Ten essential questions to ask a lessor


By Molly Zupan, Special Sections Editor

The 2018 school year is fresh and your current living situation may be too, but now is the ideal time to consider housing for next year if you will still be in the C-U area. Over 44,000 students attend the same University as you, so don’t hesitate to begin the search for your future housing.

For those of you who have never lived beyond the residence halls, don’t wait until the last minute. Apartment- or house-hunting is something that takes time, so start preparing as soon as possible.

When I was a freshman, I waited until February to start looking for an apartment for sophomore year. The process was hectic, intimidating and new to me. Without my Dad’s help, I’m positive I would have spent my sophomore year living somewhere I didn’t feel comfortable or content in.

So, because of my fairly stressful experience, I figured I’d do you all a favor. Here’s a handful of questions you should have prepared to ask your parent or guardian, future landlord or leasing company.

When is the best time to sign a lease?

There are dozens of leasing companies and agents on this campus, and they often have special offers available for students. Reach out to companies you are considering signing with and find out if there are any special dates or discounts to look out for.

Are utilities included?

Always ask if utilities, such as water and electricity, are included with rent. If you don’t, you may be hit with some unexpected charges come fall. Extra, sudden payments are never a good thing. If you want to dig deeper, find out how these costs are calculated.

Has the unit or home been recently inspected and cleaned? If so, can you prove it?

Be sure to find out if your future apartment or house has been inspected for safety purposes. Anything specified in the lease should be functional and safe to use, such as sprinklers, windows or fire alarms.

A clean, ready-to-use apartment is just as essential. Don’t move in without knowing that your new space was efficiently cleaned. Take photos of the move-in conditions to avoid extra charges.

Is the surrounding neighborhood suitable?

Find out if the area around the unit is safe, well-lit and fits your needs. Check crime statistics to get an idea. Take a walk around and scope out the area. Make sure you could picture yourself living there comfortably and happily.

If I sign a nine-month lease now, can I switch it to a 12-month lease later?

If you are applying for a summer job or internship in the C-U area, ask your lessor if you can make changes to your lease. Routes change and new opportunities come along; make sure your lessor is willing to adjust accordingly.

If I violate the lease, what will the consequences be?

Mistakes happen and miscommunication can make things worse. Make sure you, your roommate(s) and your lessor are all on the same page.

Where is the nearest bus stop?

Ask this question especially if you live off-campus. Most areas are close to a multitude of bus stops, but save yourself the struggle of searching for the nearest one. Just ask.

Are there any plans for future construction or updates?

It’s important to know the answer to this one. You should be aware of potential sources of loud sounds or disruptions and be prepared to move safely out of your unit. It’s also good to know if any work will be done within or outside of your unit. Construction zones aren’t always suitable for day-to-day activities.

How do you handle repairs, especially in emergency situations?

In my years of apartment renting, I’ve lost a window screen, had a busted washing machine and more. Things happen, so think ahead and learn the steps to a successful repair or replacement process.

Why should I sign a lease with your company?

If you’re really looking to challenge possible lessors, check out their elevator pitches. See if they can genuinely express why their unit is worth your consideration, time and money. Get them to sell you the apartment, literally and figuratively.

If you have more questions, which I’m sure you will, don’t feel intimidated. Ask away, and I guarantee your housing experience will go much smoother.

Molly is a junior in FAA.

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