Apartment Searching

18 questions you must ask when renting an apartment


Hunting for a new apartment may be laborious and time-consuming, but the search for a new home carries an undeniable thrill despite its inevitable hurdles. As you marvel at striking facades, spirited neighborhoods new and old, and gorgeous apartments that brag everything from Edwardian terraces to near-palatial closets, you might be tempted to make a hurried decision. 

However, settling too hastily on a rental may come to haunt you in the long term. (For every sun-dappled Edwardian terrace, there’s a boisterous crew of college students occupying the apartment upstairs.) 

To cut down on frustration and inconvenience that may arise in the months and years ahead, Common advocates that you ask the essential questions compiled below. 

Part 1: Questions to ask a property manager when renting an apartment

field employees safe

As you embark on your house-hunting process, it’s critical to unearth everything possible about your potential living situation. 

Keep the following questions front of mind – as they cover essential information regarding pricing and amenities, their answers will prove consequential to your decision, application, and long-term satisfaction. 

#1 How much is the rent?

You may have surmised that apartment prices frequently fluctuate. Therefore, it is fundamental to confirm the rent with the property manager to ascertain you will pay the amount that was advertised. 

In most cases, the posted rent will be accurate. However, if you chanced upon the advert a few months ago, it’s worth confirming. 

#2 What is included in my rent?

With a clear sense of what – if anything – is included in the rent, you can deem whether or not the apartment is sensibly priced. 

Unfortunately, some property managers swell rent figures with amenities that, while occasionally essential, can feel especially burdensome if you do not plan to use them. Some of these items include:

  • Utilities (electricity, water, internet, and garbage fees) 
  • Lawn care 
  • Snow removal 
  • Property maintenance 
  • Parking 
  • Access to amenities (gym and pool) 

#3 What is the security deposit?

Lodging an enquiry regarding the security deposit can help you budget accordingly before moving into the potential apartment. In most cases, the security deposit will be equivalent to the first and last month’s rent. However, some property managers add security deposits for utility bills such as water, electricity, and internet. 

#4 How do I pay rent and utility bills?

Will online payment suffice or should you replenish your cheque book? Different property managers accept different methods of monthly rent payments and utility bills. By confirming this information, you can make advance payments and keep the lights, internet, and heat running. 

You should also take care to confirm whether the previous occupant left behind any unpaid utility bills – especially for water or electricity. This can help you avoid any maddening service disruptions as you settle in.  

#5 What is the parking situation on your property?

If you own a car, it is worth querying as to the apartment’s parking situation and the costs involved in claiming a space. For security and simple ease, it’s wise to select an apartment with a well-organized, convenient parking situation. 

#6 What is your community guest policy?

While policies vary from apartment to apartment, some buildings present unique challenges by way of stringent community guest policies. It is worth confirming the apartment’s community guest policy before moving in, especially if you intend to invite guests to stay with you for extended durations. 

To confirm the apartment’s stance on visitors, inquire with the property manager or look to the month to month rental agreement. In most cases, community guest policies are outlined in the month-to-month rental agreements. Don’t hesitate to clarify the guidelines to avoid any future embarrassment. 

#7 What is your pet policy?

If you own an animal or dream of one day welcoming a four-legged companion, remember to inquire about the property’s pet policies to avoid frustration and wasted time. On occasion, rental agreements include cumbersome pet policies to discourage pets on their premises. For instance, some property owners restrict some animals or breeds in their properties while others levy substantial pet-related fees and deposits.   

#8 Do I need renters’ insurance?

Although not common, certain property owners and managers may demand that you provide proof of renter’s insurance with your application. The benefits of these protective policies are two-fold:

  1. Renter’s insurance covers your treasured belongings should they be lost or destroyed within your apartment.
  2. Renter’s insurance covers owners from liability in the rare case that a tragedy occurs within their property. 

#9 What are your sublet rules?

If you plan to spend springtime in your Paris pied-a-terre and winter in your Chamonix chalet – well, we’re buzzing for you. But do confirm with the property manager that you are allowed to sublet your apartment. In the scenario that subletting is admissible, be sure to enquire about the specific terms and conditions to avoid breaching your lease.  

#10 How often do you raise the rent?

If you intend to settle in the apartment in the long term, it is critical to query into rent increases. Considering the recurrent nature of rent expenses, steady price increases can dramatically impact your budget. 

A comprehensive understanding of how frequently rent will increase – and at what percentage – can empower you to set the proper groundwork based on your income. You would not wish to settle in an apartment that raises rent frequently if you are planning for a long-term stay. 

#11 What are your lease length options?

With myriad property managers throughout the UK, you can expect a smattering of different lease length options that range from short to long-term. 

Standard rental agreements tend to span 12 months, but many property owners and managers offer month-to-month or half-year leases which may suit renters apprehensive about settling down. The main disadvantage of short-term leases is their cost. They tend to carry a heftier price tag than their year-long counterparts. 

#12 How do you handle maintenance requests in your apartment?

Apprising yourself of how your property manager handles emergency maintenance requests can offer unparalleled insight into whether you should decide on an apartment or keep searching. Broken aircon, faulty internet, and leaky pipes can all wreak massive havoc – especially with lagging repair time. 

Confirm whether maintenance is available 24 hours and query into the typical turnaround time for repairs. 

#13 What is the neighborhood like?

If you are just venturing into the neighborhood, seek insights – especially about nearby services,  hotspots, and the overall vibe of the surrounding area. With a clear sense of the local culture and energy, you can make an informed decision to live in a neighborhood suitable for your lifestyle, whether it’s family-oriented or tailored to a young professional.  

#14 What is the noise situation in the apartment?

Living in a noisy environment is stressful, especially if you work from home or prefer a quiet environment. To avoid nettlesome neighbors and strained upstairs-downstairs dynamics, ask about the environment you might expect. Inquire as to the goings-on of the other occupants – will you be sharing walls with a crew of vociferous football fans or a pair of taciturn academics?  

#15 Is a cosigner necessary?

Most property owners strive to determine a prospective tenant’s history before accepting them on their rental complex or property. To limit liability, many owners demand that the prospective tenant have a cosigner while signing the lease agreement. Cosigners guarantee that you will adhere to all the provisions in the lease agreement. In addition, they are responsible for your rent arrears in case you fail to honor your rent payment. 

Part 2: Questions to ask if you intend to co-Live in an apartment 

If the rent of your desired apartment surpasses your maximum budget, you can opt to live with a roommate to lower your monthly costs. However, before you commit to living with someone, it is important to ascertain some valuable information. 

Some of the questions to ask your potential roommate and property manager to lay the foundation for a harmonious living situation include:

#16 How do we split rent and utility bills?

With a proper understanding of your financial responsibilities, you can forestall disputes and non-payments. Ensure you agree with your partner on how you will share rent and utilities to prevent eviction and service discontinuation due to unpaid bills. 

#17 What are your coliving policies?

Different property owners have different rules that roommates should uphold while living in their apartments. Knowing the rules before moving in helps you avoid lease agreement violations. Besides, some rules might not favor you based on your lifestyle.  

#18 How are you as a roommate?

Ask any potential roommate about their needs and expectations before you sign a rental agreement. Queries into their work, social life, and commitments will provide crucial insight into their personality, as well as how you might get along in a co-living situation. By seeking a like-minded roommate – especially one with whom you share interests and hobbies – you can set the stage for a successful move in.  

Secure an apartment with Common

apartment cleaning hacks

There are endless questions to ask when renting an apartment. At Common, we’re pleased to do it for you. As we strive to provide our partners with ideal living spaces at attainable rates, there’s no need to suffer through the tension – or tedium – that comes with querying a harried property manager or desperate roommate. 

Common can help you secure a space that suits your taste and preference, for one flat rate. In our coliving homes, we offer a private fully furnished bedroom, fully furnished shared suite, household essentials, in-suite laundry, Wi-Fi, utilities, central heat, air conditioning, and free cleaning for shared spaces. Because flexibility is key to any apartment search, we also offer micro-units and traditional apartments at attainable rates. 

Ready for some answers? Visit our website.

Related posts: