Not all rental units are managed the same. When looking at an apartment, we recommend you have a list of questions to ask the landlord, test all the appliances which are included in the unit (to ensure they’re in working order) and, if possible, talk to the tenants which live in the building.

Aside from the obvious – i.e. when is the rent due, what is the security deposit and are pets allowed? – some key questions to ask are:

  •  How do visitors obtain entry?
  •  Can you control the heat yourself?
  •  What type of security features and fire protection are in place?
  •  What is the approximate cost for utilities that are not included in the rent?
  •  If there isn’t an in-unit washer and dryer, Where is the laundry and what is the cost?
  •  Does the landlord live on site?

Property Management & Maintenance

If the landlord or building manager doesn’t live in your building, does he live nearby or at least in the same city or county? Consider how hard or easy it will be to contact the landlord if you have a problem that needs attention. Will you have an emergency number you can call on the weekends or in the evenings?

When something in the building doesn’t work or there is a problem, you need to know who to contact. To learn more about the landlord and maintenance of the building, also ask:

  • How long has the building been under the same ownership?
  • How long has the builging been under the same management?
  • How long is the average residency here?

Other questions to ask before signing a lease:

  • Where is the nearest public transit stop or station?
  • If you have a car, Is parking included in the rent?
  • Where is the parking located? One or two spaces? Is there off-street parking?
  • How big is the hot water heater and is the hot water heater shared with any other apartments?

Talk To Other Tenants, Neighbours & The Police

If you can speak to other tenants in the building, ask them:

  • How long they’ve lived here?
  • What is the best thing about living here?
  • Are there some things I need to know?

Walk around the neighbourhood and talk to local merchants and neighbors. Ask them if they can tell you anything about that complex?

If the building doesn’t have a crime-prevention program in place, call the local police station and ask, How many calls for service do they get per month from that complex?

These are just some questions to ask when looking for an apartment. Get the facts before signing the lease to ensure you find a home which meets your expectations.

Good luck.

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