19 Questions to Ask When Renting a Condo

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As with any new beginning, getting a new apartment can be exciting. However, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what you should be looking for in a property.

So, our condo specialists compiled a list of 19 questions to ask your potential landlord before renting an apartment.

Top 19 Questions to Ask When Renting a Condo

1) How Much Is the Monthly Rent?

This is the most basic question you should ask before renting an apartment.

Although you may already specify the rent in the apartment listing, you should still clarify it with the landlord. There might be an outdated listing, or the rent increased because of updated amenities.

You should also be aware of your landlord’s policy on late fees and rent increases upfront.

2) How Much Is the Security Deposit?

Security deposits are usually anywhere between one to three months’ rent. Most landlords typically ask for the first and last month’s rent.

counting money

Also, clarify if your security deposit is refundable or not. Non-refundable deposits are generally illegal, but it’s good to familiarize yourself with what state laws and local laws say about this.

3) What Utilities and Amenities Are Included?

Some apartment buildings include utility costs in the monthly rent, while others require renters to cover their utilities.

In some cases, the building pays for some utilities—usually water and garbage—and asks tenants to cover gas, electricity, and heating.

Make sure you clarify with your landlord or property manager who is responsible for which utilities. Also, check who pays for maintenance costs such as:

man with repair tools

A month’s rent may also include additional fees for access to certain amenities like parking, the pool, or the gym.

Clarify if any apply to your rent and which amenities you are entitled to as a result.

4) How Do I Pay for Utilities I Cover?

After determining which utilities you’re required to cover, the next step is figuring out how to do that. 

Find out which service providers supply the building and discuss payment methods with them directly. You can also ask for an estimate on your utility costs, so you know how much you’ll be paying on top of rent. 

5) How Are the Monthly Rent Payments Made?

Ask your landlord if they have a preferred method for you to pay rent. These methods usually are:

laptop and credit card

Our experts advise that you avoid landlords who only accept cash payments. For your security and peace of mind, you should always have proof of past and present payments.

6) How Do I Approach the Application Process and Screening Criteria?

Clarify all the required documents requirements during the landlord’s screening process. This may or may not include an application fee. 

Before presenting you with a rental agreement, your landlord will consider your monthly income and credit score.

two ladies talking

Many landlords require a tenant to earn three times the monthly rent. They may also ask you to submit a credit report or request one from the credit bureau themselves.

If you’re a first-time renter, you may be required to name a guarantor or co-signer. This person must agree to cover your rent if, for any reason, you are unable to.

Finally, though it isn’t common, some landlords may require renters’ insurance.   

7) What’s the Lease Term?

The standard for most lease terms is 12 months. However, some landlords may also offer short-term leases that last a few months, usually 6 or 9 months—or month-to-month leases.

signing papers

Decide which lease length is best for your needs, then discuss your options with your landlord.

8) What Happens if I Need or Want to Break the Lease?

For one reason or another, you may have to suddenly break your lease and move out. So before signing a lease agreement, ask if you can get out of it early, if necessary.

If a potential landlord says you can’t break the lease for any reason, you may need to reconsider renting from them. Also, expect them to be strict about other aspects of your tenancy.

two person talking

Next, look for the early termination clause in your lease agreement. 

Generally, you’ll have to pay a fee (usually two or three months’ rent) for early termination, as well as give notice before moving out (ask your landlord how much).

9) What’s the Policy on Subletting?

Subletting means renting out the room or apartment that you’re currently renting to another person. They’ll pay you for bills and utilities, and you’ll then forward this payment to your landlord. 

Subletting is a good, functional alternative to suddenly breaking your lease, so check if your landlord or property management company allows it.

10) Is There an Option for Lease Renewal?

If you end up immediately liking your new apartment, you may find yourself wanting to stay there long-term.

two people sitting on the couch while talking

Ask if you can continue renting even after your initial one-year lease expires. If your landlord agrees, ask if your renewed lease will continue to be a yearly one or a month-to-month one.

11) What’s the Move-in Date?

You should choose an apartment that is available when you want to move in.

For example, if you need to move into a new apartment by mid-September, don’t pick an unavailable one until the end of October. Check if you and your landlord’s timetables are in sync.

12) What Furnishings and Appliances Are Required?

If an apartment is already furnished, make sure you know which furnishings and appliances belong to the current tenant and landlord.

cozy living room setup

Ask for an inventory or make one yourself before moving in. That way, you’ll know what you need to bring or replace (Note: This applies if you have fixtures like water heaters and bidets).

13) How Do I Request Maintenance and Who Does the Repairs?

Even before moving in, you should find out the following questions:

If a potential landlord can’t give definite answers, they probably don’t care too much about maintaining their rental property.

repairman

You might want to reconsider renting from them.

14) What Can I Change in My Apartment?

Another crucial question to ask when renting a condo is the refurbishments you can make in your apartment.

Hanging up your favorite pictures or wall art or repainting the walls in your favorite color will go a long way towards making your new living space feel like home [1].

You should ask your landlord what changes you can make to the apartment. Some landlords may not allow you to make permanent changes to a rental unit.

15) What’s the Pet Policy?

Ask if the building is pet-friendly and what pets are allowed. For example, most apartments have breed restrictions or weight limits for dogs.

lady playing with her dog

Next, inquire about pet fees. Depending on the building’s policy, you’ll most likely have to pay a pet deposit, a non-refundable pet fee, or monthly pet rent.

16) What’s the Parking Situation?

Find out if your new apartment comes with parking, what kind it is, and how much it costs. Access to a parking spot generally comes at an additional cost.

If the rental doesn’t include parking, check out the street parking, or look for a nearby parking garage you can use. 

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17) What’s the Laundry Situation?

Find out if your unit has in-suite laundry or if there’s a communal laundry room for the floor or building.

laundry machines

If it’s the latter, ask about laundry hours and extra costs (if any) for doing laundry.

18) What’s the Guest Policy?

Some apartment complexes limit the number of visitors a tenant can have over.

Your building may have “quiet hours,” or your landlord may require visitors to sign in and out. So before you throw a housewarming party, you should clarify your building’s policy on guests.

19) What’s the Neighborhood Like?

All of these are questions you can ask your landlord before moving in:

people talking outside

However, do some research of your own before asking your landlord. Look your prospective neighborhood up on the internet, or walk around if you can.

You can even ask previous tenants about their experiences.

Conclusion

Our real estate specialists covered the top 19 questions to ask when renting a condo which are the complete criteria most renters should know about a potential new home.

If you ask a potential landlord these questions before signing a rental agreement, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision.

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Tal Shelef
Tal Shelef is a know it all when it comes to pre-construction developments Canada Wide. His years of daily research and growing up on construction sites / seeing development sites grow from the ground up at an early age gave him a passion like no other. He uses his knowledge to educate Condowizard’s clients. Have a conversation with Tal and see how much value one phone call may provide you.

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Material on this page is not intended to conflict with buyers/sellers under contract with any brokerage. All information on this site is obtained through online sources and may not be reliable. If there are any changes you’d like us to make on any pages or if you are the owner of a development and would like us to remove your listing, Condowizard & Its owners will comply right away.

We represent you, the purchaser – not the builder. Tal Shelef – Sales Representatives @ iPro Realty.

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