Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions? We’ve got answers! Take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions below.
What kind of apartment tours are currently available?
Essex offers several convenient virtual and contactless apartment tours for prospective renters to best suit your schedule and comfort level. Tours are available by appointment only and can be reserved through our website Book a Tour feature, website chat function available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST, or by calling or emailing the community directly.
360-degree online tours allow you to explore properties and floorplans for a completely virtual experience. Every one of our nearly 250 apartment communities along the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle includes a 360-degree tour option easily accessible from the floor plans and pricing page. This feature allows you to select the specific unit and amenities you’re interested in and provides a 3D-tour experience you can access from your phone, tablet or computer.
Virtual tours offer a hybrid experience of a remote walkthrough, while incorporating a touch of personalization by putting you directly in touch with one of our friendly leasing agents. If this is your first-time meeting on a virtual platform, you can choose from Zoom, Google Meet or FaceTime virtual apartment tours when you make your appointment.
Self-guided tours are available if you would like to see the apartment in person. Although our leasing agent won’t be able to join you on your tour, you’ll be able to see your new home in person and walk the community at your own pace. Self-guided tours are limited to a two-person maximum and each of our apartments are sanitized after the tour.
Are there options for touring if I am relocating from another area or live out of state?
If you are relocating or moving from out of state, visiting a community in person may be out of the question. In this case, Essex offers 360-degree virtual tours and interactive site maps to view the overall community layout, pricing and leasing information on available units, and online and virtual apartment touring options to help you find the apartment that best suits your needs. When you are ready to sign a lease, you can use our quick-and-easy online leasing tool to secure your new home.
What should I expect during a self-guided tour?
If an in-person showing is still your top choice when it comes to apartment tours, then scheduling a self-guided tour is the right option for you. Although our leasing agent won’t be able to join you on your tour, you’ll be able to see your new home in person and walk the community at your own pace.
Self-guided tours are available by appointment only and can be reserved through our website Book a Tour feature, website chat function available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST, or by calling or emailing the community directly. When you arrive at the leasing office, our team will have a map with specific units set aside for you to tour, along with any other information you may need to navigate the community. Whether you're interested in viewing a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartment, they will tailor your tour to highlight what interests you most.
Will I be able to see the community amenities during my self-guided tour?
While some on-site amenities may be closed due to current county and state regulations, amenities that are currently open will be available for you to tour. We encourage you to visit the community’s website to browse our photo gallery or to take a virtual tour of any amenities that may be unavailable.
Where do I park when I arrive for my self-guided tour?
Detailed information on your self-guided tour, including where to park and the available unit you will be viewing, will be provided ahead of time or upon arrival. A map of the community will also be provided to you. If you have questions when you arrive, please call your leasing agent for additional details.
What type of apartment types and floor plans do you offer?
Our nearly 250 apartment communities located in some of the most desired locations along the West Coast offer a variety of home sizes and floor plans for you to choose from. From smaller floor plans like studios and one-bedroom apartments to more spacious two- and three-bedroom floor plans and townhomes, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for you. Many communities offer apartments with a den or loft for additional space, and select communities offer luxury penthouse apartments.
For more information about apartment options and availability, visit the Floor Plans and Pricing tab on your desired community’s landing page.
What documents will I need to get the leasing process started?
To start the leasing process and ensure your application information is complete, you may be required to present the following:
- A valid driver's license or government-issued ID for each applicant
- Proof of income document such as a current bank statement, W-2 form, pay stubs, receipts of government income, receipts of retirement, or investment incomes
- Payment for application and administrative fees, as well as applicable security deposit fees to secure your apartment
Additional information on required documentation can be found on the Leasing Info tab on each community’s page on our website.
What is a guarantor? When do you need one? Why?
Depending on your credit history and current credit score, you may need a guarantor to qualify for an apartment. A guarantor is similar to a co-signer. They will not be listed on your lease agreement, but this individual agrees to take responsibility for your rent payments if you are unable to uphold the financial terms of your lease.
To qualify for a lease, a guarantor must show income verifying assets equivalent to four times your base rent. Additionally, they will be required to present similar lease documents such as valid ID, proof of income, and payment for up-front application fees.
If I am moving in with a roommate, will I only be responsible for half of the rent?
If you are renting an apartment with a roommate or members of your household, every individual over the age of 18 will be required to be listed on the lease. Essex is not responsible for determining who pays your monthly rent payments or how payments are submitted. Multiple occupants can submit separate payments through our online resident portal, by mailing separate checks, paying by cash or cashier’s check through our walk-in payment program, or a combination of all payment options.
Rent is due in full on the first of every month regardless of whether you submit one payment or multiple combined payments.
Do I need to have renters insurance to secure my new apartment?
Yes. Proof of renters insurance must be provided to your leasing agent prior to your move-in date. For specific information, including required coverage amounts for your community, we encourage you to contact your leasing agent.
Where can I obtain renters insurance?
Essex partners with eRenterPlan to provide residents with affordable renters insurance to help cover unplanned costs for emergencies caused by accidents, fire, water damage, smoke damage, theft from a break in, or a visitor’s injury. Policies can start between $12-$15/month depending on the coverage you’ve selected and location of the property. You can conveniently apply for an eRenterPlan during your application process.
How old do I have to be to rent an apartment?
You must be at least 18 years of age to rent an apartment. Any occupants over the age of 18 are required to be pre-screened and added to the lease agreement, regardless of whether they will be paying rent.
Will you run a credit check during my application process?
Yes. As part of the application process, our leasing agent will run a report to obtain your credit score. Your current credit score may alert the management team if there are any red flags such as bankruptcy, overdue credit card bills, outstanding loans, and other financial items. Your FICO credit score and credit report from the main credit bureaus of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will assist our management team with deciding if your score is high enough to qualify for the apartment home you are looking to rent.
What should I expect to budget for average monthly utility costs?
Monthly utility costs include separate charges for electricity, gas, water, sewer and trash. If you choose to add Internet and cable, this will be an additional charge you will want to budget for.
Average monthly utility bills can vary based on two factors: the square footage breakdown of your apartment and the number of people who live in your apartment. Additionally, your costs will depend on how much you use your appliances and the amount of time you spend in your apartment home. Monthly costs can range from $50 - $100 for electricity, $20 -$35 for gas, $50 - $100 for water, trash and sewer, and $80 - $120 for Internet, cable and streaming services.
What is a holding deposit, and is it refundable?
A holding deposit is typically required during your application process to reserve or put a hold on the apartment home you are interested in. When a holding deposit is submitted, this takes the apartment off the market, making it temporarily unavailable for other potential residents. A holding deposit can be refunded within 24 hours if you choose to release the apartment you have on hold or if your application is denied. If you sign a lease on the apartment you reserved, your holding deposit fee will be applied to your security deposit.
Is a security deposit required?
Yes. A security deposit is required when you sign your lease. Security deposit amounts vary by floor plan and community. Please click the Leasing Info tab on the specific community’s webpage to view current security deposit amounts.
Security deposits may be eligible for a refund or partial refund upon move out, depending on the condition of your home and any final utilities and fees charged. Additional fees are charged at move out as a result of any work required to return your home to its original condition are first covered by your security deposit.
Do you have any pet policies I need to be aware of?
Pets are welcome at many of our Essex communities and pet policies may vary by property. A community’s pet policy will outline the number of pets you can have in your apartment home, pet security deposits, and any additional monthly fees. Please click the Leasing Info tab on the specific community webpage to view additional details about their pet policy.
Unfortunately, the following breeds/crossbreeds of dogs are not allowed at Essex communities: Alaskan Malamutes, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Akita, Bullmastiff, Mastiff, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire terriers, American terriers, bull terriers, and wolf hybrids. These restrictions are subject to change without notice.
What documentation is needed for my ESA (emotional support animal)?
Emotional Support Animals or Accommodation Animals, including assistive or companion animals, are welcome at most Essex apartment communities. Please reach out to your leasing team to discuss what documentation is needed.
Do you offer furnished housing?
While we do not offer furnished apartment homes, Essex has partnered with Fernish, a premium furniture rental company for modern-day living. Fernish offers Essex residents the opportunity to rent premium furniture and décor for a short-term period, or for as long as they need, with minimal up-front costs and low monthly payments. The Fernish team will deliver, assemble and arrange your furniture in your new apartment for free within seven days of move in. Plus, Essex residents receive $75 off their first order.
Do you offer corporate housing programs or short-term rentals?
Essex partners with select providers to offer corporate housing programs for residents who may be relocating for work or in need of an apartment for an extended stay. Month-to-month and short-term lease options may be available depending on the community and apartment you are interested in. We recommend contacting the community directly to find out more about pricing and current leasing offers for short-term rentals or to learn more about available corporate housing programs.
What is 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee program?
We offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee with any leased apartment. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your new home, we’ll help you transfer to a comparable home within the same community, or you can choose to break your lease penalty-free within the first 30 days of move-in. Some restrictions may apply.
What customization can be done to my apartment?
We want you to feel at home in your new apartment! However, it is important to know that any major customization as it relates to paint, installations, or wall-hangings could impact your security deposit refund and add up to additional fees at move-out to return the apartment to its original condition.
Customizing your apartment doesn’t have to be extravagant. A simple way to customize your apartment is to take advantage of our Essex White to Wow program, which is available at select communities. With this program, you can add one or more accent walls to your home from one of 12 select colors. There are four color palettes to inspire you, including Cool-Downs, Boho-Chic, Shades of Gray, and The Neutrals-Pastels. Contact your leasing agent for complete details and pricing.
Do any Essex communities offer luxury penthouse apartments?
Five Essex communities offer luxury penthouse apartments with breathtaking views, upscale interior design appointments, rich amenities, and a coveted lifestyle. Soak in top-floor panoramas of the city and bay at 500 Folsom in San Francisco, enjoy scenic mountain views at 360 Residences and Century Towers amidst the buzz of Silicon Valley in San Jose, or take in views of Lake Merrit and downtown Oakland at The Grand. In Southern California, Essex Skyline at MacArthur Place offers sweeping 360-views of Orange County and the Southern California coast.
What affordable housing options are available?
Essex offers below market rent (“BMR”) programs at many of our communities. While this is not a rental assistance program, BMR units may be available to residents who qualify based on their annual household income and the number of individuals living in their household. To determine if the community you are interested in offers BMR options, please contact the leasing office for more information.
Do you offer rent-controlled apartments?
Essex’s portfolio of communities includes rent-controlled apartments in the Los Angeles area and San Francisco Bay Area. Within the Los Angeles area, our rent-controlled apartments include Avondale at Warner Center, The Blake LA, The Henley, The Promenade at Marina City Club, Bunker Hill Towers, and Sage at Cupertino. In the Northern California Bay Area, City View, Fox Plaza, Park West and Regency at Mountain View offer rent-controlled apartments.
Resident Frequently Asked Questions
How do I contact the leasing office?
Due to the current pandemic, we have restricted non-employee access into our leasing office. All forms of communicating with our staff should be limited to phone and electronic means, such as submitting rent payments, maintenance requests, and other inquires online or through the resident portal.
How do I submit a maintenance request?
Our maintenance teams follow all health and safety guidelines directed by state and local governments to complete service requests. These guidelines include wearing face masks and proper PPE at all times, completing requests in an efficient manner to limit the time spent inside your home, and maintaining an open line of communication with all residents to ensure they feel safe and comfortable during this time. Residents can submit maintenance requests through the RENTCafé resident portal or through Resident App (available in the App Store or on Google Play).
How do I pay rent?
One-time and recurring online payments can be made through our RENTCafé resident portal. We currently accept online payments by credit card, debit card, or ACH (payments made from your checking account). You can pay your rent by mailing a personal check or with cash or cashier’s check through our walk-in payment system program. Additional payment options such as corporate checks may be available. Please contact the leasing office for specific details.
If you are having trouble accessing your RENTCafé resident portal, please view our frequently asked questions or contact the management team on-site at your community for additional assistance.
How do I renew my lease?
You will receive a lease renewal letter both by mail and delivered to your doorstep 45 – 60 days prior to your lease expiration date. This letter will outline the details of your new lease pricing and lease duration options, as well as any additional changes to your lease agreement. We recommend you complete and sign your lease renewal paperwork a minimum of 30 days prior to your lease expiration date to ensure your apartment home is secured. If you will not be renewing your lease, you are required to provide a 20-day notice for apartment homes in Washington and a 30-day notice for apartments in California.
What should I expect at move-out?
When you’re ready to move out of your apartment, you will want to request a pre-move-out inspection to determine if there are any items you may need to clean or repair before your departure to avoid additional costs after move-out. If you would prefer to schedule your move-out inspection virtually, you can do so by making a Zoom, Google Meet or FaceTime appointment. The on-site management team will refer to the move-in checklist you provided when you originally moved into your apartment to determine if any damage was pre-existing.
Your move-out inspection is a great time to ask the on-site team about a potential refund of your security deposit. Be sure to provide the management team with your forwarding address so any return funds can be mailed to your new location.
On your final move-out day, you will need to return your apartment keys, mailbox keys, access FOBs and garage remotes to the leasing office to avoid any additional charges.
Do you have a list of commonly missed items or things to think about when moving out?
On your final day in your apartment, you’ll want to be sure to double-check all cabinets, drawers and storage spaces to be sure you have all your belongings. Items that are commonly left behind include phone chargers, keys, jewelry, and other personal items.
What if I have questions about my move-out statement?
If you have questions regarding your move-out statement within the first 30 days after moving out of your apartment, please contact the on-site management team at your community directly. They will be able to review your statement with you line-by-line and provide additional insight into any fees you may have incurred.
If you have questions about your move-out statement and it has been longer than 30-days since you moved out, you will need to submit a Past Resident Billing Inquiry in our Contact Us form. The Essex collections team can work with you to answer any outstanding questions you may have about fees on your statement, as well as assist you with creating a payment plan for your outstanding balance, if necessary.
What happens if I need to move out of my apartment before my lease ends?
We understand you may need to terminate your lease prior to the agreed-upon date, which is why we offer several lease-termination options.
If you would like to explore available options to transfer to another Essex community, please contact your on-site management team to inquire about our transfer policy. With nearly 250 apartment communities along the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle, we would be happy to find another Essex property for you if you are relocating, need to downsize, or are looking for more space.
Ending your lease early may result in a lease termination fee, which is typically two times the amount of your base rent. A 30-day notice is required for any lease termination, and your signed lease agreement includes complete details on the full amount owed to break your lease.
If you would like to move to a rent responsible plan, you can provide a 30-day lease termination notice and continue to pay your regular monthly rent payments until your apartment home is re-occupied by a new resident. This may result in your apartment being rented within the same week, which may save you in lease-break fees and monthly rent payments. However, you must continue to pay your rent if your apartment is not re-occupied for several months or as long as it remains vacant.