Questions To Ask When Renting

Use the questions below to check out an apartment or house before deciding to move in.

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.

This list may also be used after you move in as a basis to log complaints about living conditions stemming from the landlord’s failure to perform proper service or maintenance.

There are legal guidelines regarding housing conditions and lease clauses. For information on what landlords can and cannot do, ask for “A Guide to Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Landlord or Tenant in the Town of Amherst”. This booklet is available for free at CSHRC.

1. What is the rent per month?

2. Is a security deposit required? If so, how much is it and under what conditions is it held?

3. Does the landlord require payment of last month’s rent in advance?

4. Do you pay extra ( and if so how much?) for utilities, storage space, air conditioning, parking space, late payment of rent, etc.?

5. Assess the maintenance services: Is there a resident superintendent? Are maintenance hours restricted? How is emergency service handled?

6. How is garbage disposal handled? Is recycling available?

7. Are there laundry facilities in the building? How many available? Security?

8. Building lobby: is it clean and well lit? Security?

9. Entrance and exit: Elevator? Are stairs well lit? Fire exits?

10. Hallways: Clean and well lit?

11. Are there signs of insects present?

12. Bathrooms: Clean? Plumbing in good working order? Tiles sound?

13. Kitchen: Is sink in good working order: Stove? Refrigerator?

14. Air conditioning: Good working order?

15. Wiring: Are there enough electrical outlets? Is the wiring sound?

16. Does the heating system seem to be in good working order?

17. Is there a fireplace? Check to see that it is clean and operates well.

18. Windows? Are any broken? Do they all open? Storm windows? Screens? Locks?

19. Floors: Are they clean?

20. Ceilings: Are they clean? Cracked? Water stained?

21. Walls: Are they clean? Is the plaster cracked? Paint peeling?

22. Telephone: Outlets present? Convenient?

23. Is ventilation adequate? Is there an exhaust fan in the kitchen?

24. Lighting: Is it adequate? Are fixtures in good working order?

25. Security: Does the door have a deadbolt lock? A security chain?

26. Storage space: Is it adequate? Kitchen and bathroom cabinets?

27. Does the lease indicate that the rent can be increased if real-estate taxes are raised, sewer and water assessments are hikes, or for any other reason?

28. What is the noise level in the area around the rental unit? Traffic? Neighbours?

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