You probably wouldn’t sign a car lease without doing a little research. After all, asking a few questions could uncover hidden fees or rigid policies that might make you reconsider your decision. It’s equally important to ask similar questions when you visit a rental community. Take a look at nine important questions every renter should ask to avoid buyer’s remorse.
What’s Included in the Rent?
The services and features included in the rent can vary significantly from one apartment community to another. Before you put your signature on a lease, ask these questions:
- Does the rent include utilities? If so, does it include electricity, heat, water, cable and Internet service or just some of these utilities?
- Is free parking provided for me and my guests? Are garages available?
- Do you require first and last month’s rent?
- How much is the deposit?
- Will the rent increase when I sign a new lease? By how much?
- Is there a deposit for pets? Will it be refunded? Is there an additional monthly fee if I have pets?
- Do you offer additional storage? Is there a charge for it?
- Is use of a pool or fitness center included in my rent or must I pay extra to use these facilities?
- How much is the late fee? Is there a grace period?
The answers to these questions will help you prepare an accurate comparison of the communities you’re considering. When you add up the numbers, you just might discover that you’ll actually pay less for an apartment that doesn’t include utilities or other extras than one that does.
How Can I Pay My Rent?
Although most communities still accept checks, many also offer online options for your convenience. Find out if the community charges any fees to use their online payment system. If the fee is nominal, it may make sense to pay it rather than try to remember to mail a check every month.
What Period of Time Does the Lease Cover?
Most leases cover a one-year period, but occasionally you’ll find communities that provide 18-month or two-year leases. Longer leases sometimes come with slight reductions in rent. If you don’t think you’ll want to move after a year, a longer lease can save you a little money.
It’s also important to find out how much notice you’ll need to give if you plan to move at the end of the lease period. If you don’t provide the required notice, your existing lease may automatically be renewed.
What Type of Pets Do You Allow?
Pets may be welcome, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t restrictions. The rental community may limit the number, breed or size of pets they accept. When you inquire about the community’s pet policy, don’t forget to ask if there is a specific area dedicated to dog walking.
How Quickly Does Maintenance Respond to Calls?
Ask about the response time for both major and minor maintenance issues. If the rental community doesn’t offer 24-hour emergency service, will they reimburse you if you call a plumber to fix a leak in the middle of the night?
What’s the Guest Policy?
Is your nephew planning on spending the summer with you? Some communities restrict guests to stays no longer than two to four weeks. If you frequently have overnight guests, it’s a good idea to find out the policy before you move in.
Can You Paint the Apartment?
If you can’t stand white walls, you won’t want to move into an apartment that doesn’t allow you to make some changes. In most cases, if painting is allowed, you’ll need to either paint the walls white before you leave or pay a fee to the rental community for repainting.
Under What Circumstances Can Rental Community Employees Enter My Apartment?
Some states allow landlords to enter rental units anytime they want. Fortunately, the state of New Jersey prohibits landlords or their employees from entering apartments or rental homes without the permission of the tenant, except in the case of an emergency. Find out how much notice the community will provide if they need to access your apartment and what circumstances they consider emergencies.
What If I Need to Move Before the End of My Lease?
Your circumstances can change quickly. A job transfer or a new addition to your family may make it necessary to leave your apartment before the end of the lease. Most rental communities charge fees to break your lease if you decide to move early. Find out the amount of the fee, and ask if it varies depending on how much time is left on the lease.
Some communities allow residents to sublet their apartments. If subletting is permitted, find out if there are specific policies or extra fees associated with a sublease.
Asking a few questions during your visits to rental communities can help you avoid headaches later. If you’re ready to make a move to the Bridgewater, New Jersey, why not take a look at the Fairway 28 rental community? The brand new one- and two-bedroom apartments offer stainless steel appliances, solid surface countertops and tile bathrooms. Contact us to learn more about these conveniently located luxury apartments.
Apartment Guide: 10 Questions to Ask When Apartment Hunting
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs: Right of Entry
Apartments.com: 12 Questions to Ask Before Renting an Apartment