The Expat Woman

20 Questions to Ask when Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment when you are new to the country can be a difficult and complicated task. Also you might not be familiar with all the  language and terms used.


Lease –  A contract granting occupation of a property during a specified period in exchange for a specified rent

Security deposit – A security deposit is any money a landlord takes from a tenant other than the advance payment of rent. The security deposit serves to protect the landlord if the tenant breaks or violates the terms of the lease or rental agreement. It may be used to cover damage to the property, cleaning, key replacement, or back rent.

Utilities – Water, garbage, gas and electricity.

Sublet – To rent your rented apartment to someone else.

Always request a walk through of any apartment you are considering  renting  to make sure the unit is in a good condition and all the appliances that come with the apartment work. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Twenty questions to ask a potential landlord

  1. What is the length of the lease? 6 months, 1 year?

  2. How much is the monthly rent?

  3. How much is the security deposit?

  4. Do you need to pay the first and last month’s rent?

  5. What were the typical rent increases in the  last two years?

  6. What is the penalty for breaking the lease?

  7. When is the rent expected every month and is there a late fee?
  8. Can you sublet?

  9. What utilites are included in the rent? Water, garbage, cable, gas?

  10. Does the apartment building have parking, security, pool, gym and does one have to pay for these?

  11. What appliances are included with the apartment? eg. stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, garbage disposal, washer and dryer?

  12. Can the apartment be painted, pictures hung on the walls etc.?

  13. Are pets allowed? ( very important to ask this if you have a pet or planning to get one?)

  14. Is there any work that needs to be done on the apartment before you move in?
  15. Who does apartment maintenance and how do they handle it?

  16. How far is public transportation from the apartment?

  17. Are there grocery stores in the neighborhood?

  18. Is there a history of theft, vandalism or other crimes?

  19. Is the apartment  at a noisy traffic intersection or close to the freeway?

  20. What is the school district like ( if you have school going children)?




Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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