Questions to Ask When Renting

Use these questions to help in renting an apartment or house.

Note that some questions cannot be answered by simple observation and may require interviewing tenants of other apartments in the building or by checking the conditions of the apartment against the state sanitary code.

Rent and Fees
  • What is the rent per month?
  • Is a security deposit required? If so, how much is it and under what conditions is it held?
  • Does the landlord require payment of last month’s rent in advance?
  • Do you pay extra (and if so how much?) for utilities, storage space, air conditioning, parking space, late payment of rent, etc.?
  • Does the lease indicate that the rent can be increased if real-estate taxes, or sewer and water assessments are increased, or for any other reason?

Facilities and Services
  • Assess the maintenance services. Is there a resident superintendent? Are maintenance hours restricted? How is emergency service handled?
  • How is rubbish disposal handled? Are facilities accessible? Is recycling available?
  • Laundry facilities? How many are available? Security?
  • Building lobby: is it clean and well lighted? Security?
  • Entrance and exit: Elevator? Are stairs well lighted? Fire exits?
  • Hallways: Clean and well lighted?

Rental Unit Conditions
  • Are there signs of insects present?
  • Bathrooms: Clean? Plumbing in good working order? Tiles loose?
  • Kitchen: Is sink in good working order? Stove? Refrigerator?
  • Air conditioning: Good working order?
  • Wiring: Are there enough electrical outlets? Is the wiring up to code?
  • Does the heating system seem to be in good working order?
  • Is there a fireplace? Check to see that it is clean and operates properly.
  • Windows? Are any broken? Do they all open? Storm windows? Screens? Locks?
  • Floors: Are they clean?
  • Ceilings: Are they clean? Cracked? Water stained?
  • Walls: Are they clean? Is the plaster cracked? Paint peeling?
  • Telephone: Outlets present? Convenient?
  • Is ventilation adequate? Is there an exhaust fan in kitchen?
  • Lighting: Is it adequate? Are fixtures in good working order?
  • Security: Does the door have a dead bolt lock? A security chain?
  • Storage space: Is it adequate? Kitchen and bathroom cabinets?
  • What is the noise level in the area around the rental unit? Traffic? Neighbors?

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