Renting 101: Apartment Viewing Checklist

So you have decided to move out and now you're looking for an apartment. Where do you start? What do you look for? How will you know if it's the right apartment for you? The best tip is to always do a full walk through of your potential new apartment before signing any papers and moving in.

Here are checklists of questions that can be a good resource to helping you find your perfect apartment.

Before the Viewing - Questions to ask the potential landlord

  • How many bedrooms are in the apartment?
  • How much is rent?
  • When is the apartment available? When do the previous tenants move out?
  • Are utilities included in the rental cost, if not, how much will they be per month?
  • Are there laundry facilities?
  • Is there parking included in the rental fee?
  • Do you have any rules about pets? Smoking? Guests?
  • Where is the closest public transportation located?
  • Why did the person move out?

During the Viewing - Items to check

  • Do you need to set up service for the power? Cable? Hydro? Internet?
  • Is there air conditioning and/or central heat?
  • Are the laundry facilities pay or free use?
  • Are you sharing a space with other people? Are the other people there to meet?
  • Are there working smoke detectors?
  • Is there a fire extinguisher in the apartment?Are there enough electrical outlets in each room?
  • How many telephone jacks are in the apartment and where are they located?
  • Is there cable television hook-up?
  • Is the hot water working?
  • Do the door locks work?
  • Do the windows have working locks and is it easy to open and close?
  • Do the appliances (oven/stove/fridge) function properly?
  • Are there major cracks in the ceilings or walls?
  • Who pays for rental damages?
  • Is there a damage deposit, what is considered damages?

Things to Consider

  • Is the apartment close to work or school?
  • If sharing, are you living with people you would want to live with?
  • Do you need to pay first and last, or damage deposits - check with your local rules to see which a landlord can charge in your area
  • Do any additional expenses from this unit be accommodated for in your budget?
  • Does it meet your needs for laundry? Parking? Internet? Guests?
  • How long is the lease agreement?
  • At what point in the lease agreement can the landlord increase the rent?

Take your time while you're inspecting your potential apartment! Don't rush and be thorough. You want to make sure that you choose a place you can picture yourself living in happily.