Apartments in Tempe (Help Guide)

Searching for an apartment in Tempe can be a painstaking task. The hunt for the perfect apartment near ASU can take weeks or months.  Knowing what to ask for when searching for an apartment can save you serious trouble down the road.

Start your Tempe apartment hunt by deciding what you can afford with your budget. As a rule of thumb, your rent should only be about 30% of your monthly income, including what you will pay in utilities.

After you have decided what your budget will be, the next step to apartment hunting is to find a perfect location for you. For some, that’s near ASU’s campus, and for others, it’s downtown Tempe. Make sure you stay within your budget, though. If you begin your search by looking for luxurious places in an area with notoriously high rent, you will only be disappointed when you find a place you can actually afford.

Now that you have narrowed your search to apartments in a particular area, you are going to want to tour units of the apartment before you move in.

Before you sign a lease, you should be armed with questions for the landlord. Far too often potential tenants get swept up in the idea of living in a place that they forget to ask some of the most important make-or-break questions.

Being by discussing your lease with the landlord. Here is a checklist of all the things you should discuss about the lease prior to signing.

The Lease:

1. How long is the lease?

Most leases range from 6 months to a year. Landlords generally prefer that you sign a longer lease so that they can ensure that the unit will be filled for at least a year. If you are confident that you will want to live in an apartment for longer than the usual extent of the lease, you can offer to live there for longer as term for negotiation. Always remember, a lease can be negotiated.

2. What initial fees are you required to pay?

While you are already aware of a monthly rental fee, some Tempe apartments require a security deposit or even first and last month’s rent. Be sure to ask about all the fees for renting the apartment. There can even be a fee for applying for the rental. If you have a pet, be sure to inquire about a pet fee as well. Most places charge an initial fee, while other complexes will add an additional fee onto your monthly rent.  

3. What are the repercussions for breaking the lease/subletting the unit?

If you are forced to move out of the apartment before your lease ends, you will want to be aware of the additional fees that may apply when breaking the lease. Some apartments allow you to sublease the unit if you are out of town for an extended period.

4. How do I pay rent?

Some apartment complexes near ASU allow renters to pay rent through an online portal. Be sure to ask about the payment process when signing.

5. Who handles the maintenance of the apartment?

Ask what is covered by maintenance and if there is any apartment security available.

6. Is there a fee for parking?

Many apartment complexes will add an additional fee for parking onto your monthly rent if you so need it. Ask about these fees and if you receive an assigned spot. Also ask about guest parking.

7. Can you decorate your unit?

If you plan on painting your apartment or hanging up anything, as the landlord about their policies regarding decorations.

8. What utilities are you required to pay? How much do they generally run?

Some apartments will include utilities into your monthly rent, while others will require you to set up the utilities. Ask about water, electric, cable, gas and trash.

Aside from the lease, you will want to ask specific question about your actual unit as well. When taking a tour, follow the checklist below to be sure that your unit will be what you expected it to be. We have broken these up by room in the unit so that you don’t miss anything.

Apartment-Specific Questions:

General Unit Questions

1. How close is my unit to parking?

2. How close is the apartment building to the grocery store/gas station?

3. How close is the apartment to public transit?

4. Do I get cellphone reception throughout the apartment?

5. Do the people I see around the apartment complex look like they will mesh well with my lifestyle?

6. Can I fit my couch/boxspring through the door?

7. Is there storage?

8. Are there cable hookups throughout the unit?

9. Is lawn maintenance included?

10. Are there any apartment amenities such as a gym or a pool? Ask to see these.

Bedroom/Living Room Questions

11. Are there enough outlets?

12. Is there enough natural lighting?

13. What is the condition of the flooring?

14. Is there enough closet storage?

15. Will your furniture fit in the space?

Kitchen Questions

16. What appliances are included? Ask about a dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and garbage disposal

17. Are the appliances gas or electric?

18. How old are the appliances?

19. Are the cabinets deep enough to store your dishes?

20. Is there a pantry for food storage?

Bathroom Questions

21. How is the water pressure?

22. Is there a tub and a shower?

23. Is there enough storage?


24. Is a washer and dryer included in the unit or are there hookups for one?

25. If not, is there on-site laundry? Where is it located?

Searching for an apartment in Tempe can seem like a daunting task, but if you ask the right questions, finding the right match for you can be simple.