Questions to get answered when met at apartment rental

Hi I have seen a few posts where people have mentioned renting an apartment and asking questions of the person meeting you at the apartment on arrival. I am putting together a list and wondered what people would recommend asking that may not be so obvious. What did you find helpful? Also I was going to ask her to help us reserve a taxi for 2 dates ( one when we have to get to the train and one for our return to the airport) would that be unreasonable?

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
4195 posts

As far as the taxi, where are you staying? I don't know if I would depend on a several-day-old request for a taxi; I might use a car service instead. Or, perhaps you don't even need a taxi...depending on what city, and where in that city, you'll be staying. Questions - how to deal with garbage (recycling, food scraps, glass - what type of bag for each, what day is each type collected, and where are garbage bins located), operation of A/C or heat, wifi (and password), be sure you have all linens/towels for the number of people and beds, make sure refrigerator/freezer is indeed working, perhaps check that kitchen is stocked as advertised, operation of washer/dryer/clothesline, operation of TV/DVD player, operation of any other kitchen applicance - coffee/grinder/blender/espresso or moka machine/stove and oven operation, info on nearby taxi stands, info on nearby food shops (and days/hours of operation), phone number (&/or email) of contact person should you need further help, emergency phone numbers, be sure you have ALL necessary keys (may need apt keys, plus key(s) for main door of apt building) and know how they work (some keys are a bit 'wonky'!). Have a pad and pen for writing down the answers.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2249 posts

The person meeting you at the apartment, whether it's the owner or their rep will answer your questions about the operation of things in the apartment as noted in the above response. Usually they will be very helpful with recommendations for restaurants/clubs, transportation, shops, etc in the area but they aren't like a hotel concierge. They may be able to give you the phone # for taxis so you can call but they wouldn't normally arrange that sort of thing. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask but don't count on it.

Posted by James E.
3661 posts

I rent an apartment to tourists in Budapest. We have tried to put together a document that answers most of the expected questions. Maybe it will give you some ideas of what to ask for wherever it is you are staying. Go to the website below, click on INFO at the top of the page and then look on the right for a downloadable pdf file called "THE GUIDE". As for calling a Taxi, if they do it for you please say thank you, because for concierge service you should really get a hotel room. On the other hand if they say no, they are not very nice people and you probably choose wrongly to stay there. Calling taxis, shopping for late night snacks, and saying good morning to the permanent resident tenants on the stairs in the morning are all among the special experiences of living within the culture and not just being a tourist. Have fun with it. Call for a pizza delivery, it's a blast to try and communicate and they will love you for the efforts (except the French).

Posted by shirley
Toronto, Canada
348 posts

I think all of the questions you need to ask are covered in the previous posts. I second the recommendation to find out exactly how to use the keys at both the main entrance and the door to the apartment. I always ask the greeter to wait while I try out the keys myself and know that I can get in and out without a problem. Sometimes there are digital key pads to enter the maind door - make sure you have the codes. I've managed to lock myself out of a house in Arles by using the extremely old skeleton key lock (which the cleaning lady told me afterwards to never, ever use!) and also once there really was a problem with the keys and the greeter had to call someone to get the keys replaced. Depending on where you are staying, it can be just as easy to ask the person who is checking you out to call a taxi at that moment. I've never had someone refuse to help me that way. Depending on where you are (Paris for example or Florence Italy) the taxi dispatch will be able to take your call in English.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8948 posts

Diane where are you staying and which train station are you going to.. I personally would not ask greeter to call me a taxi, they may forget its not their job, then what you are you going to do just wait and wait and they don't show up.
You can call taxi yourself if there is phone in unit (is there) . Look up number for G7 , they speak English and are a reputable taxi company. Call night before for airport taxi. Be at airport 3 hours in advance for flight home, and drive takes about 35-40 minutes so figure that into your timing . Depending on where you are there could be a good taxi stand nearby .. Also , as I said, a lot depends on where you are staying, you could walk or take bus to station and RER to airport.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
905 posts

We have rented several where we had no "greeter"; just instructions for entry, then written instructions in the rental. The most imnportant thing is a number for the local contact person. I would also add to the list; location of the circuit breaker/breakers. I am assuming that you have alredy verified the actusl floor it is on, and if there is an operating elevator. (remember the "1st floor" is actualy the 2nd floor in most of the EU.) I am also assuming that you have received the actual address and that you have Google Street Mapped the area, have "walked" up and down the local streets looking at restaurants, stores, etc, and have mapped the route from the airport to the rental.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1393 posts

Eileen gave you a good list of things to check out. For us, most important would be making sure you know how the keys and appliances work. We've had adventures with English ovens and washer-dryers, and French bathtubs. Most apartments will have a notebook or folder with such information, but it may not be totally clear and you learn that when you try to use it. You should have a contact person's phone number. Apartment owners want you to know how to work their gadgets so you don't break them or burn down the place or misplace the trash or complicate their lives otherwise. Often you'll get recommendations for restaurants, grocery stores, laundromats, etc. They can be very helpful but you can find these things yourself if necessary (and certainly you should explore). More important is how things work in the apartment. I wouldn't ask a greeter to call a taxi, especially for days ahead. It really isn't their job and you don't wnat to depend on their remembering. Maybe the person who checks you out (if anyone) can help if you need it, but an apartment isn't a hotel. You trade that kind of personal service for the extra space, kitchen, and other conveniences of the apartment. Your making a list shows more forethought than most travelers have (including me). But expect the unexpected too. Have fun!

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
4195 posts

I want to add - try to find out exactly where your apt bldg is! Our rental in Rome was located in a maze of bldgs, so we couldn't locate it on Google Streetview. It took some wandering around to run into it :-P (luckily, I recognized the name on the doorbell list from my apt info printouts; whew)! That was fortuitous, since we needed to ring the doorbell to be let into the bldg by our greeter. Soooo...arrive earlier than your appt time, if possible! As has been pointed out, you may be met by the owner, a greeter from a professional property mgmt company, a native-language cleaning person or no one at all. Your rental info should tell you who to expect.