Deciding where to rent is a big decision that can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. All too often, renters are surprised and frustrated by the policies of their property managers, simply because they didn't know about those policies before signing their leases. When meeting with your potential future property manager, it's important to come prepared with a set of questions that can properly gauge how satisfied you will be with your living arrangement after you've signed on the dotted line.
Check out these key questions to ask your property manager before you sign your lease.
When Are You Allowed to Enter My Apartment?
As part of their duties, your property manager will likely need to enter your apartment periodically—whether it's to make repairs, change out filters or to show the unit to a prospective buyer or renter. However, it's important to note that your property manager cannot enter your apartment whenever he or she pleases. Generally, landlords need to provide at least 24 hours notice before entering your apartment. A few exceptions to this rule include emergencies, extermination, regularly scheduled maintenance and court order. Before you rent, make sure you know and are comfortable with all the reasons why your landlord may wish to enter your apartment.
How Are Late Fees Determined?
Being saddled with unexpected late fees can be frustrating for renters. To avoid this, first get an understanding of when your property manager considers rent payments to be late and what exactly the late-fee structure looks like. Is there a grace period? Are additional late fees charged for each subsequent day? These are all important considerations that may end up saving you money in the long run. Knowing this information, you'll be ready to decide whether or not you're prepared to sign the rental agreement.
Can I Sublet the Apartment?
Some landlords and property managers have strict rules around subletting a unit to another renter. This can be problematic if you ever need to move unexpectedly or if you realize the unit is not right for you a few months after moving in. Ensuring that you are comfortable with your apartment's subletting policy before signing your lease is a great way to protect yourself from being left on the hook for monthly rent payments if you need to relocate to another area.
What Changes Can I Make to the Apartment?
When you rent an apartment, you are essentially paying for the right to use your landlord's property. Because of this, apartment leases generally include limitations on the types of changes you can make to your unit. These limitations range from restricting structural changes to the space to prohibiting small holes in the wall for hanging pictures. Because there is so much variance from one landlord to the next, it's important to determine what types of changes you'll be allowed to make ahead of time.