view current listings

15 Questions to Ask Before You Start Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment is a popular housing option for many people. It is an affordable, flexible, and convenient choice for those who may not be able to purchase a home or don’t want the responsibility of home ownership.

Renting an apartment is a major decision and a long-term commitment. It is important for potential renters to do their research and make sure that the apartment and landlord meet their needs and expectations.

In this guide, we go over some crucial questions you should be asking before renting your apartment.

1) "How Much is the Rent?"

The question of how much rent is due each month is a crucial question one to ask before starting to rent an apartment. This is because the amount of rent due will have a large impact on a budget of the tenant.

Knowing the amount of rent due each month can help to ensure that an individual is able to afford all of the costs of living in the apartment.

Additionally, there may be additional fees or services that are included in the rent amount, so you need to ask for clarification on these items if necessary.

Furthermore, it is important to ask about the due date of the rent, in order to ensure that rent is paid on time and that no late fees are incurred.

2) "What Payment Methods Do You Accept?"

Most landlords will accept rent payments made by check, money order, or electronic funds transfer. Some landlords may also accept cash payments, although this is much less common.

Ask the landlord what payment methods they accept so that you can ensure that you can pay your rent on time and in the correct manner.

You should inquire about any additional fees, such as late fees, that may be associated with the payment methods the landlord accepts. Knowing all of this information ahead of time can help you plan your budget and avoid any unnecessary fees.

3) "What Do I Need for the Application?"

When applying for an apartment, there are a few important documents and items that you should have. This includes proof of income, a valid ID, references, and a security deposit. Proof of income is needed to show that you can afford the rent. This can be a pay stub, tax return, or bank statement.

A valid ID is needed to verify your identity, such as a driver’s license or other government-issued ID. References are also imperative, to demonstrate that you are reliable and trustworthy.

Be sure to read all application documents thoroughly before signing, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if something is not clear.

4) "What Are the Terms of the Lease?"

The lease is a legally binding document that outlines the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord. It will cover such items as the length of the lease, the amount of rent, the security deposit, the utilities and other services that are included in the rent, the rules regarding pets and guests, and what happens when the lease ends.

Knowing the terms of the lease will help you to determine whether the apartment is a good fit for you and your needs. Be sure to read the lease carefully and ask questions if something is unclear.

It is also important to note that the lease may be subject to change if the landlord or tenant wishes to amend it, so you should keep a copy of the lease for your records.

5) "Are There Any Deposits Needed?"

Generally speaking, most landlords require some kind of security deposit prior to signing a lease agreement. A security deposit is a sum of money that is kept in escrow to ensure that the tenant pays their rent and complies with the terms of the lease agreement. It is also a way to cover any damages that may occur during the lease.

Make sure to ask the landlord about any deposits required before signing a lease agreement. It is also a good idea to ask in advance if the landlord offers any kind of security deposit refund program. This way, you can get some of the deposit back if you fulfill your obligations and leave the apartment in good condition.

6) "Do You Have Any Subletting Policies?"

Subletting policies refer to the regulations landlords put in place to control the subleasing of their rental units. As a tenant, you must understand your landlord's policy on subletting and to abide by it. Generally, the landlord will need to approve any potential subtenant and may require the subtenant to sign a separate lease agreement.

When asking about subletting policies, it is a good idea to clarify whether the landlord allows for temporary or permanent subletting.

Temporary subletting is when a tenant rents his or her apartment to another person for a limited period of time, while permanent subletting is when a tenant assigns their lease to another person for the remainder of the lease period.

7) "Are Utilities Included in the Rent?"

When it comes to renting an apartment, one of the most important questions to ask is if utilities are included in the rent. This is because utilities such as water, electricity, gas, and internet can add up quickly and become a hefty expense.

If they are not included in the rent, you should know the costs associated with each utility so that you can budget accordingly.

It is also crucial to know whether electricity, gas, and water will be installed or if you will have to take care of that yourself and pay for the installation costs. Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time helps ensure that you have a successful rental experience.

8) "Is Early Lease Termination Allowed?"

Every lease agreement is different, and the rules regarding early termination will vary. Generally, it is up to the landlord to decide if they will allow an early termination and, if so, what the associated fees will be.

The landlord may require the tenant to pay any unpaid rent, a penalty fee, and/or other costs associated with the early termination.

It would be wise to ask for written confirmation of any agreement reached with the landlord.

9) "How Do I Renew My Lease?"

Renewing your lease is an important step in securing your rental home for the long-term. You should understand the process of renewing your lease, as well as the different options available to you.

Typically, your lease will specify how far in advance your landlord needs to be notified of your intent to renew. Most landlords prefer that you give them at least 30 days’ notice, so they can plan accordingly.

You should also ensure that you are able to meet any additional requirements that your landlord may have, such as providing proof of employment or other financial documents.

10) "What are the Amenities in the Property?"

The amenities available at a rental property can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Knowing what amenities are available can help you decide if the property is right for you. Ask the landlord or property manager what amenities are included in the rental, such as access to a pool or gym, laundry facilities, and a secure entry system.

Depending on the property, it might also include additional features such as pool privileges, outdoor space, or storage.

You should also ask about any other fees you might be responsible for, such as pet fees, parking, or security deposits. Asking about amenities upfront will help you make an informed decision about whether or not the rental property meets your needs.

11) "Who Do I Talk to For Repairs and Maintenance?"

When it comes to repairs and maintenance, it is important to know who will be responsible for them. Most landlords will handle any urgent repairs and maintenance that needs to be done. This may include plumbing, electrical, heating, and other general repairs. You should also know who will be responsible for regular maintenance, such as changing light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, and other routine maintenance tasks.

Knowing when the landlord or maintenance person is available will ensure that any urgent repairs and maintenance can be handled in a timely manner. Having this knowledge ahead of time will also help to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

12) "Are There Any Furnishings in the Unit?"

When considering whether or not to rent an apartment, ask whether or not the unit has any furnishings included. Depending on the landlord, the answer to this question may vary. Some landlords may provide basic furnishings such as a bed, dresser, and couch, while others may not provide any furnishings at all.

Most landlords will provide appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer and dryer.

It may also pay to ask if the furnishings are included in the rental price. If they are included, it may be necessary to inquire about the condition of the items and whether they need to be replaced or repaired.

Additionally, if the furnishings are not included in the rental price, it may be possible to negotiate for them to be included in the lease agreement.

13) "Is There a Guest and Curfew Policy?"

Most landlords will have their own guest and curfew policy that they will enforce in order to maintain the peace and safety of the property. The guest policy will dictate when and how many guests you can have at the apartment. It will also specify if guests are allowed to stay overnight and if so, how many nights they can stay.

Ask your landlord if there are any limitations or restrictions on the number of guests you can have. The curfew policy will tell you what time guests have to leave and if there is a noise curfew that must be followed.

Knowing the guest and curfew policy ahead of time will help you plan your time in the apartment accordingly.

14) "Do You Need Renter's Insurance?"

Renter's insurance provides financial protection in the event of an accident or damage to the property. It covers damage to the renter's personal belongings and can also provide liability coverage in the event of an accident in the rental unit.

Furthermore, many landlords now require renters to have renter's insurance as a condition of their lease agreement.

Renters need to understand their coverage and the extent of their policy. It is advisable to shop around for different policies and compare coverage and costs. Additionally, it is possible that their landlord's policy may provide some coverage for the renter.

15) "What Are the Characteristics of Your Ideal Tenant?"

Every landlord has different expectations for their tenants. When asking this question, it is important to be prepared to provide information about yourself and your lifestyle, so that the landlord can determine if you would be a good fit for their rental property.

Asking this question can help you make sure you don't end up with a difficult landlord. If they respond with something particular, then you might have to think twice about whether you are the right fit for them and vice versa. If you don't want to deal with a hard-to-please landlord, this is a great opportunity to look for a different place to rent.

By understanding the landlord's expectations, you can set your own expectations for how life at this rental space will work out for you. Knowing what is expected of you as a tenant will help you avoid any potential problems that may arise from non-compliance.

When you have a good working relationship with your landlord, the renting application and, inevitably, life under this property will smoothly.


The process of renting an apartment can be quite overwhelming and tedious. There are many things to consider before signing a lease, and it is important to ask all the right questions before making a commitment. By taking the time to ask these questions, you can ensure that you make the best rental choice possible.

If you are considering renting in Ottawa, Phoenix Properties has you covered. We can help you find the perfect Ottawa rentals to live in. Get in touch with us today to get started.


Inquire about
this listing

    Preferred Move-in Date (Optional)

    By requesting information I agree to Phoenix Properties Inc. Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions. I also agree to receive Phoenix Properties Inc. electronic communications. You may opt-out at anytime.

    *Prices, incentives, availability, and specifications are subject to change. Images may not reflect actual suite finishes. E. & O.E.