BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Anyone on the lookout for an apartment in Baton Rouge has dozens of complexes to chose from.

That said, rental fees are going up.

According to Rent Cafe, Baton Rouge’s average rent cost is approximately $1,169 for a 840 sq. ft. dwelling.

Though this is higher than what capital area residents have been used to paying in previous years, it’s still well below the national average rent cost, which is approximately $1,770 for a one-bedroom dwelling.

So, cost will likely be a huge factor for the average consumer. But there are other questions to consider before renting an apartment.

Experts suggest speaking with landlords or property managers regarding the four questions below before committing to a lease:

1/ Does this apartment have any pest problems?

A number of apartments in the capital area are near bodies of water. While lakes make for picturesque scenery, if an apartment is near a body of water, this may mean dealing with an overabundance of critters and pests that are attracted to water.

This can also be the case if the apartment is in an older-building or a pet-friendly complex.

So, before moving in, ask if there is a pest problem and whether or not pest control is covered by your rent. Typically, apartments are automatically treated for pests each month and this service is covered by the rental fee.

2/ How do I pay rent? And is renter’s insurance required?

Most complexes have an online option for paying rent, but it may include a convenience fee. So, it’s best to ask how this works and how much the convenience fee is. The answers to these questions may lead you to opt on paying by check or money order.

When it comes to renter’s insurance, adds, “Whether it’s required or not, every renter should have renters insurance because it protects you from events out of your control. That being said, you may still want to ask your landlord if it’s required in the lease and make sure that your renters insurance plan is in compliance with the lease.”

3/ What’s the parking situation?

If you’re concerned about security, the answer to this question may be a deal breaker.

Apartment List advises, “Find out if the new apartment comes with parking and what the cost is. Parking could be included in the rent but is usually an additional cost. Depending on where you live, there may be options for covered parking spots, which are typically more expensive than a non-covered spot. Also, look for apartments with secured, gated garages and assigned spots. This will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.”

4/ Can I sublet the apartment? If not, what’s the penalty for breaking my lease?

This question is key because if there’s anything we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, it’s that a person’s financial situation can change very quickly.

So, should a situation occur that impedes your ability to continue covering the cost of rental fees, you may need to either sublet your apartment or break your lease.

In this regard, says, “Some apartment communities are against subletting, and it could be a serious breach of contract. Make sure you can afford penalties for breaking your lease because you never know what could happen.”

If subletting is not allowed and you know you won’t be able to afford the penalty for breaking your lease, then this particular apartment may not be the best fit for you.

When discussing the three concerns listed above with a potential landlord, you might want to both email your questions and converse about them in person.

By emailing the questions and receiving a reply, you’re keeping a record of the exchange that includes the landlord’s answers. This may come in handy should you need to address a discrepancy.

CLICK HERE for more suggested questions to ask before renting an apartment.