Your First Apartment

Signing Your First Lease
It’s a big step – and a big responsibility – putting your name down on this piece of paper commits you to sticking to all the finely printed rules throughout the lease, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Here are some questions you should make sure you have answers to before you make your mark.
Apartment Costs:

How much is the rent?

How much is the security deposit?

Who pays utilities; gas, electric, water, cable, internet, heat?

If you pay any utilities what are the previous tenets costs for these?

How does snow and trash removal work and who pays for it?

Landlord policies:

What are the policies regarding guests?

What are the policies regarding pets? Pet visits?

What are the emergency procedures (like if your heat goes out in February)?

What work is done between rental periods? Which of these costs would I be responsible for?

What responsibility do I have if a roommate refuses to pay rent?

General Questions:

How many parking spaces come with the apartment?

Is parking assigned or shared?

What kind of neighborhood is the apartment located in?

Talk to people who lived in your apartment previously or at least someone who has had the same landlord about their impressions of and relations with the landlord.
Terms you should know:

Security Deposit – an amount of money that you give your landlord in addition to your rent before you move into your apartment, the money will be kept by the landlord until you leave and will be used to pay any overdue rent or repair costs when you move out, the rest will be returned to you.

Landlord – the individual who owns and or operates your building / apartment

Lease- A contract between the owner (leassor) and the tenant (leassee) stating the conditions under which the tenant may occupy or use the property.

Top 3 items for every room in the house

Bed – Now this may seem obvious but those puppy’s are expensive but well worth it!

Desk – Welcome to the world of work – weather you are filling out job applications or writing a thesis trying to focus in the living room while your roommates are watching MTV just isn’t an option.

Poster – And lots of them, the bare wall look just doesn’t work.


Coffee Machine – Preferably one that you can set to have a cup ready when you have to wake up early.

Fire extinguisher – Lets face it, many of us are not yet professional – or even decent – cooks.

Food that isn’t Ramon – Impress dates and stay healthy with some cooking skills, just make sure you have the #2 item on this list first.


Reading Material – We prefer Calvin and Hobbes

Hygienic necessities – Skipping out on floss may seem like an easy way to cut costs but will increase expenditures in the long run.

A lock – Apartments have a way of having too many bedrooms and too few bathrooms, you can see where embarrassing moments might come up.

Living Room:

Tapestries – Again, no bare walls, tapestries are cheap and easy to put up.

Entertainment system – Something to think about when choosing roommates.

Favorite chair – Welcome to the world of roommates it will take some work but stake your claim so you have a place to sit during your favorite show or the game.

Garage / closet:

Outdoor equipment – Living in VT you have got to take advantage of the outdoors

Got a garage? Throw your wheels in there you will thank yourself when your not scrapping ice and brushing snow all winter.

Board games – For those times the power goes out either from natural disaster (snowstorm) or human error (forgot to pay the bill).