Before Signing Your Apartment Lease

Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Signing Your Apartment Lease

Hunting for an apartment can be exciting if you’re ready to find a bigger place, or stressful if you’re in a rush. You have a lot to consider before saying you can land your home for the next 12 months, or longer. Think about the aesthetics, location, and of course, price. There are also plenty of other factors that can greatly influence your living experience.

While you can always print out a free rental application, you should ask the right questions before you submit it. That way you’ll know the apartment is the perfect fit for you and anyone you may live with including a partner or even a furry friend.

Is the Apartment Suitable for a Home Office?

With the global workforce increasingly leaning towards remote work, your apartment must serve as a comfortable workspace too. Ask your landlord or property manager if there are any restrictions on working from home. Some buildings, particularly older ones, may not have the necessary electrical infrastructure to support heavy tech use.

You should also ask if you can personalize your workspace. After all, you’ll be spending 8 hours a day, you may as well see if you can hang some things up on the wall.

Additionally, check if the apartment receives ample natural light as it can significantly impact your productivity. Noise levels can also be a concern, especially if you’re required to attend virtual meetings. Make sure to clarify all these aspects before committing.

Has the Apartment and Building Been Properly Inspected?

Safety should always be a top priority. Check the apartment for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Ask about the building’s evacuation plan in case of an emergency and confirm that all exits are easily accessible.

Look into the building’s security measures. Is there a security guard on duty or a 24/7 surveillance system in place? What kind of locks are installed on the apartment doors and windows? If the apartment comes with a parking space, ask about lighting in the area and security measures to protect your vehicle. There should also have been a safety inspection done recently enough.

By paying close attention to the apartment and building safety, you’re not only ensuring your peace of mind but also potentially saving yourself from future inconvenience or harm. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Are Pets Allowed in the Apartment?

If you have a pet or plan to get one, this is an essential question to ask. Around 66% of U.S. households have pets, but some buildings have a strict no-pet policy. Even if pets are allowed, there could be additional fees involved, such as a pet deposit or monthly pet rent.

Get clear information about these potential costs upfront to avoid surprises down the line. Also, consider the apartment’s suitability for a pet. Is there enough space for them to move around? Are there outdoor spaces where you can take your pet for walks?

Some landlords also may allow certain pets but not others. If you have a cat or small dog it may be seen as more acceptable to have in a home than larger breeds.

What’s the Policy on Noise Level?

Noise can significantly impact your quality of life, so it’s crucial to understand the noise policy before moving in. Ask about the building’s quiet hours and what the procedure is for addressing noise complaints. If you enjoy hosting game night or playing a musical instrument, check whether such activities are permitted and during what hours.

Keep in mind, some buildings have strict rules about noise levels and may even penalize tenants who violate them. So, if you’re a night owl or a music enthusiast, you might want to look for an apartment with more lenient noise regulations.

What Added Fees Should I Expect?

Rent is just one part of an apartment’s overall cost of living. Ask about additional costs that might not be included in the advertised price. Utilities such as gas, electricity, water, garbage, internet, and TV may or may not be included in your rent. Make sure to ask which ones you’ll be responsible for. If you own a car, you’ll need to check if a parking space is included with the rent or if there’s an extra fee.

Some buildings charge amenity fees for the upkeep and use of facilities like gyms and pools. Be sure to inquire about these. Maintenance costs are another point of consideration. Are routine services covered, or will you need to pay extra? Finally, understand the terms around the security deposit: how much it is, when it can be withheld, and if it accrues interest.

Remember, signing a lease is a big commitment. That’s why it’s incredibly important to make sure to ask the right questions to understand what you’re getting into. These considerations can help you avoid future problems and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay in your new home.