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27 Questions To Ask A Landlord When Looking For Your College Apartment

Finding your first apartment is a rite of passage, and all you want is to make the journey as smooth as possible. Getting your own apartment in college (roommates or not) is a big step in becoming a real adult, which also means you may have to negotiate and advocate for yourself for the first time. In order to advocate for yourself, you need to know what questions to ask to get the answers you need. 

Landlords can make or break your apartment experience. Before you put any money down or sign any papers, it’s best to schedule an in-person viewing of the unit and building, since photos can be deceiving. If you are unable to view an apartment yourself, ask friends in the city to go for you and FaceTime you while they are there. It’s best to ask your landlord questions directly rather than have your realtor be the messenger. That way, your future landlord can show you anything you have Qs about in person at your viewing. 

Since this is the first time many students ~leave the nest~, it’s completely normal to have lots of questions. Below are a few to ask as you’re looking for your college apartment.

Questions about Rent

  1. How much is the rent?
  2. When is the rent due?
  3. Is there a fee in the event that the rent is late?
  4. How much is the deposit? 
  5. Is there a key deposit fee?
  6. How and when are any deposits refunded?

Questions about your lease

  1. How long is the lease for? 
  2. Does the lease let you sublet? 
  3. Is there a penalty for breaking the lease? 
  4. Do you need a guarantor or references? 
  5. Does the unit include any storage spaces in the building?

Questions About Utilities

  1. What utilities are included in the rent? 
  2. What are the average monthly utility costs, if not included in the rent? 

Questions About Parking

  1. Does a parking spot come with the unit? 
  2. Is there parking available on the street? 
  3. Is a parking spot included in the rent, or is it an extra fee?

Questions About Laundry

  1. Are there in-unit or in-building laundry facilities? 
  2. Are they coin-operated? How much do they cost?

Questions About pets

  1. Are pets allowed?
  2. What kinds are permitted? 
  3. Is there an additional cost for pets?

Questions About Maintenance

  1. Under what circumstances are landlords allowed to enter the unit? 
  2. How much advance entry do tenants get?
  3. How are maintenance requests handled?
  4. How do you report maintenance requests?
  5. What is the turnaround time for requests?
  6. Are tenants allowed to paint?

And be sure to remember renter’s insurance. This is something you will have to look into on your own, but most apartments need you to have it. (If you’re living in a community, that is — if you’re looking at apartments within houses off campus, you may not need this.) Renter’s insurance will help replace your belongings in the unfortunate circumstances of a covered risk like water damage, fire, or theft. 

Asking these questions will set you up for an amazing experience in your college apartment. Happy hunting!

Shay Nicolay

Toronto MU '22

Shayna Nicolay has been a Her Campus National Writer since January 2023. She writes bi-weekly articles as well as covering timely content. She graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2022, where she majored in journalism with a minor in graphic communications. Shayna was a contributing writer for her University's Chapter of Her Campus, and was the Editor-in-Chief of her University magazine, Folio. She also was the editorial intern for fashion content creator, Audree Kate Lopez, where she hired and managed a group of writers, ran the WordPress website, wrote and edited articles, and helped with social media copy. Shayna loves walks in nature, bingeing the newest TV show, beading jewelry, and is a mental health advocate. She loves storytelling and media, so content creation comes naturally to her. For the best memes, mental health tips, and bisexual visibility, follow Shayna @shaynicolay on Instagram and @shaynanicolay on TikTok.