Articles

10 Questions Your Family Should Ask Before Signing a Lease

by Rayanne M. Writer

Moving into a new apartment can be challenging. If you’re ready to sign a lease for a new property, it’s always important to ask the right questions. In addition to asking about the cost of rent, you’ll want to learn more about your responsibilities as a renter and any potential penalties you may face. The following are 10 questions to ask a landlord before signing a lease:

1. Do I get the security deposit back?

When moving into a new apartment, most landlords charge their tenants a security deposit. If this is the case with an apartment you’re considering, be sure to ask whether or not the deposit is refundable. In most cases, security deposits are refundable and given to the tenant when they move out. However, if any damage is left behind, you may not get your security deposit.

2. How are maintenance issues taken care of?

When renting an apartment, maintenance requests are traditionally filled by the landlord. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how maintenance requests are placed and filled. Determine how to go about alerting your landlord to maintenance issues and a time frame for these repairs.

3. Is there any damage to the apartment?

While you may expect that your new apartment will be free of damage, it’s important to confirm this before moving in. Ask your landlord ahead of time about any existing damage to make sure that you’re not punished for anything that needs to be repaired. Moreover, be sure to examine the room yourself and take pictures before signing the lease.

4. What is your pet policy?

If you're a pet owner or plan to become one soon, make sure to learn about the apartment’s pet policy. While some landlords don’t have a policy in place, others have very strict rules on whether or not their tenants can have pets. Be sure to ask your landlord about their pet policy before making a final decision.

5. Can I decorate the apartment?

After moving in, it’s natural to want to make yourself feel at home. Check with your landlord to see if your decoration plans are permitted. For example, while some landlords allow their tenants to paint the walls, this isn’t always the case.

6. Are there additional move-in fees?

In addition to the security deposit and the first month’s rent, your landlord may charge additional fees like the last month’s rent. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for landlords to require that tenants invest in renters insurance as well. For example, a California renters insurance company recommends insurance that “covers your items from perils in your apartment and also provides liability coverage in case an accident occurs in your apartment.” Though you’ll be taking on an additional expense, making sure your belongings are protected by insurance is worth it.

7. When is the rent due?

Knowing when the rent is due may seem obvious, but some landlords don’t always collect rent on the first of the month. Every place is different so it is important to be on the same page as your potential landlord. Make sure you are in clear communication about the due date for the rent to avoid any late fees or other penalties.

8. How do I pay the rent?

Each landlord has their own preferred method of accepting payments. While some want their tenants to pay through an online portal, others are fine with receiving the money through an app. Make sure this payment method is convenient for you before deciding that you want to move in.

9. Do you have rules about guests?

As a renter, you may assume that you’re allowed to have guests at will, but it's best to double-check. Have a clear idea of the guest policy before signing your lease to make sure you don’t inadvertently break it. If you have a community clubhouse, be sure to ask if there is a limit on visitors you may bring in as well.

10. Are there any policies around ending the lease early?

While hunting for your rental apartment, it may seem odd to consider ending the lease. However, life rarely goes according to plan and the reality is that you may eventually have to move out prior to the official end of your lease. For this reason, it’s best to ask your landlord what will happen in this situation. Keep in mind that most landlords charge a fee if the lease is broken.


Apartment leases are often more complex than they appear. If you’re planning to rent a new apartment for your family, make sure all the important details are ironed out before committing to your new home. Asking the right questions in order to determine if your family will be a good fit for the unit and area will be beneficial and ensure that you love living there.


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About Rayanne M. Advanced   Writer

4 connections, 4 recommendations, 118 honor points.
Joined APSense since, June 15th, 2020, From Corvallis, United States.

Created on Jun 25th 2020 11:37. Viewed 347 times.

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