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November 6, 2023

15 Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment

15 Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment

When it comes to finding the perfect apartment, asking the right questions is an important step to ensuring your apartment hunting or rental deal goes smoothly. Regardless of what drives your rental decision, it’s important to bridge the gap between your needs and what you can provide for your future apartment. That’s where these 15 questions to ask when renting an apartment come into play.

We’ve carefully curated this list to help you navigate your apartment or condo rental search effectively. By posing these questions while you are on the hunt, you can steer clear of financial pitfalls and prevent the frustration of being stuck in a lease that doesn’t align with your needs or preferences. So, whether you’re a first-time renter or a seasoned pro, arming yourself with these questions is your ticket to a successful and satisfying apartment rental experience.

1. How much is the rent?

When considering renting an apartment, understanding the exact monthly rent is fundamental. Especially in Houston, where rents are still increasing steadily from %1,900 to $1.950 in the first quarter according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reference source: Texas Housing Market Predictions for 2023 & 2024

Therefore, it’s important to ask about any potential incentives, such as free months of rent, as they can significantly impact your overall costs. Advertised prices may not always include these discounts, so make sure you or your real estate agent are aware of your “actual rent”.

2. How much is the deposit? What are the move-in costs?

Before you make the move, determine your upfront costs. Rental properties typically entail an application fee and a deposit, which can vary from one to two months’ rent. In Houston, it’s common to deposit double the monthly rent, meaning a $1,000 monthly rent might require a $2,000 deposit.

Additionally, inquire about any elevator deposits, move-in fees, or other related moving expenses. While many move-in deposits are refundable, the terms may vary, so be sure to clarify these details.

If you are looking for apartments to rent in Texas, you can rest assured that our rental apartments come with a free first month’s deposit.

How much is the deposit? What are the move-in costs?

3, How Do I Pay Rent?

An essential query for landlords is how rent payments are accepted. Traditionally, checks or money orders were the norm, particularly in for-rent-by-owner situations. However, many apartment complexes now facilitate payment through credit cards or ACH transfers via online portals, offering more convenient options.

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4, What amenities are included in the rent?

Include amenities in your apartment hunting checklist to better understand your costs. While some rentals include all utilities in the rent, you may have to pay for electricity, cooking gas and additional amenities like Wi-Fi and cable. Landlords often handle water, waste and garbage costs in full or by including them in your monthly rent statement. Clarifying these details is critical to effective budgeting.

5. Late fee policy: What is the emergency response?

While touring potential apartments, ask about late fee policies. We encourage you to pay your rent on time, ideally to maintain a good tenancy record, but there are unexpected emergencies that may arise, such as having to go away or get sick. If you can afford it, understanding how late fees will be collected in advance will ensure you are prepared for any unforeseen situations and can handle them with confidence.

6. Can I Terminate My Lease Early? How?

Ask about early lease termination and be prepared for unexpected changes. There’s usually a penalty, but knowing the terms and exceptions is vital.

Can I Terminate My Lease Early? How?

7. What’s Your Subletting Policy?

Inquire about subletting when considering a rental. Subletting offers an option to move out without incurring termination penalties, making it convenient for both you and your roommates. It can also be a helpful way to cover rent when traveling. However, it hinges on factors like the sublet duration and any required deposits. Ensure you discuss this option in advance to stay informed and prepared.

8. Is There Parking Available?

This is one of the questions to ask before renting an apartment. This will help you know the cost of parking and whether it is considered safe or not?

9. Do You Have a Pet Policy?

If you’re a pet owner, inquire about the apartment’s pet policies right away. Check if the building is pet-friendly and what pet types are permitted. Note that some landlords impose breed restrictions and weight limits for dogs, so confirm that your pet is welcome. When using Apartment Listings, choose “Dogs” and/or “Cats” to find pet-friendly places, and further explore details, visit the property’s website, or use our messaging system to get specifics on any restrictions.

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Do You Have a Pet Policy?

10. What’s the Pet Deposit/Pet Fee?

If your pet is allowed, ask about any required pet fees, such as monthly pet rental or pet deposit. Normally, in Houston, the deposit to raise a pet is about $250 and each month you will have to pay about $35 for dogs and $25 for cats (under 15 lbs).

11. What’s the Application Process?

Apartment complexes may vary in their application procedures. Inquire about the typical approval timeline, associated fees, and the subsequent steps. For a comprehensive overview of the process, consult our rental application guide.

12. Is There an Application Fee?

The average application fee in Texas for an apartment is about $50/person (conditions over 18 years old). If you need to move quickly, ask how long it typically takes for the application to be approved.

13. How Do I File Maintenance Requests? And how long does it take for maintenance?

Effective handling of maintenance requests is essential for a hassle-free living experience. Inquire about the process and expected response times. Smaller units or private condos might have longer repair turnaround times, while larger apartment complexes often provide 24/7 maintenance teams for prompt assistance.

14. Is There Apartment Security?

Safety is paramount, so it’s vital to inquire about security measures. Ask about in-unit alarm systems, deadbolts, and lobby monitoring. Inquire about the resolution process for safety concerns, like broken locks or insufficient lighting in common areas.

Is There Apartment Security?

15. What Changes Can I Make to My Apartment?

Turning a rental apartment into a space of your own style is what many renters desire. However, for this change you need to ask the tenant if you can make any changes, from painting colors to wallpapering to dividing an oversized room. Homeowners often have a list of approved paint colors or changes you are allowed mentioned in the contract. If you make arbitrary repairs without the landlord’s permission, you will likely have to pay a compensation fee.

We hope that you can prepare and bring these questions with you to search for rental apartments that are right for you.

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Tom Tran

Tom Tran

Tom Tran is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in real estate property management with a diverse background in business ventures. He is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Hexa Property Management, LLC, based in Houston, Texas.

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