Whether it’s your first, second or third apartment, knowing what questions to ask before you sign the lease can be tricky. After all, what seems obvious to you might not be obvious to your landlord and vice versa. Other times, you might not think of something until it is too late.
Here are twelve questions to ask when leasing student housing:
- What is included in the rent? Make sure you understand what exactly is included in your monthly rent. For example, ask if utilities, cable and/or internet are part of it or if these are separate expenses.
- What are the leasing fees? Most, if not all, apartments and houses will ask you to put down a security deposit as well as the first and last month’s rent when you sign the lease. If you have a pet, a pet deposit will most likely be required as well. Make sure you understand what you will owe beforehand.
- Are pets allowed? Not all student housing is pet friendly. If you plan on taking your dog or cat with you, make sure you check with your landlord first.
- How many units are in the building/complex? It might be helpful to know just how many units are in the building so you can be aware of how many neighbors you will be dealing with on a regular basis.
- How many parking spots are available? Parking is often a struggle in student housing. Make sure to ask your landlord how many parking spots are available in relation to the number of units and/or beds. Or, check to see if reserved parking is available.
- Is guest parking available? Not all apartments provide guest parking - those that do tend to not provide enough - so be sure to ask about this as well if you plan on having friends or family over.
- Does the building have central A/C? Older buildings are usually not equipped with central A/C and will have window units instead. You might want to ask about this ahead of time if you have a preference one way or the other.
- What kind of amenities are available? Be sure to ask about amenities. Is there a pool, a dining hall, a fitness center or any other attractive amenities you might want to know about?
- What is the laundry situation? Does your apartment have laundry machines in-unit? Are they shared with other residents? Do you have to go to a laundromat? This is something you might want to find out beforehand.
- Am I allowed to sublease? If you don’t plan on staying for the entirety of the lease - for example, if you know you won’t be in town for the summer - ask if you are allowed to sublease your room.
- Are alterations allowed? For example, are you allowed to paint the walls or install new lighting fixtures? Make sure to check with your landlord first.
- Are there noise restrictions? Some housing complexes have noise restrictions so if you plan on having parties or practicing your guitar, make sure it is not against the rules.
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive. You might have your own questions in mind. It is always a good idea to have a list prepared before you sign any student housing lease, though, as we all tend to forget things in the moment.