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Things to consider when renting an apartment

Finding the right apartment to rent should not be done in haste. Here are some factors you need to know before signing a lease.

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Asking questions is vital when touring apartments. Renters who rush to sign leases out of desperation regret it later. Begin by researching the website for apartment information related to amenities, apartment type, laundry service and price. Dig deeper for neighborhood history and crime.

When the right apartment catches your eye, visit the place in person. Accept apartment tours and scout the neighborhood after the tour. If this apartment feels right, wait. Investigate the lease thoroughly before signing. Here are some guidelines to go by.

First things first

The general requirements of a lease are the length of the lease, security deposit, pet deposit/pet rent, upfront rent costs, parking space arrangement, and move-in date. Get answers to all requirements, and then ask more questions. An example to ask may revolve around whether parking space is free rein or assigned to apartment units.

Utilities

There’s rent, and there are utilities like water, gas, electric, cable, phone, internet and HVAC. Whether utilities are separate from or bundled with rent depends on the apartment building. Separate rent and utility payments equal paying more per month. Utilities bundled with rent are a money saver long-term. Neither includes personal bills like cell phones, credit cards, insurance, and debt.

Penalty fees

After asking about payment options for rent, learn about possible penalties. Specifically, ask about a grace period and punishment for not paying on time. Ask about fees related to apartment damage done by you, a family member, a guest, or a pet. Each apartment contains a different policy.

When computing for expenses, take into account any penalties which may be incurred upon failure to pay on time. (Photo by DepositPhotos)

When computing for expenses, take into account any penalties which may be incurred upon failure to pay on time. (Photo by DepositPhotos)

Maintenance

Apartment maintenance hours are beneficial in case accidents or malfunctions occur. Renters need to know how to contact a repair person during and after business hours as well as weekends and emergency repairs. The repair person is responsible for the entire apartment building, so the answers provided will affect whether service is prompt.

Special rules

The special rules are where apartments differ from each other. The requirements vary due to previous experiences with renters and/or management changes.

The common rules revolve around painting and wall hanging. Ask whether it’s fine to paint the walls. For a wall hanging, determine how many holes a renter can put in the wall. In addition, ask about the type of nail acceptable in the wall (nails, thumbtacks, wall strips, etc.). Again, the answers vary by apartment facility.

Additional rules to ask (if it matters to you) include noise level, proprietor visits, subletting, renter’s insurance, and roommates.

Contract termination

Emergencies, relocation, roommate disputes and unsavory living conditions are some reasons to break a lease. However, learn the protocol for breaking a lease upfront as contracts vary. Some offer the option to find a replacement roommate to cover the lease until it expires. Others will charge a lease-breaking fee and remaining rent until a new renter arrives. Ask about security deposit and pet deposit refunds along with apartment cleanliness. Proprietors may offer a suitable housing arrangement if living conditions aren’t suitable. Alternatively, if a proprietor terminates the lease, learn the reason and the moving out procedure.

When it comes to searching for an apartment, it is wise to be thorough. No surprises should pop up unexpectedly after contract without advanced notice. This will be the home for the duration of the lease, so love the space you live.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

Tonya Jones Reynolds is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, marketing, and money articles for Born2Invest. Some past and present companies she writes for include Blogmutt, YouQueen, Blasting News, Reflect & Refresh, Inman News, Goals.com, and Textbroker. With 7+ years of experience as a freelance writer, she joined Born2Invest as a contributor to help readers make good decisions about their financial and professional lives.

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