"Is there parking?"
If you have a car at school with you, this answer is imperative. Especially in Morgantown, parking is one of the hardest things to come by, making this one of the most important things to ask about before signing a lease. You don’t want it to be move in day and realize there is no place to park. If parking is offered at your new home, be sure to find out whether or not there is an additional fee for it, as well.
"Are utilities included in my rent?"
Many times for apartments or houses off-campus at West Virginia University, students have to pay for utilities on top of monthly rent. Before signing a lease, it is crucial you find out whether or not utilities are included. How bad would it be if one month into school, the electricity turned off because you didn’t know you had to pay the electric bill? Also, clarify if all or just some utilities are included.
"Are there any known issues or damages to the apartment?"
The home you want to live in may be beautiful, but what if the toilet won’t flush or the bathtub doesn’t drain? You should always ask the landlord if there are any known physical problems or maintenance issues and, more importantly, check for yourself. Landlords might not be upfront, so you don’t want to be held accountable for someone else’s handiwork. Also, ask about who takes care of maintenance and how to get in contact.
"What are my leasing options?"
Living on your own in college can be expensive, so sometimes it’s necessary to have roommates. Before you or your potential roommates sign the lease, ask if each person has his or her own lease, or a "by the bed" lease. You don’t want to lose your house halfway through the semester because one of your roommates can’t afford their share of the rent. Many places offer separate leases for each resident, ensuring your roommates’ mistakes won’t affect you.
"What are my transportation options within walking distance?"
Whether it’s walking, driving or taking a shuttle to class, you should always consider how far away campus is from your new home and how you will get around. Morgantown has a number of hills, so make sure there is an easy way to navigate to and from classes. Especially if you don’t have a car, transportation like shuttles, buses and the PRT can be crucial to travelling not just to class but to the grocery store, the bar or anything else in town you’re interested in.
"How can I decorate?"
People like to express themselves artistically and make their rooms their own, and many times, this may mean hanging photos or posters. But some landlords and apartment complexes are stricter than others with decoration policies.
Ask what you’re allowed to physically do to your new living space before making any style choices. Wouldn’t it be terrible if you lost your security deposit because of one nail in the wall? Be wary of "redecoration fees" landlords could be charging on top of security deposits, and if there is prior damage to walls or carpets, document it with a photo and show your landlord to avoid being charged when you move out.
"Is there a laundry unit?"
You might not particularly enjoy laundry, but it’s necessary to consider if there’s a washer and dryer in, or near by, your new home. If these features are not inside your house or apartment, ask where they’re located and how much it costs to use them. If you live in a communal apartment, check to see if the machines are free or coin-operated, and if they’re functional.
"Can I bring my pet with me?"
College is a time to gain responsibility. For some, this may mean adopting a pet and learning to take care of an animal. Whether you have one now or might want one in the future, you should ask whether or not pets are allowed. If pets are allowed, be sure to see it in the lease and find out if there is an additional fee for the pet to live in the house or for further damage. Also check restrictions on pets. Some landlords will allow certain dogs under a specific weight or may ban select breeds.
"What is the guest policy?"
WVU is a school many students are proud of and want to show it off to their family and friends, which means lots of guests. However, sometimes landlords have a policy in their lease prohibiting guests from staying overnight or for a period of time. Find out the guest policy before you sign if you think you might have friends over for a visit, or you might end up leaving some loved ones stranded. Also, check if guest parking is available for visitors or if special arrangements must be made with your
"What is the policy on breaking my lease?"
College isn’t for everyone, and family issues aren’t planned, so what happens if, after one semester, you need to move back home, drop out of school or take some time off? Before signing your new lease, ask about the terms and conditions of breaking it for any reason. Find out how much notice is required, how much you’d have to pay or if you’d be forced to find a new tenant for subleasing.