Commuter Student Services

Questions to Ask Your Property Manager/Landlord/Owner



What is the monthly rent?
Is there a penalty for late payment?
Does the unit come furnished?
Does the rent include utilities?
Are pets allowed? 
How much are the average utility bills?
How much is the security deposit?
How can I be assured of getting my entire security deposit back?
Are appliances gas or electric?
Does the hot water stay hot?  Gallon capacity?
Are laundry facilities nearby?
Are grocery stores nearby?
Does the UT Shuttle Bus or the TARTA bus stop nearby? 
Is the landlord and/or maintenance available on weekends for urgent repairs?
Can the unit be sublet?  What are the procedures for this?
Is parking easily available?  Is there an extra charge?  
Are repairs made on a timely basis?
Are there problems with bugs?
Is snow removal provided in the winter?
Is lawn care provided?
How secure is the facility?  Do the doors have deadbolt locks?
Have the locks been changed since the last tenant moved out?
Is security provided? 
Is there adequate outdoor lighting?

THE LEASE

The lease is a legal contract between you and the property owners. 

It may be written or oral. 

It is always best to get it in writing. 

The written lease provides the most protection for both parties. 

It prevents changes in rental agreements for the length of the lease. 

BE SURE to read the lease before you sign it. 

Once you sign, you’re responsible for upholding the terms of the lease. 

If you would like changes made to the lease, discuss them. 

Changes should be made and initialed by both parties on all copies.

The lease should include:  beginning and end dates, amount of rent, due dates and penalty charges for late payments, security deposit cost & what it covers, furniture and/or appliances included; procedures for subletting; who’s responsible for yard upkeep, shoveling snow, etc.; who pays which utilities.

Other guidelines:

•If you're signing a 1-year lease, that may mean a school year to you, but 12-months to the landlord.  Ask if a 9- or 10-month lease is available?

•Read the lease carefully.  Be certain all blanks are filled in or crossed out and initialed before you sign.

•If there's anything you don't understand, ask.  Contact Student Legal Services, your attorney or someone knowledgeable in this area.

•Find out what kind of notice is required before you move out.  Many leases require 30-days written notice before you move out, even if your lease is expiring.  Failure to provide this notice may result in your being charged for an additional month's rent.  Find out how you can renew your lease if you choose. 

•Be certain you receive a copy of the completed, signed lease.

•BEFORE MOVING IN, go through the rental with a move-in checklist.  Note any damage (chipped tile, cigarette burns, hole in wall, defective light switch).  Take pictures or a video of damaged property.  Keep a copy, give the landlord a copy. On move-out, you will be charged for any damages so be sure to note the ones that were there before you..
Last Updated: 4/10/15