Inspecting and Choosing a Property

After comparing landlords and setting up an appointment, you will probably be preparing to tour the property. For those that have never rented an apartment before, don’t be intimidated by the landlord or get sold by a pitch. The following questions may be helpful in inspecting and deciding on a residence.

What to Consider When Viewing Apartments/Houses

  • Ask neighbors and previous renters if they have had any problems with the facility or landlord.
  • Is the residence well maintained and clean?
  • Are dumpsters emptied regularly?
  • Is there enough parking for each resident?

Living Arrangement Questions For Your Landlord

  • Are there rooms in the basement?
  • May I have a pet?
  • May I put up posters, hang pictures, etc.?
  • For which utilities am I responsible? What are the average utility bills?
  • What are your rules regarding social gatherings/parties?
  • Where may I park my car?
  • What is the surrounding neighborhood like? Do other students live in the area?
  • What are my responsibilities for mowing grass/shoveling snow/trimming hedges?
  • Who do I call if there is a plumbing or electrical issue? At what hours is it acceptable to call?
  • What problems have you had with previous tenants?

Final Inspection of the House

Make sure that you take photographs of any damage found in the apartment/house. These photos may be your only evidence if you and the landlord disagree about who is responsible for damage..

  • Outside – Lawn maintenance/Snow removal issues? Lighting/Parking?
  • Doors – Deadbolts/Door Viewers?
  • Windows – Condition of windows? Screens/Locks? Subject to easy entry?
  • Kitchen – Stove/Oven/Microwave? Refrigerator? Dishwasher/Garbage Disposal? Turn everything on—do all the burners on the stove work? Does the oven work? Does the dishwasher work?
  • Laundry – Washer/Dryer/if none, are there hookups? If no laundry on site, how close is the nearest laundromat?
  • Bathroom – Sink (water pressure)? Bathtub/Shower (drain/water pressure)? Turn on the faucets and check for yourself.
  • Bedrooms – Bed/Mattress? Noisy surroundings?
  • Basement – Leaks/Mildew/Mold?
  • General Living Areas – Furniture condition (if furnished)? TV (cable, etc.)/Telephone? Condition of walls/ceilings/floors? Issues with pests/termites?
  • Heating/Cooling – Type of air conditioner? Age/Condition of furnace? Who do you call if one of these systems breaks or stops working? How quickly will someone be scheduled to fix the problem?
  • Fire Safety – Do the smoke detectors have batteries? Are the fire extinguishers charged? Is the home safety system tied into local fire department?
  • Security System – Stand alone system or connected to local authorities?