Moving Questions

Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease

  • Are there any application fees?
  • How long is the lease?
  • What are the costs for breaking the lease?
  • After the initial term of the lease, do I have to renew it or will I be able to lease month to month?
  • When is rent due and is there a grace period?
  • What is the penalty for late payments?
  • What utilities are included in the rent?
  • What is the approximate cost for utilities that are not included in the rent?
  • Are there any costs for setting up the utilities that are not covered in the rent?
  • Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished?
  • Is parking included in the rent or are there any additional parking fees?
  • Where is the parking area?
  • Are there any recreational facilities and are there any costs associated with using them?
  • How big is the hot water heater and is the hot water heater shared with any other apartments? (This is a relatively important question if there is a small heater, or if there is one shared with your neighbor who likes to take hour-long showers right before you have to get up, you may end up taking cold showers more often than you would like.)
  • How much is the security deposit? How much of the deposit is returned at the end of the lease? What will prevent me from getting my security deposit back?
  • Is sub-leasing allowed?
  • What happens if I accidentally break an appliance? How is routine maintenance completed for the unit? Are maintenance people on call 24 hours a day? If not, whom should you call if there is an emergency?
  • Am I allowed to paint the walls or hang pictures?
  • Am I allowed to have overnight guests?
  • What are the procedures if I decide to have a roommate later?
  • Is renters insurance required? Are there any noise level restrictions?
  • Where are the smoke detectors and do they work?
  • If there is no washer or dryer in the unit, where is the laundry room located and what is the cost?
  • Can you get cell phone reception inside the apartment?
  • Am I allowed to have pets? If I don't have one now and I get one at a later date, will my lease change?