Questions to Ask When Renting a DC Apartment: 7 Essential Things You Need to Know

Questions about Apartments?

questions about renting an apartment

The Washington, DC area is known for its staggering cultural relevance and exciting neighborhoods.

Over 700,000 people call DC home, making it one of the most popular cities in America. And that doesn’t even include the number of people who commute to DC for work every day.

While the District has a virtually endless amount of positive qualities, it can be hard to find the perfect apartment.

That’s where we come in.

Based on our experience in the DC rental market, we’ve distilled the 8 most essential questions to ask when renting an apartment.

Armed with these questions, you’ll be able to weed through the numerous DC apartments.

Find out which ones best fit your lifestyle and which you should let fall by the wayside.

1. How Do You Accept Rent?

This is one of the most important questions to ask when renting an apartment. It’s also one of the most overlooked.

Let’s face it, who really uses checks anymore? As a matter of fact, over half of millennials have never used a check in their lives. Imagine having to go to a bank and pick up a checkbook just to pay your rent. Even worse, some apartments require you to mail that check to an offsite management company.

Does all of that sound like it’s more trouble than it’s worth? If so, you’ll want to find an apartment with more convenient options. The good news is that more and more apartments accept payments online through tenant portals!

If your payment method is important to you, then make sure you find an apartment that fits your needs.

2. What Fees Should I Be Aware Of?

Chances are, if you pay your rent on time each month, you’ll never have to worry about fees. That is, of course, if your apartment has a reasonable fee schedule.

Fees for apartments can range from standard charges like bounced check fees, late payment fees, electronic processing charges, and more. Ask if the apartment charges fees for maintenance requests. And find out when your rent is considered late.

Just because it’s due on the first doesn’t mean that you’re considered late if you haven’t paid it yet. Some apartments have a grace period. Find out what yours is.

Understanding your apartment’s associated fees means you can be prepared if you accidentally violate a policy.

3. What Is Your Guest Policy?

We get it, you have a new apartment in one of the most famous cities in the world and all you want to do is celebrate your good fortune by having a few friends over on a Friday night.

We get it, you have a new apartment in one of the most famous cities in the world. You’re going to want to celebrate your good fortune by having a few friends over on a Friday night.

While all of that seems relatively non-consequential, you’ll want to make sure your DC apartment’s policies don’t say otherwise. Some apartments will have visitor hours, express the number of nights a guest can stay over, and more.

To make sure the strictness of your apartment’s guest policy aligns with your lifestyle, add this to your list of questions. A guest policy might make or break your experience, which is why it’s such an important question to ask.

4. Where Can I Park?

Does your apartment have onsite parking? If so, count your blessings. With almost 12,000 people per square mile in DC, onsite parking can be hard to come by.

Even with onsite parking available, will you be charged for a spot and if so, how much? If there is no parking in your complex, what does street parking look like? Getting to the bottom of your parking situation early can prevent headaches. 

Even if they don’t have parking, you’ll be able to prepare for having to pay for external garage spaces or parallel parking your car on crowded streets.

5. What Changes Can I Make to My Apartment?

DC is one of the most culturally expressive cities you can live in. A lot of times, apartment renters like to take that expressiveness and customize their living space with it.

If this isn’t allowed by your landlord, though, making such changes can be costly.

Some landlords allow you to paint your walls, use thumbtacks or drill holes, and change your locks.

But if you do any of these things without their permission, you’re in danger of losing quite a bit of money.Ask these questions ahead of time, so you know whether or not their policies are going to work for your creative sensibilities.

6. How do Utility Bills Work?

Some apartments come with all utilities paid for. Most apartments today, however, are progressively moving utilities onto renter’s tabs. Some apartments come with all utilities paid for. Most apartments today, however, are progressively moving utilities onto renter’s tabs.

Know what utilities are provided, which aren’t, and how utilities are tracked within your apartment complex.

Make sure to ask about internet and cable as well. Some apartments include these in their packages, but not all do. Be sure to add the expense you’ll incur to your monthly rent, so you’re financially prepared.

7. What Happens When My Lease is Up?

The last thing you’ll be thinking about when renting a new DC apartment is what will happen when your lease ends. Still, this is among the most important questions to ask when renting an apartment.

The last thing you’ll be thinking about when renting a new DC apartment is what will happen when your lease ends. Still, this is among the most important questions to ask when renting an apartment.

Some apartments allow you to switch over to month-to-month when your lease term is over. Others will raise your rent dramatically, putting you in a position where you either have to move or offer up cash you don’t have.

Understanding how your apartment handles tenants at the end of a lease term before you move in will help you not only plan for the present, but find a place that best supports your future.

Find The Perfect Place for You

Renting an apartment can be an exciting experience. Especially when you’re renting in an area like DC. Renting an apartment can be an exciting experience. Especially when you’re renting in an area like DC.

Don’t let all of this excitement keep you from asking the essential questions. Our recommendation is to compile a list of questions to ask every property manager.

You can start with the questions we suggested above and add anything else you’re curious about. Remember to always take your list with you to apartment viewings and never be too shy to ask away! After all, this will be your home. You deserve all the answers you need.

If you’re looking for lovely and unique apartments in the Washington DC area, our team at DARO Apartments has you covered.

No matter what your taste and style are, we’re confident that the communities we manage will suit your unique sensibilities and provide fantastic value for your dollar.To get started finding your perfect DC apartment home, use our search tool today!

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