15 Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment

Man moving into new home

If you’ve been offered a new job or position that is a long way from home, relocating to an unknown area can be quite stressful. Here are some tips that can help.

When it comes to long distance moving, a lot of preparations have to be made. You need to do more than just settle your affairs at your old place and plan out your move; you also need to think about finding a new place to live in.

If you’re moving to San Francisco and you’ve found an apartment on a budget, there are things you need to settle first before you start looking around for a San Francisco apartment moving company. You need to sit down with your future landlord and get answers to these 15 questions, preferably at least two weeks before your big long distance move.

#1 – How much is the rent?

Let’s start with the easy ones. Asking about your rent is the first thing you need to do when looking for an apartment. Of course, the question is not as straightforward as you’d think. While there are a lot of cheap apartments in San Francisco, there’s always a catch.

#2 – Is there a security deposit and lock-in period?

This is usually the first catch, especially with cheaper apartments for rent in Austin. If the rent sounds too good to be true, ask about security deposits and lock-in periods. Usually, they will ask for around two months’ rent in advance or lock you in for at least a year, with you paying penalties if you leave too early.

#3 – What utilities do I need to pay for?

Some landlords include utilities as part of the overall monthly rent, so the rent sometimes looks excessive at first glance. If your rent is low, it’s probably because the landlord hasn’t included heating, electricity, and gas. Some landlords bill for the entire amount, while others leave it up to you to pay for your utilities.

#4 – Do you have policies against pets?

Unfortunately for pet lovers, a lot of apartments in San Francisco have strict pet policies. Some landlords will even prohibit them entirely. Others allow pets, but impose strict rules upon their tenants.

#5 – Do I get my own parking space?

Getting around San Francisco using only public transportation is pretty inconvenient, which is why you will need a car to make your life easier. Ask your landlord building owners about parking spaces. Some apartments have parking spaces, and tenants have to pay for their slots each month.

#6 – Does the building have a service elevator?

If you got yourself a lovely room on the 5th floor with a great view, keep in mind that once you move, you have to drag all your belongings to this beautiful 5th-floor room. An apartment with a service elevator is excellent because you and your moving crew can use that elevator to bring your belongings into your new apartment without being a nuisance to other tenants.

#7 – How do I make a repair or maintenance request?

For people who own their homes, it’s entirely up to them if they want to solve maintenance and repair problems on their own or if they want to hire a professional to do it for them. However, if you’re living in an apartment, you can’t just mess with the pipes and wiring on your own. Ask your landlord what your options are and what the proper procedure is for making a maintenance request.

#8 – Does the apartment come with any amenities?

Cheap apartments usually don’t come with anything else other than your unit plus parking space. However, if you’re lucky enough to find a building with amenities, it’s something you should look into. Remember that amenities like a pool or a gym cost extra money, so check if your budget can handle it before signing up for anything.

#9 – Do I need to have renter’s insurance?

Some landlords are strict when it comes to renter insurance. It’s a good idea to have one, even if your landlord doesn’t require it, especially if you don’t live in a safe neighborhood.

#10 – What’s the fine print on rent increases?

The rent sounds reasonable, and the landlord seems nice; however, you need to know their stance on rent increases. The law states that it’s illegal for a landlord to suddenly change a lease without notifying the tenant first, especially if the change is rent-related. However, it’s not unlawful to increase your rent, so ask your landlord what their policy is on rent increases.

#11 – How much autonomy do I have in furnishing my apartment?

You may want to add more deadbolts, CCTV cameras, and fire alarms to your apartment for your safety. However, would your landlord allow it? Keep in mind; the law states that tenants can put up security devices as long as it doesn’t damage the building itself. Of course, you should ask your landlord if they approve so you can also check if they’re aware of tenant rights.

#12 – What level of service can I expect?

Your new landlord should be responsive to you needs. It is important that they handle complaints and inquiries in a professional manner. A good landlord will make their tenants a priority and will do whatever it takes to make you feel appreciated and comfortable. They should try to go above and beyond to provide a positive experience for you and to make your life easier.

#13 – Is there a tenant’s application process?

Some landlords are very informal when it comes to interviewing tenants. Others are strict and require you to submit documents proving your income capacity, credit standing, and proof of renter insurance. Ask your landlord about their tenant application process so you can comply with all requirements before your long distance move date.

#14 – Am I allowed to have guests over?

Landlords are more or less okay when it comes to visitors as long as you don’t disrupt other tenants, although some may have a problem with you having a guest over all the time or for long periods of time.

#15 – Can we put all of this into writing?

All agreements must be put into writing, especially those that involve money. Verbal contracts are nice, but they don’t hold up in court if disputes come up later. Once you have agreed with all the terms, your landlord has put forward, request for it to be written down and signed.

Once you’ve ironed out all the details with your new landlord, you can now enjoy your peace of mind, knowing that your apartment move won’t have any delays or unexpected surprises once you and your belongings arrive at your new home.

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