Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Lease

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.

  • 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?

Read more tips and advice about things to ask before you sign a new apartment lease: