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15 Questions You Should Ask On A Student Apartment Tour

By Cristina

Are you thinking about living at a student housing apartment complex near UT Austin?

At Rambler, we help hundreds of students explore their housing options at UT Austin, and understand how stressful the process can be.


Here are some questions you should ask when touring a student housing property! #ut #utaustin #apartment #college #collegeliving #hookem #austin #westcampus

♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K

Read Next: 5 Benefits of Signing an Individual Lease at a West Campus Austin Apartment

For this reason, we have created a list of 15 questions to ask when touring a student housing apartment near the University of Texas at Austin to help you find the perfect home for your lifestyle.

What to Ask Before Signing a Lease at a New Student Housing Development

Interior image of Rambler's living room furniture and finishes

Representative unit interior featuring Rambler’s standard furniture and finishes.

1. What are the specific lease terms? 

Leases are long documents, and their specific terms can be complicated. It is important to know when your lease will begin and end, so be sure to clarify when move-in is and how many months the lease is for. You may also want to inquire about other common lease terms that don’t initially come to mind. Things to look for include:

  • Quiet hours
  • Restrictions on putting holes in the walls (think hanging pictures or installing shelves)
  • Subleasing policy
  • Pet policy
  • Late fee policy
  • Parking accommodations 
  • Additional expenses 

2. What is included in my monthly rental rate?

It is important to note what your apartment complex includes in your monthly rental rate. 

  • Utilities: Typically, utilities will be a separate cost, but at some apartments, it is included in the monthly rental rate. 
  • Water: Water is commonly factored into monthly rental rates, but it is sometimes paid for by the tenant at student housing apartments. 
  • WiFi: WiFi is typically included in the monthly rental rate at most student housing apartment complexes, but this is usually not the case at traditional apartments.
  • Cable: Most student housing apartment complexes in West Campus include cable in your monthly rental rate.
  • Trash: Student housing apartments typically include trash service, but sometimes at an additional cost, so be sure to clarify with your apartment complex.

Read Next: What’s Included in Student Housing Rent in West Campus?

3. How much do utilities cost? 

You will want to ask about which utilities are included in your rental rate each month vs. which ones are paid for separately. By asking how much utilities typically cost, you can factor this into your total budget for living expenses. If the student housing provider is uncertain about utility cost, you can contact your local provider for an estimate.

4. What is your pet policy? 

Girl washing dog in dog spa at Rambler ATX

Pamper your pup at Rambler’s on-site dog spa.

If you already own a pet or think you might want to get one during the period of your lease, you will want to ask about a building’s pet policy while touring your potential future apartment. 

You’ll want to first ask whether or not pets are allowed, then you can get into the details of pet deposits, pet rent, extra cleaning costs, etc. Pet policies vary widely, but most properties charge a non-refundable pet deposit, a monthly pet rent, or both. Finally, you will want to ask if there are restrictions on breeds or types of pets allowed.

5. How do you handle subletting?

Say you want to go home for a month or two to visit family. Or, maybe you have a job offer in another city. You don’t want to lose your apartment or break the terms of your lease if you intend on returning, but nobody wants to pay for a space that they won’t be living in.

If you plan to be away from Austin for a few months, you will want to ask about the apartment’s sublet policy. This should be specified in your lease terms, but it is always best to ask an apartment manager or landlord to clarify. Subletting without permission can lead to legal issues, so be sure that you’re following the terms of your lease. 

Read Next: 7 Tips for Subletting (or Reletting) your Apartment Near UT Austin

6. Do you require renter’s insurance? 

Renter’s insurance is an important aspect to consider during your apartment search. With renter’s insurance, you will have coverage for your apartment in the event of a fire, flood, theft, or other similar incidents. Some rental insurance plans also cover injuries that occur within your apartment. 

While renters insurance is always a good idea to have, some apartments require it. Additionally, some apartments offer rental insurance of their own for a small fee. This may be optional or required, depending on the apartment. When you’re touring, you’ll want to ask whether or not the apartment complex requires rental insurance, as well as whether or not they offer their own plan.

Read Next: A Student’s Guide to Renter’s Insurance

7. How do I pay rent? 

Girl working on laptop at picnic table.

When it comes to paying rent, most management companies will offer you a few options. These can include going online each month to make a payment, utilizing auto-pay, or an old-fashioned check. 

Typically, auto-pay is the best option for college students, since it will help you avoid late fees and give you peace of mind (plus, you won’t have to sign on to pay each month). Regardless of how you’d like to make your payments, be sure you have a clear understanding of where your payment should go, who it’s addressed to, and when it needs to arrive.

8. What happens if I need to break my lease?

While nobody ever plans to break their lease, it’s a good idea to understand the process should you have to do so. 

For example, you will typically have to pay a fee for breaking your lease, plus find a replacement. Sometimes, there is no fee, but you will have to find a replacement nonetheless. Other apartment complexes require a fee, but you do not have to find a replacement. Since the policy varies by the apartment complex, be sure to ask your leasing staff what their policy is.

If you anticipate any upcoming life changes, like studying abroad or graduating early, signing a year-long lease might not be the best choice for you. Make sure you understand the penalties for terminating your lease early before signing.

9. How are repairs handled?

Although everything should be in good condition while touring and upon move-in, it is good to cover the topic of maintenance when touring an apartment. You will want to ask about how emergency repairs are handled, if there’s maintenance available 24/7 or only between specific hours, and what the average response time is. However the process works, you will want to know ahead of time to ensure an efficient, speedy resolution to any maintenance issues.

10. How secure is the property? 

It’s important to understand what security exists in your potential new home. As you’re touring, ask your tour guide to discuss the building’s security features. You will want to know about both inside and external security measures. 

Security measures the complex may have include:

  • A buzzer system
  • 24/7 security
  • Badge or phone entry 

Also, if there’s a parking garage, determine how you will enter the building from it to make sure it is secure. 

Within your apartment, your apartment may have:

  • Deadbolt locks on the front door
  • Individual bedroom door locks
  • Anything else?  

11. How often does rent typically increase, and by how much?

In West Campus, it is common for properties to increase rent each year upon renewal of the lease. These increases aren’t always stated in the rental agreement, so make sure you ask how much you can expect to pay so that you are prepared if you decide you would like to live in the same apartment again after the end of your lease term.

12. Is parking available, and how much does it cost?

If you are bringing a car to school with you, parking will be high on your list of priorities. In West Campus, street parking is hard to find and expensive to pay for, so you will need contract parking for the term of your lease. Renting an apartment that has a parking garage or has one nearby will be necessary.

A parking spot is typically an additional charge, so you will want to ask about any costs associated with parking. In West Campus, you can expect the cost of parking to be between $75 and $300 per month.

Read Next: Ultimate Guide to Parking Near UT Austin

13. Do you have roommate matching? 

Three UT students in gameday clothing sit on a ledge near the main tower at the University of Texas.

Looking to find a roommate? If you have decided that you want a roommate but you don’t have someone in mind, you’re in luck. Many student housing apartments in West Campus Austin offer roommate matching. Through a quick survey provided by student housing apartment complexes, you will be paired with your ideal roommate match. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure to ask if the apartment offers roommate matching when you tour.

Read Next: Roommate Matching at Rambler: What Is It? How Does It Work?

14. What expenses are due upon application, lease signing and move-in? 

On top of your monthly rental rate, most West Campus apartment complexes require an application fee, an admin fee, and a security deposit upon move-in or lease signing.

  • Application Fee: An application fee is generally non-refundable and covers the cost of the background checks to approve your application, including the screening of a guarantor. 
  • Admin Fee: An admin fee is generally a non-refundable, one-time service fee for administration, billing, bill auditing, overhead and similar expenses and charges to be incurred by the apartment complex throughout your lease. This is typically paid upon the signing of your lease.
  • Security Deposit: A security deposit is typically refundable, and will be returned at the end of your lease term so long as there is no damage to the apartment beyond typical wear. Your security deposit is typically due upon move-in, but differs by apartment complex.

Read Next: 10 Additional Costs to Consider When Looking for a Student Apartment Near UT Austin

15. Do I need a guarantor or co-signer?

If you are a full-time student who does not work, or only works part-time, you will likely need a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who co-signs the lease and is responsible for any rent payments that you cannot or do not make. Most Austin landlords do not accept tenants who are undergraduate students unless those tenants have a guarantor, so be sure to ask whether you need a guarantor and how the co-signing process works.

Study area at Rambler ATX

Rambler’s study floor offers spaces for solo or group work.

Touring an apartment is an exciting step in your journey to finding student housing. It is important to be sure to ask questions during this time to ensure that you understand the process and will be getting everything you want out of your future home. Download our apartment tour checklist before you go to help evaluate your options and get the most out of your tour.


For more information on student housing apartments in West Campus, contact the Rambler leasing team, who are happy to answer any questions you may have about leasing an apartment in West Campus.If you’d like to learn more about Rambler, visit our amenities and floor plans pages for more information.


Cristina is the Lease Up Specialist for Rambler. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

June 08, 2022

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