Renting an apartment is not that difficult, as long as you approach it carefully. After all, you are shopping for a place to live, and you should be sure that you will fit right in, enjoy yourself, and be aware of all the rules in place.

How can you make sure an apartment will be right for you before you sign your lease? The best way to understand about your apartments for rent is by asking questions, of course.

Here are 10 questions to ask before renting an apartment:

Question #1: How and when do I pay my rent?

Rent payment should be the first question you ask before renting an apartment. You need to know how much is the rent, but you also have to know how, and when you should pay it. Is the rent due on the day you move in, or always on the first of the month?

Some landlords only accept checks, while others accept electronic payments. You should also ask if a security deposit is necessary, and if you will be charged late fees if you don’t pay in time.

Question #2: What is included in the rental cost?

It’s also important to ask which amenities are included in the rental cost. Is the electricity included, or will you have to pay a separate bill? What about water, gas, laundry, and parking?

If you are hesitating between different apartments, knowing which amenities are included and which ones aren’t could help you make your choice.

Question #3: Where will I park my car?

If you own a car, or if you are thinking about buying one soon, you need to know where you will park it, and if it will cost you an extra fee. Will you have a reserved parking space? If so, is it safe?

If no parking space is provided, what are the alternatives? It’s important to know in advance, as you wouldn’t want to move into an apartment that offers no parking options besides trying to find a free spot in the surrounding streets.

Question #4: How much time will I have to give notice before moving out?

It’s also helpful to know how long you will have to give notice before moving out. If you fail to warn your landlord in time, you could lose your security deposit, or risk seeing your lease renew automatically.

While you’re at it, you should also ask about the lease renewal terms. Do you have to renew one year at a time, or could you go month-to-month?

Question #5: Am I allowed to sublet the apartment?

It can be hard to predict where life will take you in a few months. You should make sure you know whether you are allowed to sublet the apartment if ever you need to move before the end of your lease.

If the landlord tells you it’s possible to sublet your apartment, you could ask more about how it works if ever it becomes necessary.

Question #6: What is the penalty if ever I break my lease?

If subletting is not an option, you should at least have an idea of what the penalty for breaking your lease would be. Would you simply lose your security deposit? Would you have to pay a penalty fee? If so, how much?

Even if you don’t plan on moving out before your lease is up, it can be useful to know what would happen if ever you changed your mind.

Question #7: Who should I call if there is an emergency?

It’s also extremely important to know who you should call in case of emergency. If ever you need someone to come repair a burst pipe in the middle of the night, should you contact your landlord, or one of their employees?

Ask for the necessary contact information, and keep it in a place where you won’t have to search for it when you need it in a hurry.

Question #8: Can I paint the walls of my apartment or make other changes?

Some landlords don’t want their tenants to paint the walls of their apartment or to hang pictures on them. Others don’t mind, as long as the apartment is in good shape when the tenants move out.

If you would like to personalise your living space, make sure you ask if you have the right to, or if it could cost you your security deposit.

Question #9: Do you have any plans to update the apartment building soon?

You should also ask the landlord if any improvements to the apartment or to the building are planned soon.

If it’s the case, you might have to deal with unpleasant construction noises for some time. On the other hand, updates could make your new living space even more enjoyable after they are completed.

Question #10: Are there any policies I should know about?

Finally, ask if there are any policies you should know about. Will the landlord give you notice before entering your apartment? Will you be required to secure renter’s insurance? Will you be allowed to have guests? What about pets?

Knowing about the policies in place before you sign your lease could save you some trouble in the future, so make sure you ask the landlord to tell you everything you need to know.