Questions to Ask the Landlord

Questions to Ask the Landlord


  • What is the amount and when is it due?
  • Is there a penalty for late payments?
  • Does rent include utilities?
  • Can rent be increased? Under what terms?
  • To whom is rent paid?
  • Who is responsible if your roommate does not pay his rent?
  • Is there a charge for overnight guests?

Terms of Conduct

  • When can you move in?
  • How much notice is required to extend or cancel the lease?
  • Under what conditions, if any, can you break the contract without penalty?


  • What is the amount and what is it for?
  • Conditions for refund?
  • Date of return?


  • Are inventory and inspection forms to be completed before you move in?
  • How are damages assessed?
  • Who is responsible for repairs?
  • Are painting, refinishing, picture hanging, and other alterations permitted?


  • Are parking, cooking facilities, laundry facilities, area security guard, cleaning equipment, periodic bug exterminations included?


  • When, by whom, and how much notice?


  • Rules about noise, overnight guests, pets, parties? Limitations on electrical appliances?

Change in Occupancy

  • If the landlord rents to a group of students, what happens if one person in the group wishes to leave?
  • Who is then responsible for rent?
  • Who is responsible for damage?
  • What about a replacement tenant?
  • If a student withdraws from college, is he permitted to remain as a tenant?

Number of Occupants

  • What is the maximum, minimum?

Length of Occupancy

  • How long? (recommend per semester unless the person leaves school)


  • Is it permitted? Under what conditions? (Be sure to get names and addresses)

Giving Notice

  • How much time is required (both parties)? (Recommend in writing to the other party on or before the day that the rent is usually due and then the termination of occupancy to be effective at the end of the rental period. Thirty days if rent is monthly, seven days if rent is weekly.)


  • May tenants have them? Overnight?
  • Is there a place available for entertaining?
  • What conditions?


  • Are they allowed? Under what conditions?

Laundry Facilities

  • Are they available?
  • May tenants install their own?
  • Clothes drying restrictions?


  • What is not permitted?
  • Conditions for refund?
  • Date of return?


  • Where?
  • Limitations?
  • Extra Cost?

Admittedly there are a lot of things to consider, but take your time, and you’ll be glad you did if problems arise.

If still uncertain about your lease or contract...
Although the Off-Campus Housing Office cannot provide legal interpretations, we can help you understand the terminology of a lease, refer you to legal services, and suggest modifications in your lease or contract if appropriate and desirable. So if you are still lost after reading this, bring in a copy of your lease before you sign it, and we’ll look it over. If you encounter problems: You will help your fellow students if you let the Off-Campus Housing Office know the place, the property owner, what the problem was, and when it happened (in writing). Only with evidence such as this can we refuse to list a facility or property owner.