Five Questions You Have to Ask When Renting an Apartment

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on April 4th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

Your next home could be your home for a long time and having worked as a leasing agent for five plus years it amazed me how little thought and consideration some people would put into making a decision about where the majority of their life was going to be spent. So, what should you ask before you sign that lease?

Question one: Is this property under rent control? Remember the TV show Friends and that huge apartment in New York City that Monica and Rachel shared even though they were unemployed half the time? They could afford it because the unit was under rent control. Rent control limits the amount your landlord can raise your rent. Usually it is a small percentage of your existing rent. Without rent control, the sky is the limit.

Question two: Are dogs allowed? I rented an apartment in a building once that advertised no dogs allowed. Much to my chagrin, my very first night I heard a loud barking dog from my neighbor’s apartment. When I asked my landlord about it she innocently responded that no new tenants are allowed to have dogs but existing tenants are grandfathered in!

Question three: Ask to see the apartment in the evening and on the weekend. You want to get a feel for your potential new home when the neighborhood is busy and not when everyone is at work and it is nice and quiet. When people are home you may be able to hear what it sounds like when people walk above you, vacuum, shower, play their TV or music. If you have to park on the street you’ll see what that is like, and so on.

Question four: Ask to check the water pressure, the ac, the oven et al. You want to make sure stuff works to your liking. How is the shower pressure? If you get hot easy, will the ac keep you cool?

Question five: What do your potential neighbors do? How many families are in the building? These questions gives you information on who is living around you. If a rock guitar player lives in 5B, and a librarian in 7H, and there are vacancies next to each, maybe it makes no difference to you, but maybe it does.  Some places will not answer these questions due to fair housing laws. But it is not against the law for you to ask.

The last bit of advice is for you to write a list of all of the things you like and don’t like about a home and ask any relevant questions that will affect your quality of life. Good luck and good hunting!

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

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