Great! You've finally found a few available apartments and you've made an appointment to take a look. But what should you look for?
When you're looking for the perfect apartment for school, keep these questions in mind. They'll not only make the process more organized but also find a place that meets your academic, social, and personal needs.
- How much is monthly rent? How much is the security deposit? When will you get your deposit back?
- If you have roommates, do you each sign the lease? Are you each responsible for your own share of the rent, or will you be expected to cover costs if one of the roommates doesn't pay? Are there extra fees for additional roommates?
- What day is the first rent payment due? On what day is rent due after that?
- Is there a deposit for keys or pets?
- Which utilities are you responsible for?
- How much do utilities cost?
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Buildings and Grounds
- Are the hallways, entryways and grounds clean and well lit?
- Are the laundry facilities and parking lot in good condition?
- What kinds of trash removal facilities are provided for the building?
- Are snow removal and/or lawn care provided?
- How close are you to school and/or work?
- Is there a grocery store nearby?
- Are there public transportation stops or stations close by?
- Is the neighborhood safe?
- Does the landlord behave professionally? Are repairs made in a timely fashion?
- Do the doors have dead-bolt locks?
- Do the windows open, close and lock? Do they have air leaks? Are screens and/or storm windows provided?
- Is there enough heat and hot water? (Test by running the hot water and checking to see how quickly it heats up.)
- Does the apartment have individual meters for tenant-paid utilities?
- Are there any spots on the ceiling from leakage?
- Is there any evidence of roaches?
- Does the apartment have a smoke detector?
- Are there any repairs needed prior to moving in? If so, have them noted in your lease, along with a schedule for completion.
Furnishings and Appliances
- Which appliances and/or pieces of furniture are provided?
- Does the apartment need to be painted?
- Does the carpet need to be cleaned?
- Does any furniture need to be replaced?
When checking out an apartment, don't just talk to the landlord. Current tenants, the tenant union and your school's off-campus housing office can give you valuable information about the landlord's record and the condition of the apartment.