Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Lease

When you're visiting new apartments, it's important to be thorough and ask lots of questions to make sure you are getting exactly what you expect out of a new place. Your potential new landlord should be helpful and should not hesitate to answer these questions before you sign a lease or to put the answers in writing.

Moving Checklist


  • When is rent due?

  • Are there penalties for late payments? What are they?

  • How long is the lease?

  • After the initial term of the lease, will I need to renew for a year or will I be able to lease month to month?

  • What are the lease breaking fees?

  • Are there any application fees?

  • 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 parking included in the rent or are there any additional parking fees?

  • Where is the parking area?

  • Is there a pool? Can it be used by anyone? Are there any additional fees for using the pool or gym area?

  • How big is the hot water heater and is the hot water heater shared with any other apartments?

  • How much is the security deposit?

  • How long is the lease?

  • Is subletting 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, who should you call if there is an emergency?

  • Am I allowed to paint the walls?

  • Am I allowed to hang pictures with nails?

  • What are the procedures if I decide to have a roommate at a later time?

  • Do you require renters insurance?

  • Are there any noise level restrictions?

  • Where are the smoke detectors?

  • If there isn't an in-unit washer and dryer, where is the laundry and what is the cost?

  • 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?


This post was updated April 2, 2013.