10 Questions Prospective Tenants Ask When Renting Apartments
We’ve touched on 20 Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment, which covers the application process from the renter’s perspective. But, what about from the landlord or property manager’s side of things?
In this article, we go over the top questions rental applicants ask to give landlords a good idea of what to anticipate as they get their property ready to rent.
1. How Much is the Rental Application Fee?
The first question you are usually asked as a landlord is how much the rental application fee will be. Let the applicant know how much the fee is and what they should have prepared for their application, including:
- Name and contact information
- Emergency contact information
- Current residence information
- Employer information
- Pay stubs for proof of income
- Landlords references
- Pet details
- Any evictions?
- Any bankruptcies?
- Any convictions?
Make sure that the applicant understands the purpose of the rental application fee. Explain to them that this fee covers the costs of the application screening process. Always make sure they know that rental application fees are non-refundable.
2. How are Utility Bills Handled?
Handling expenses associated with utilities for a rental varies from landlord to landlord. Some properties will have renters pay for a portion of utilities, while some will have renters pay for all. Alternatively, other properties will cover all utilities in exchange for slightly higher rent prices.
Weigh your options and take a look at what is typical for rentals in your market. Regardless of how you decide to handle your utility bills, make sure you know the answer as the applications start to roll in because you can rest assured you will be asked about it.
3. What Does the Average Utility Bill Look Like?
If you decide to have the tenants cover utility expenses, they will want to get an estimate of their typical bills. If you’ve lived in the property yourself, you should easily be able to share this information with an applicant.
However, if you’re unsure of the average utility bill for your rental, you can reach out to the utility companies for an estimate. If you’re still unable to get a solid answer, you can estimate a monthly charge of around $200 to cover the following:
Be very clear that this is an estimate, and that their monthly bills could vary. If you’re interested in helping them reduce the cost of their bills, you could even provide them with a fact sheet on energy-saving practices in your rental.
3. What's the Pet Policy?
There are several questions landlords should ask potential renters, and asking about pets should always be a top priority. Likewise, for renters with pets, you can anticipate being asked about your pet policy as well.
Renters will likely ask if your apartment is pet friendly or not pet-friendly. If you allow pets in your apartment, they’ll want to know the details of your pet policy, including:
- Pet fees
- Pet deposits
- Monthly pet rent
When you discuss your pet policy with a prospective tenant, list any restrictions on things like the number of pets they can have, the types of pets they can have, or any breed restrictions.
Another thing to discuss with applicants is the process of bringing another pet to your apartment. Some landlords may require detailed information, others not so much, as long as it abides by the terms of the pet policy within the lease agreement.
4. What Lease Lengths Are Offered?
Renters want to know their lease length options and their impact on rent prices. While traditionally, most lease terms lasted 12-months or longer, nowadays, there is a higher demand for shorter-term leases like 1 to 6-months.
Thankfully, renters seeking short-term leases may be willing to pay higher rental fees, understanding the unique circumstances of their requests. If you have multiple lease length options available, make sure you have the pricing details readily available for any prospective renters who may be interested.
5. How Are Maintenance Requests Handled?
Be sure to let your applicants know how they should handle any maintenance requests. It works in your favor to relay this information because the sooner issues are addressed in your property, the less likely they are to develop into more significant problems down the line.
Always explain the importance of promptness when maintenance requests. Leaks are an excellent example of minor problems that can quickly become more severe if not handled right away.
You might put a clause in your lease agreement that states a maintenance issue resulting from something not reported promptly by a tenant could leave them with the financial responsibility.
6. What Changes Can I Make to the Apartment?
Renters want to feel at home, and part of creating that ambiance is decorating and customizing their apartments to suit them. For example, some of the questions regarding changes they are allowed to make in your apartment may be:
- Can they paint walls?
- Can they drill holes?
- Can they change out light fixtures?
Provide insight into what changes they can make around the apartment. Also, before immediately saying no, consider the impression that might give on a prospective tenant.
Rather than being resistant from the beginning, consider offering them an answer pending approval later on. If they want to paint the walls, tell them they will need to have the color you approve first.
7. What's the Parking Situation?
Parking is a hot topic for renters, and rightfully so. One of the most common questions landlords receive about a rental is regarding the parking situation. Prepare yourself to have answers for the following parking-related questions:
- Is parking offered?
- Are there reserved parking spaces?
- Is parking uncovered or covered?
- Is there a secure parking garage?
- Are there additional costs for parking?
- What is the guest parking situation?
In addition to inquiring about the parking situation, renters are likely to ask about the parking situation for guests as well. If you’re not familiar, you should take the time to either ask around or see for yourself what guest parking is available.
8. Is Renter's Insurance Required?
Some landlords require renter’s insurance policies, so it’s common for prospective tenants to ask about insurance requirements during the application process.
Check with local laws and regulations regarding renter’s insurance before you decide. If you require renter’s insurance, make sure you explain if a specific minimum policy is needed.
9. Are There Any Credit Score Requirements?
In explaining the application process to prospective tenants, let them know that you will conduct a credit check. Renters will likely ask you if there are any credit score requirements to be considered for your apartment.
You can anticipate the following questions regarding credit score:
- What's the minimum credit score required?
- What are the income requirements?
- Do you need proof of income?
10. What's the Laundry Situation?
Much like parking, laundry is another hot topic. In fact, in-unit laundry is the most in-demand amenity, so you can be sure that it's something renters will ask about.
If your apartment does not offer in-unit laundry, they will ask if there are laundry facilities on the property. If there are laundry facilities on the property, are there costs associated, and how much, if so?
If your apartment does not offer any type of laundry, either in-unit or on the property, it’s in your best interest as a landlord to find the closest laundry service available to be able to share that with prospective tenants.
Having the answers to all of the top questions rental applicants ask before you list your property can help you avoid any confusion later on down the line.
Then, when the time comes for you to list your property, you must choose a platform that you can trust to get the job done.
Make Apartment List your go-to for property listing needs. We’ll deliver prospective tenants eager to rent your unit. All prospects we send to you will be matched to your unit and have a higher chance of signing a lease agreement with you.
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