.
- Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal
Who is in charge of building maintenance?
In an apartment, sometimes things go wrong. Whether it’s an overflowing toilet, a clogged drain, a leaking pipe, or even a blown fuse. It would be good to ask who you can call in these situations, and how quickly you can expect to get in contact with someone and have someone in to look at the problem. Does the building or landlord provide a 24-hour customer service line? Is there an emergency contact? These factors can make a big difference if you have a continual water flow coming from a leaky pipe, or you can’t turn on your lights after blowing a fuse.
- Curtis Hutt, President, Faucet Fix
Seeking more tips on what you should be looking for in a prospective rental apartment? You’ll find more insights on our blog!