Edited questions from Apartment Life, Sara Gebhardt's online discussion about rental issues.

QMy apartment building doesn't have security deposits but rather "administrative fees" when you move in. Thus, I'm not real worried what condition I leave the apartment in when I move out. If I don't make sure it is totally fixed up, could they bill me after I move out?

ADon't think that you can't be billed for major damages just because you don't have a security deposit. Read your lease carefully. Chances are you are responsible for keeping the place in adequate condition throughout your tenancy and will be responsible for the usual security-deposit eaters: ripped and stained carpets, broken appliances, etc.

Washington: I'm feeling shameful. My roommate and I got a kitten. It is so cute. However, our apartment building does not allow pets of any kind. I knew that several people still have them, and that had eased my mind. Needless to say, the kitten has been meowing loudly; it's not its fault. But I am now feeling guilty about having to lie should someone ask. Do you know how bad of a violation this is? (I've always followed the rules up until now.) Would it be likely that we would get a warning to get rid of it?

Shameful? Guilty? Wow, those are some serious emotions for hiding a cat. You must love your cat.

I would rather not comment on how grave the violation is. You are breaking the landlord's rules regardless, so you are taking a risk that you will be asked to leave if the fur ball is discovered.

But since you are not the first person to sneak a cat into a pet-unfriendly building, you might just get away with it, assuming you don't rat yourself out. You might also get a warning to get rid of the kitten if it's discovered.

I'm just afraid that will spark an emotional roller coaster with you.

My roommate and I have been looking for apartments. Many have told us that rooms are booking up fast, so we should go ahead and preregister or request to hold a place (i.e. pay them money and in some cases it won't be refundable). Does this sound reasonable to you?

It sounds reasonable to preregister in a building that you know you'll move into. If there are going to be vacancies and management can guarantee this, then holding a place for yourself seems okay.

I would seriously think before holding in any place that will not refund your holding fee and will not guarantee in writing an apartment. If you keep looking, you will probably find just as many apartments that are not requiring any preregistration.

Sara Gebhardt's Apartment Life column appears biweekly in this section, and her Web chat appears monthly on www.washingtonpost.com