5 Questions Students Should Ask When Apartment Hunting
When students leave their hometowns to start a new life at university or college, they not only have to settle in at a new school but find a place to live too. Students often live in university or college residences in the first year and move out with friends for the following years. If it’s your first time hunting for an apartment on your own, be sure to do your research and ask these five questions.
What Are The Rental Terms?
You’ll obviously want to ask how much rent is, but there are some other questions you should ask regarding the terms of the agreement. For instance, you’ll want to know how many tenants are required to sign the lease. If they only want one tenant to put their name down and take full responsibility for collecting the rent from other tenants each month, you might want to reconsider. You should also ask about the deposits they require before you move in. Security and damage deposits are illegal in Ontario. However, a landlord is permitted to ask you to pay last month’s rent upfront. You should also ensure that the lease they are using is the standard rental lease that is mandatory in Ontario. Landlords are no longer permitted to create their own leases and come up with their own rules.
What Is Included?
Many students assume that the electricity, water, heat, WiFi, parking and laundry facilities are included. However, that’s not always the case. You should always find out what is included in the rent before signing on the dotted line. Otherwise, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars more a month on services you had thought were included in the monthly rent.
Are Pets Allowed?
If you’re a pet owner, you’ll be happy to learn that landlords do not have the right to ban animals, so you will always be allowed to have a pet under Ontario law. However, if you’re not a pet owner, you might want to find out how many pets are currently living in the building. If there’s a large number of dogs or cats present in your apartments, it might be difficult for those who suffer from allergies.
Have The Locks Been Changed?
Students tend to turnover quite frequently, which is why many landlords don’t bother to change the locks. This can put you at risk if a previous tenant decides to use their key to enter your apartment and take your things. Additionally, you are not allowed to change the locks yourself without the landlord’s permission. If you do, your landlord could ask the Landlord and Tenant Board to make you pay to have the lock changed back.
Who Is Responsible For Maintenance And Repairs?
It’s important that you also confirm with the landlord who is responsible for what. If the lease doesn’t outline who is responsible for repairing appliances or changing light bulbs, don’t assume the landlord will do it. If something is not clearly outlined in the lease, it can be difficult to get the landlord to repair it if it’s not required by law. Check to see if your landlord or property management company has its own team of service and maintenance people or outsourced contractors.
Want to have a smooth and stress-free rental process? Contact us at Sleepwell Property Management. We only use an Ontario standard lease agreement and will clearly outline everything that’s involved, so you’ll know exactly what is included in your contract.