General chatter - Advice from apartment renters!




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mindytheawesome
02-27-2007, 04:22 AM
My boyfriend and I had to move pretty suddenly when he got offered a job and had about 2 weeks to find a place and move here to start the position at his current job. We like it here its really nice but its sort of expensive for us. We were going to look for other apartments in the area and I saw a few in the newspaper. They are very vague with the information and I was wondering what kind of questions do you ask newspaper sellers? If you couldn't tell our current apartment is our first one! haha!


godsgirlnmo
02-27-2007, 08:29 AM
For 5 and a half years I was in apartment management and I always loved when people asked questions so please do not be afraid to ask them.

I will just lift off some of the basic questions

How long is your lease?
if you have pets - do they accepts them?
how much is the rent?
how often are rents increased after the lease is up?
can you sign a new lease after your lease is expired?
what kind of amenities do they have ( such as a pool or weight room) ?
how much is the deposits?
What utilities do they cover?
How much do the utilities that you cover on the average cost.

what are your neighbors like? ( legally they can not go into great detail about this but they might say a little bit) ?

Is there covered parking?

can you see the apartment before you put a deposit down? ( I was always amazed when people would rent an apartment sight unseen)

How quickly does your maintenance team get to maintenance requests?
What is your screening criterion? Point blank as them about criminal background checks of they do not do this you do not want to live there?

Ask how often the police are at there apartment complex and then the most important thing is to not make a decision right away and go home and call the police and give them the address to the place your wanting to move they should be able to tell you what kind of calls they get and how often they get them. DO NOT MOVE INTO A PLACE WITHOUT DOING THIS?


I hope this helps :)
Misty

techwife
02-27-2007, 11:06 AM
I think Misty covered all the questions to ask, but as a renter of many apartments in my day, I'd always go with an apartment complex as opposed to a hacked-up house with a landlord. I think you will have a much more professional experience on so many levels. Most apartment complexes are maintained by a professional maintenance staff that is there for your 24/7 if you have problems, for one...and the building was more than likely built to be apartments, unlike a hacked-up house that was made to be a house.

Just my opinion based on my experiences.

Good luck!!


nelie
02-27-2007, 11:17 AM
You might also want to check Craigslist for your area. They generally have apartments, condos, homes, etc for rent.

mindytheawesome
02-28-2007, 05:38 AM
Thanks! That is great advice from all of you! I'm going to write those questions down and take them with me when I search for a new place.

almostheaven
02-28-2007, 04:18 PM
Point blank as them about criminal background checks of they do not do this you do not want to live there?
??? I've never had an apt. that did this, and lived in some really good areas. The last complex I lived in for 8 years was a very nice upscale place and they did not do background checks. They did require an application fee and they did checks on your previous tennancy but no criminal checks.

As for houses someone mentioned, after that complex, we rented a house. But the house we rented was THROUGH an apt. complex, which owned half a dozen houses on the bordering street. So we received the same kind of maintenance as the apts. did. So don't rule them out if you can find a setup like that. A 3 br. house with a nice yard and carport was more up our alley than a 2 br. apt. under people's feet. ;)

And I just wanted to point out, because I'm not sure if you realize it, but maybe you do. You will bre prematurely breaking your lease. Emergencies notwithstanding. We had to break ours at the 8 yr. complex because both my in-laws were diagnosed with dementia and hubby was their only child. We had to move to their state to care for them. We even gave a 30 day notice, but they still wouldn't release us from the lease until the apt. rented. So we were responsible for rent payments until they rented it back out. You may also find yourself paying the rent there, as well as at your new place.

HarpoChicoGroucho
02-28-2007, 09:48 PM
Also, check out this site: http://apartmentratings.com/

Even though the apartment might SEEM really great, management or maintenance might totally suck, so I always check out their rating before I sign the lease.

I'm too shy to do this too, but when you're around the complex taking a tour, stop someone who lives there and ask how they like it. I always want to do that, but I'm way too shy.

Also, pick up Forrent magazine (http://www.forrent.com/ ~ another helpful site) and Apartment Guide too -- you can find them in the front of grocery stores. They're quite helpful.

LindseyLouWho
03-02-2007, 02:56 AM
Criminal background checks around here (Houston, TX area) are quite common, maybe because we have a higher crime rate than the average city. I know that most apartment complexes will not let someone with a felony on their record rent an apartment.

As almostheaven mentioned above, you will want to look into what breaking your lease entails if you haven't already. I know with any apartment I've heard of, the only excuse that won't be penalized is if you're in the military and they need you to transfer somewhere. It can get really expensive as well. At my apartment complex, you not only have to pay until the apartment is rented out again, but also any discounts you may have received in the beginning. With my apartment, for example, I'd have to pay back the 3% student discount I'd received the entire time I'd been there for my lease (a few hundred dollars). A lot of the time, though not always, the company that is transferring you will pay all of these expenses. That would be nice if that was the case.

The websites HarpoChicoGroucho gave you are all great resources, especially the apartment ratings one. I used that one when looking for my current apartment, and sometimes although the apartments look really nice on the outside, there can be some pretty bad things going on beneath all of that. Some examples of things I've heard of are thin walls to where you can hear your neighbors arguing, domestic disputes, maintenance not coming to fix things in a timely manner, etc.

Anyway, good luck finding a nice place to live! I know that research is the key component to this.

almostheaven
03-02-2007, 02:06 PM
Criminal background checks around here (Houston, TX area) are quite common, maybe because we have a higher crime rate than the average city. I know that most apartment complexes will not let someone with a felony on their record rent an apartment.
That may be why the difference. The places I've always rented were in a small town (bedroom community) and one in the country. However, the house we rented through the apt. complex was smack in the middle of downtown VA Beach, and they still didn't do a criminal check. But I don't know the crime rate.

As almostheaven mentioned above, you will want to look into what breaking your lease entails if you haven't already. I know with any apartment I've heard of, the only excuse that won't be penalized is if you're in the military and they need you to transfer somewhere.
Actually, that apt. lease we broke was the one in the country up north, and they wouldn't even consider military as a reason. They have NO options for breaking a lease. Yet while living in VA Beach, we found it's quite common there, so all rentals include that option, since it's such a large military area.