Apartments and house sharing are advertised in the following places:
Call to make an appointment to see the apartment or house. Be on time for your appointment. If you do not know the telephone number, go to the address given in the ad.
Be sure you see the apartment or house before you rent it. It is recommended you view at least three (3) apartments before choosing one to rent. For safety purposes, it is also recommended you view apartments with a friend whenever possible.
Questions you should ask
- How much is the rent?
- Are the first and last months’ rent required?
- How much is the damage deposit?
- How much of the deposit is refundable?
- What utilities are included in the rent and what utilities do I pay?
- Is the electricity already turned on? Gas?
- Is cable TV and internet included?
- Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished?
- Is a lease or rental agreement required? On what term basis: month-to-month, six months, a year?
- How soon can I move in?
- How do I terminate the contract and what are the penalties if I do so before the contract end-date?
- Who is responsible for cleaning the apartment? For the damage? And the maintenance?
- Is smoking allowed?
- Are children and pets allowed?
- What is the pet deposit? Is it included in the overall deposit?
A furnished apartment has the basic furniture and appliances you will need. An unfurnished apartment
usually has no furniture included, but it may have appliances like a stove and refrigerator.
Other things to look for
- Location – Is the apartment/house near shopping, campus, and a bus stop? Is it on a quiet or busy street?
- Cleanliness – Look closely at how clean the apartment is. Are the curtains torn? Does the carpet have spots? Are the walls dirty? Is the shower clean? Is there mold anywhere (on the ceilings)? Do the appliances work well?
- Parking – Find out if you will have a parking spot. What is the monthly payment? Is there street parking?
- Laundry – Does the apartment or apartment building have a laundry room? Do you have to pay per load? Is there a laundromat close by?
- Extras – Does the apartment include anything extra (e.g., swimming pool, dishwasher, garbage disposal, exercise room, rooftop BBQ area, etc.)?
Signing a Lease or Rental Agreement
For your own protection you should sign a written agreement with your landlord. There are two kinds of written agreements: rental agreements and leases. Each has different terms and rules about how long you agree to stay or how much notice the landlord must give you before raising the rent or asking you to move out. Read the terms of your rental agreement or lease carefully. If you sign a 12-month lease, for example, but move out after 10 months, you will be responsible for the remaining two months of rent.
Your written agreement should include information about:
- Utilities included in the rent
- When the rent is due
- If the rent will increase if you allow other people to live with you
- Amount of damage deposit (if required)
- Amount of cleaning deposit (if required)
- Amount of cleaning deposit refundable
- Any other fees or costs
- Statement about who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the apartment
- Statement about what is required to terminate the agreement
- Statement about who has the right to enter the apartment and when