The 25 most important questions to ask about an apartment before you rent it


Categories: Renting an apartment Speak Easy

questions to ask before renting an apartment

You found an apartment that looks just about good. Time to sit down with your agent and hammer out the conditions of your contract. What are you going to say and what questions are you going to ask? These short conversations will help you revise what to say and what to ask. Scroll down for the most important questions to ask about a rental!

Getting in touch

by email

My name is (your name)  and I am writing to find out more about (address). I can be contacted by email at  (your email)   or by phone at  (phone number). Please contact me soon. Thanks!
I am interested in this rental and would like to schedule a viewing. Please let me know when this would be possible. Thank you.

by phone

I found your listing on (website) / in (name of paper)  and I would like to find out more about this apartment.
I am calling about the ad I found in (name of paper).
When would you be available for a viewing? Could you show me the apartment this week?
I’d like some more information about…..
Would tomorrow afternoon work?
Well, I am also free on Friday from 4 pm.
Okay then, see you then!
Bye now!

The most important questions to ask about the apartment

Money matters

How much is the monthly rent?
Where and when must rent be paid?
Do you charge a (late) fee if the rent is paid later than the due date?
Do I pay for heating (electric, gas, or oil), water/sewer, hot water, electricity, garbage collection, cable TV separately?
Are the utilities charged to the individual apartments or averaged between apartments/residents?
What are average heating/cooling bills in May/December?
How much is the security deposit?
When and where must the deposit be paid?
Is my deposit held on a separate account?
Do I receive an interest on my deposit?
Can I have my security deposit returned in full?

Administrative issues & Paperwork

Do I need to fill out and submit an application (for a lease)?   See a sample application form here
How many people may be registered/live at this address?
May I rent from you for a shorter time period such as 2 months?
Who will complete the damage report when I move in and out?

Subletting and lease termination

How much notice do I need to give to renew or terminate the lease?
Does the lease contain an escalator clause that says that my rent payment could increase during the time I am renting the apartment?
May I sublet my lease?
May I assign my lease?
May I allow someone else to rent the apartment if I move out before my lease is over?

Facilities & Maintenance

Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished?
Is there an electric stove and a refrigerator? Is the kitchen equipped?
Are there screens on the doors and windows?
Is there a common laundry room in the building?
Is there a storage area outside of the apartment?
How do you handle pest control?
How do I notify you of emergency repairs on workdays, on weekends, and after office hours?
Do you have an on-site maintenance staff/repair person to handle repair requests?
Is there a supermarket/shopping center/clinic within walking distance?
How accessible/far is public transportation?



accessible (adjective) = easy to reach

averaged = the costs are distributed between the residents

assign the lease = allow someone else to rent the apartment (that is take over the lease) if you move out before the lease runs out

damage report = a report filled out when you move in and when you move out of the apartment to see if you need to make or pay for repairs

deposit (noun) = a sum of money paid by someone who rents something that is returned to them if no damages are done to the property

due date  = the day by which you must do something (here: pay for the apartment)

escalator clause (in a lease) = a part of the rental agreement that says that rent payment could increase during the time you are renting the apartment

fee = an extra charge, an additional cost

in full = the complete amount of money

interest (noun) = extra money you receive when you put your money in the bank

listing (noun) = here: a property that you rent (e.g., apartment, house, flat, garden, etc)

notify (verb) = let someone know, inform someone

on-site maintenance staff/repair person = a person or people who you can call if you need to get something repaired at the apartment

pest control = making sure there are no bugs or rodents (e.g., mice) in the building

renew a lease = extend your contract for a longer period than planned

rental (noun) = a property that you rent (e.g., apartment, house, flat, garden, etc)

sublet a lease = assign a lease

submit an application for a lease = to fill in an application form and give it to the landlord See a sample application form here

terminate a lease = break, get out of a rental agreement

utilities = water, electricity, gas

a viewing (noun) = a meeting with the landlord/agent when he/she shows you the apartment/house you want to rent

water/sewer (non) = clean and used water carried in pipes to and from buildings

within walking distance = close enough to walk there



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Application form from


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