Besides price and size, what other questions would you ask a landlord before renting an apartment?
“live out of a suitcase” = travel a lot from place to place and not settle down
“I’m really tired of living out of a suitcase, so I’ve decided to find a different job where I can live in one place.”
“dirt cheap” = very inexpensive
“Rent for apartments near campus is dirt cheap during the summer months because there isn’t a high demand for housing.”
Listen to the recording and answer the questions.
Apartment Owner: Hello.
Caller: Hi. I’m calling about the ad for the apartment found in today’s newspaper.
Apartment Owner: Okay.
Caller: I’m kind of desperate, and I need something right away.
Apartment Owner: Okay. What would you like to know?
Caller: First of all, how big is it?
Apartment Owner: It’s a two-bedroom apartment with a living room, dining room and kitchen, and one bathroom. There’s also a place for a washer and dryer.
Caller: Okay, and how old is the apartment complex?
Apartment Owner: Well, let’s just say it has a lot of history. To be honest, my great grandfather built it during the 1920s, but it’s a very sturdy and sound structure.
Caller: Oh, and . . . so, is the apartment furnished at all?
Apartment Owner: Oh, yeah. The apartment is partially furnished with a refrigerator, stove, and my grandmother’s old dishwasher.
Caller: Your grandmother’s old dishwasher? Okay. What’s the rent?
Apartment Owner: It’s $950 a month.
Caller: Whoa. That is a little steep for me.
Apartment Owner: But you could always split the cost with a roommate.
Caller: Perhaps. Does that include utilities?
Apartment Owner: Well, the rent includes gas and electricity, but not the phone bill. And the water pump is right out the back door.
Caller: Water pump! [Yeah.] Oh, yeah. Well, can I rent month-to-month, or do I have to sign a lease for a longer period of time?
Apartment Owner: We require a 6-month commitment for the apartment, and if you cancel the agreement anytime during that period, hey . . . you lose your deposit.
Caller: Oh, and how much is the deposit?
Apartment Owner: It’s $400, and, of course, this money is used to repair damage or general wear and tear on our apartment, like the leaks in the old roof from last year’s snowstorm. Man, that was ugly. Plaster falling down from the ceiling. And I didn’t even know there was a rat’s nest up there, but we got that taken care of.
Caller: A what? Do I get my deposit back after I move out? That’s assuming that I even move in.
Apartment Owner: Generally speaking, we return the deposit, minus a small fee for, you know, cleaning the apartment for the next tenant, but if you trash the place, then don’t expect to get anything back.
Caller: Okay. Oh, um . . . how close is the apartment to the university campus?
Apartment Owner: It’s about eight blocks from campus, but you can catch a number of buses right out in front.
Caller: Oh, so, then, if there’s a busy road out front, is it noisy?
Apartment Owner: Well, there are always trade-offs: it’s a little noisy with the road outside and the airport behind you, but the place is really convenient because there’s a supermarket and shopping center right across the street. Just keep the windows closed and a pair of ear plugs handy, and you’ll be fine.
Caller: Okay, and one last question. Are there parking spaces for tenants?
Apartment Owner: Yeah. The apartment has two covered parking spaces, which are really convenient during certain times of the year.
Caller: Uh . . . I don’t know. Is it possible for me to drop by and visit the apartment tomorrow morning?
Apartment Owner: Sure, but just remember we rent the apartment on a first-come, first-serve basis, so there’s no guarantee it’ll still be available then.
Caller: Okay. Thanks. Um . . . and where exactly is the apartment located?
Apartment Owner: It’s one block west of the wastewater treatment plant.
Caller: Ah . . . . Are pets allowed?
Apartment Owner: Well, you can keep small pets like a hamster in a small cage, but we don’t allow larger animals like dogs, cats, or snakes. Things like that.
Caller: Um, I have a rat . . .
Apartment Owner: You don’t have anything like that, do you?
Caller: Well, I have a rat that I keep in a cage. Will that be okay?
Apartment Owner: Well, as long it doesn’t escape, I guess that’s okay.
Caller: And what’s your name?
Apartment Owner: It’s Norman. Norman Bates.
Caller: Alright, Mr. Bates. I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.
Apartment Owner: Bye.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences
- furnished (adjective): having furniture in a living area such as an apartment
– Our first apartment wasn’t furnished with any appliances, so we had to buy them.
- steep (adjective): expensive
– The rent for the condo we looked at this morning was a little steep, so we decided to look for something else instead.
- split (verb): divide and share something
– The rent for housing near campus was a little steeper than I expected, so I decided to find a roommate to split the costs.
- utilities (noun): services such as electricity, gas, and water
– I’m looking for a place where the utilities are included in the cost of the rent.
- lease (noun): a legal agreement giving permission to use something for a specific period of time
– Be sure to read carefully the terms of the lease before you sign it because you will be bound to the agreement.
- deposit (noun): money given as security to use something temporarily
– Don’t expect to get your deposit back when you move out if you haven’t taken good care of the place.
- wear and tear (noun): the amount of expected damage of something from normal use
– A certain amount of wear and tear is pretty normal when renting an apartment.
- tenant (noun): someone who rents a house or an apartment
– The tenant next door always holds wild parties on the weekends, and I never can get any sleep.
- trash (verb): destroy something through carelessness
– My roommate trashed our place while I was gone on vacation.
- trade-off (noun): a balance or exchange between options requiring compromise
– There is often a trade-off between living on campus and renting an apartment off campus.