Moving to a new apartment is not something you have the time or money to do every month of the year. Ergo, when you are looking for an apartment, it should be a place you’d be happy to call home for a couple of years. The following questions can go a long way in making sure that when your choice of an apartment to rent is one you’re less likely to regret.
1. Are there penalties for breaking the lease?
Despite our most elaborate plans, something unexpected may arise that requires you to move house again much sooner than you thought. Perhaps your employer has transferred you to a different state or city. Maybe you’ve lost your job and need to relocate to somewhere cheaper. If you are, for example, just four months in on a year-long lease, this may present a problem.
Breaking a lease can have an adverse impact on you. You may be forced to forfeit the security deposit. It could also see you burn bridges with a potential reference for your future rental needs. Find out if there are penalties if you break the lease under reasonable circumstances. Make sure that any commitment to waive penalties is in writing and not just verbal.
2. What’s the security situation?
No place is immune from burglary and crime. That said, some locations have it far worse than others. Your home is a refuge from the so serenity and your peace of mind must be high up on your list of priorities. If you have kids, you must be certain that your children will live in a safe and secure environment.
Watch out for apartment complexes that seem to have unusually low rents. It’s possible that the area has more crime than the rest of the city. Remember, do not take the landlord’s word for it. Look at official records of crime statistics and talk to current residents.
3. What utilities are covered by the rent?
Is electricity, gas, trash removal and cable covered by the rent? If there’s Wi-Fi, is it included in the rent or do you have to pay for it separately? Usually, most utility payments won’t be part of the rent.
Find out from the landlord but just to be sure, check with the utility provider as well. You wouldn’t want your electricity turned off when you most need it yet you thought you had already paid for it.
4. How much can you decorate the apartment?
When you settle on a particular apartment, you probably envisaged how great it would look after you make a few changes to the existing interior design. Before you do that though, read through the terms and conditions just so you are clear on what is permitted. As a tenant, there are likely to be restrictions on what changes you can make to the apartment.
These restrictions will vary from landlord to landlord so clear the air from the start. If the landlord expects the apartment to be in the same state as it was when you moved in, then you probably want to consider whether you are ready to bear the cost of reversing any changes you make. If you are making changes to facilitate short term rentals, an application like Rentbelly can get the landlord on your side by making it easier to share the proceeds with them.
5. What are the terms for parking slot allocation?
Unlike a single unit property where it’s fairly clear from the get go how much parking space you do have, the situation is a little blurrier in an apartment complex. Confirm how many parking spots are assigned to your unit. Remember that parking spots aren’t always free. A monthly fee maybe be levied.
One or two spots should suffice for most apartment residents but you’ll also need to enquire about what would happen if your friends and family were to come over. Is there space for them or can you pay for additional slots as and when you need them? Your visitors could park on the streets but that is risky and their cars may be towed.
Before you sign the dotted line on the lease agreement, make sure you have clear and satisfactory answers to these 5 questions.