The Best Questions to ask a Landlord or Owner before Signing on Your First Apartment

There is a lot to consider when shopping and signing for your first apartment. Whether you are signing to rent, lease, or own, you want to be sure that you are getting a good deal, and choosing an apartment that you’ll be happy in. No one wants to sign a contract and then have surprises coming popping up upon moving in. There are a few essential questions to ask the owner or landlord of the apartment before you sign on the dotted line, to ensure you are fully aware of what you are getting into:

Am I Allowed to Personalize My Apartment?

Before you make big décor plans for improving the apartment, it is crucial to ask you landlord about what you’re entitled to. You must know the rules for personalizing your apartment before you make any changes, especially since this could cause problems with the owner or lead to a costly mistake. Once your landlord explains what is okay, have them write it out on paper so that any future problems can be avoided. Typically, though, you must leave your apartment in its original condition once the lease is up.

How Much Notice Will I Have Before You Enter My Apartment?

Ask your landlord about the etiquette that they will employ when entering your apartment. Most laws explain that a landlord has to let you know at least 24 hours in advance if they’re coming over. While it depends on the state itself, usually these visits have to be done at reasonable times of the day or during what’s considered business hours. Get an idea for when and why your landlord would be making visits, and how much notice you will have before they arrive.

Am I Allowed to Have Guests?

There are some landlords that do not allow their tenants to have any guests stay overnight, while others don’t mind who is staying in the place as long as the rent check goes through. That’s why you want to check with your landlord before you tell anyone that they can stay with you for any length of time. The same goes with inviting a significant other to move into your place as your landlord may want to run a background check on them first. Be clear on the rules about visitors before signing for the apartment, seeing as how this can be a deal breaker for some apartment shoppers.

Will There Be Any Construction Done on the Building Soon?

No tenant wants to wake up to the sound of drills and hammering every morning for months and months to come. It is best to inquire about any plans for construction on the building, or in your apartment specifically. Construction usually ends up keeping an apartment on the market for quite a bit of time so if there’s going to be some kind of renovations done here you may even be able to get a better deal on your apartment.

How Will You Prepare My Apartment For Me?

Many times, former tenants don’t leave apartments in the best conditions. Yes, your landlord should go in and clean up the place so that it is livable before you even move it. However, if you find that your landlord is promising extra services that go above and beyond what’s expected, have them write it out so you can use it as a reference to look back on. Whether they promise to have the carpets cleaned, or have a maid service come, be sure to document these promises so that the apartment is in good shape by the time you move in.

Signing your first apartment can be an exciting process, but it also requires some work on your part. In order to get the best deal and be truly prepared for the experience ahead, you must ask your landlord the right questions—don’t get so caught up in the excitement of a new apartment that you overlook important details that could come back to bite you later.


This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, real estate, and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the professionals at UCCI Properties who offer apartments for rent in Toronto.

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