Renting 101

This is a list of potential questions you need to consider when you are looking for a place. Pay attention to the details and take your time to look around. Don’t necessarily commit to the first place you see. 


  • How long will it take to get to campus? Is the path to campus well-lit and maintained?
  • Is it close to the bus route?
  • Are the grocery store, pharmacy & other amenities close by?


  • Do you feel comfortable with the neighbourhood? Would you be comfortable walking alone when it gets dark?
  • Do the trees branches around the unit obstruct your view, or could they hide someone?
  • Are there locks on all doors (including bedroom doors and bathroom doors)? What about peepholes?
  • Can the windows be locked? Are the windows properly sealed with storm windows & screens?
  • Is the entrance well-lit? 
  • Are the fire escape exits easily accessible?
  • Where are the smoke detectors and do they work?
  • Where are the fire extinguishers? Was it checked within the past year?
  • Where are the carbon monoxide detectors and do they work?
  • Where is the fuse box? Is it located in your unit? Can you get to it easily?
  • Is there good water pressure in the bathroom and kitchen?
  • Are the faucets and toilets in good condition?

In case of emergency, call 911.


  • Is there parking available? Is there a cost or is it included?
  • Is the unit furnished? Is any furniture included?
  • Are appliances included? (i.e., air conditioners, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, kitchen stoves, microwave ovens, and induction cooker water heaters, washing machines, trash compactors, clothes dryers).
  • Is there extra storage space available?
  • Who is responsible for shoveling snow & mowing the lawn?
  • Are there laundry facilities available? Are they coin operated or included? If there are no laundry facilitues available, is there a laundromat nearby? 
  • Are the bathrooms/kitchen/living area shared?


  • What is rent? Are utilities (heat, light, hot water, cable/internet) included with rent? If not, ask current/previous tenants for estimates of monthly utility bills. See the  section for more information.
  • Are you required to put down a security/damage deposit? See the   for more information.


  • Is the unit clean, spacious, & well maintained?
  • Is there any evidence of mildew, ceiling & wall cracks, or rodents/cockroaches?
  • Who controls heating & air conditioning?
  •  Is there a working thermostat to control heat in your unit?
  • What type of heating method is used? Oil furnace or electricity? If you are renting an apartment in a building heated with an oil furnace, the heat is usually included in your rent. Make sure to get in in the writing! See the   section for more information.
  • Are the appliances (stove, oven, fridge) in working order?
  • Is the plumbing reliable? How is the water pressure? How big is the hot water heater?
  • Who do I call for repairs? 


  • Can you paint or decorate your unit/room?
  • Is smoking and/or vaping allowed inside?
  • Are pets allowed in the unit?
  • When is garbage & recycling collected?


  • Do you have your landlord’s contact information (phone number and mailing address)?
  • Is the rental unit licensed? If not, does it need one? (Note: if the unit needs a license but does not have one, the landlord is not allowed to rent the unit, & city officials can evict you)
  • Has the landlord promised to clean/paint or repair the unit before you move in? If so, get it in the writing. See the  section for more information.

This checklist is intended as a reference only. Memorial University does not warrant its application.