Joanna Cutaia-Beales
Real Estate Broker

Hamilton Ontario Real Estate Agent

The 5 Questions All Renters Should Ask Before Moving In

Whether you’re striking out on your own for the first time, or you’re downsizing and looking to rent, any good Realtor will tell you that finding the perfect rental property is no easy feat.

As a Renter, there are many things you have to be aware of and look out for that landlords or property management firms may not tell you. Approaching the rental process well equipped with the right knowledge and questions can be key in helping you find, and enjoy, your perfect rental. Below, I’m sharing the top 5 questions I advise any renter to ask!

1. What’s the laundry situation?

You’ve probably come across a building or property that has numerous tenants and yet promises laundry amenities. For example, maybe you’re interested in an apartment in an 80-unit building, and it advertises on-site laundry. One thing to be wary of is whether the laundry amenities are sustainable for that many tenants, and whether the additional cost of laundry access makes sense for you.

If there are only 5-10 washing machines and dryers in that 80 unit building, you may struggle to do laundry or have access to those amenities as you need them. So, as a renter, you should inquire as to what the machine-to-resident ratio is.

2. Who handles damages or unit issues?

One concern many renters have, especially when it comes to renter’s rights, is who takes on the responsibility of damages or unit issues. Let’s say that you rent an apartment and notice water damage on the ceiling in your bathroom; who is responsible for repairing the damage? Is it you, as the renter? Or is it your landlord?

Not all property management or landlord situations are equal, which means you have to be aware prior to signing a rental or leasing agreement who handles damages, specifically those beyond your control.

3. What is the property’s pet policy?

As a pet owner, you’ll likely have questions about a rental’s pet policy, and even if you don’t own a pet, understanding what rights pet owners in the building have will be critical to your living experience.

For example, what types of pets can tenants have, and where are tenants allowed to walk, play with, or let their pets go to the bathroom around the building? You may want to ask whether there is an additional pet fee added to your rent fee, as well. Knowing your restrictions and also being aware of pets in the building will make the rental process go more smoothly, both for pet and non-pet owners alike!

Hot tip: inquire about pet friendly floors in the building; some property management companies only allow tenants to have pets on certain floors!

4. What type of parking is available?

One question you should never forget to ask is whether you’ll have access to both tenant and guest parking. If you own a vehicle, this is doubly important, because some properties don’t actually have any onsite parking! That means you may have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to park nearby, or at a designated parking lot. That could be troublesome during Winter, and if there’s no guest parking, friends and family who come to visit may have difficulty finding other parking.

If you have a vehicle, don’t forget to ask if there’s onsite parking, if you’d be given a spot, and if there is available guest parking. You may also consider asking if the parking is above or below ground!

Hot tip: Make sure you ask about parking fees. Are they included in the monthly rent or are they extra?

5. What is the lease termination policy?

Life happens, and you may need to get out of your lease earlier than expected. Whether due to unforeseen circumstances, or maybe you have a bad neighbour, knowing that the lease termination policy is will help save you lots of hassle down the road! Be sure to ask for additional information on this type of policy and, if you’re about to sign a lease agreement, look closely for any lease termination clauses in the agreement prior to signing!

Joanna Cutaia-Beales