It is important not to rush into committing to an accommodation before you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you and of the landlord. There are numerous questions you should ask before agreeing to rent. The following questions will help you determine whether an accommodation is appropriate.
- Do you feel comfortable with the neighbourhood?
- Have you visited the unit at night?
- Are accesses and entrances well lit?
- Is your view obstructed by trees and shrubs around the unit? Could someone hide there and sneak up on you?
- Do all the doors and windows close and lock properly?
- Are there deadbolts on the doors?
- Are there peepholes?
- Who has access to the key or unit?
- Ask when the locks were last changed?
- Does each bedroom (in a shared accommodation) have its own lock?
- Does the intercom/buzzer/doorbell work?
- Are there smoke detectors in the unit? When were they last checked?
- Try testing the smoke detectors by pushing the “test” button. Do they work?
- Is there a carbon monoxide detector?
- Does your accommodation have a fire extinguisher?
- Are there accessible and clear fire escape routes?
- Are the windows properly sealed with storm windows and screens and are they large enough to escape in case of an emergency?
- Is the unit close to a bus route?
- How long will it take to get to campus?
- Is the path to campus well lit and maintained?
- Is someone available to walk with you at night?
- Is a grocery store, pharmacy, and/or other important amenities close by?
- What parking is available?
- Can visitors park in the parking lot/driveway?
- Can visitors park overnight?
- If it’s underground parking, is it well lit and monitored?
Other Questions to Consider:
- How many people share the bathroom/kitchen?
- Who shovels the snow in the winter?
- Is the unit clean, spacious, and well maintained?
- Is there evidence of mildew, vermin, or ceiling and wall cracks?
- Ask if you can paint or decorate your unit?
- Has the landlord promised to do some cleaning, painting, or repairs before you move in?
- When was the accommodation last fumigated?
- Is there adequate storage space
What You Need To Know:
- The landlord's complete name, permanent address, and telephone numbers.
- How, when, and to whom do you pay the rent?
- Will the landlord issue rent receipts?
- We suggest you speak with current tenants. Was the landlord good at taking care of problems and repairing items?
- How long is the lease agreement?
- Who, when, and where should you contact for maintenance and repairs?
- Are utilities included? If no, what is an estimate of the monthly utility bill? (Ask the current tenants this question: don’t rely on the landlord) If yes, what utilities are included?
- Is cable included?
- Is a telephone line already installed?
- Can you have Internet installed?
- Who controls the heating?
- Do the stove and fridge work?
- Is the plumbing in working order?
- Are laundry machines coin operated or included?
- Is there a restriction on when you can use the laundry facilities?
- What facilities are there for garbage disposal?
- Are guests allowed overnight?
- Are pets allowed?
- Is smoking allowed inside?
- Can you put up an extra TV or stereo antenna? Can satellite TV equipment be installed?
- Are there restrictions on musical instruments?
- Are you allowed to have parties and entertain guests?
- How will you receive your mail? Do you have access to it?
- Is the unit quiet enough for your needs? (Visit during peak noise hours)