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Ask Allied: What should I ask before moving into a new apartment?

by Jackie Heath on Jun 23, 2020
If you are planning to move into a apartment we have some tips as to what questions to ask the landlord or management company before you sign the lease.
A room in an apartment

You've decided to move out of your current place into a new apartment. During the past weeks and days, you researched what areas you want to live. The only thing left to do is look at the apartments and meet the landlord before signing the rental agreement. You also realized that you are not sure what questions to ask during the process.

What circumstances will allow you or a handyman to enter the apartment?

This question should be top of mind since you don't want to have any unexpected guests. Even though you don't own the apartment, it doesn't mean the landlord or handyman should come in unannounced. Most landlords or management groups will notify you that they will need access to the apartment for any repairs or maintenance work. When they do give you notice, ask what day and time of day when they will need to come into the apartment.

How do I pay the rent, and what are the late fees?

You'll want to know how to pay the rent, each landlord and management company accept different forms of payments. Many management companies have started to use online payment portals to receive payments. If your landlord wants that classic paper check, they may be willing to come and pick up or have you mail it in by the due date. When you mail your payment, give it enough time to reach the destination so that the check arrives on or before the due date.

Ask how much late fees are and how the owner or management company assess the fees. You'll have a better understanding when the landlord imposes the fees and if there is a grace period. Grace periods come in effect because the due date falls on a weekend or holiday.

Are utilities included in the rent?

Asking this question is good because having to pay for utilities can impact your decision to rent an apartment. Some rental agreements will include a fixed amount for one or all the utility services as part of your rent. On the other hand, you may have to pay out of pocket for utilities and will need to contact the utility company to activate the service. Ask the landlord or management company for the names and numbers of the service providers that are permitted.

Where can I park my vehicle?

If you own a car, truck, van, or SUV you will want to ask where you can park. Large apartment complexes most likely have parking lots to park your vehicle. In some cases, you will be assigned a designated spot or spots and may have to pay a fee in addition to your rent. If your apartment in a city or downtown area, the apartment building may have a small back lot or no lot at all. Which means you'll probably have to park on the street. Check with the local municipality about any vehicle stickers or permits you'll need to park on the street.

Can I make changes to the apartment?

Everybody wants to add their personal touch to the place they call home. Renters are usually allowed to hang frames and other ornate decorations on the wall. Landlords may let you to paint the walls in the apartment, too. Check with them that when the lease is up, will you have to patch and repaint to get your security deposit back. Appliances are another aspect of the apartment; they may let you switch out. Make sure it is in your contract that you own the appliances and will be taking them when you leave.

Will you make future updates to the apartment?

It's good to know if there are plans to update the apartment. Changes to the apartment can occur after you move in due to changes in building code, or the owner is looking to update the look. Most of the time, updates are made before you move in, but sometimes schedules don't go as plan. You may have to deal with construction, but the plus side could be the updates may add some the amenities your looking for.

When do I have to give notice before moving out?

It's a good idea to get clarity on this subject, on average you will need notice between 30-60 days. Your lease can be automatically renewed by not disclosing that you are leaving within the allowed time. The security deposit that you put down when you started renting will not be return by the owner. They will keep it for any financial losses they incur.

When you’re ready to move into your new apartment, Allied can help you with all your needs. Start here to begin the process of seeing how far we'll go to make sure your move is as stress-free as possible.

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