7 Tips for Inspecting Your New Rental
Aug 19, 2015
If you’re planning to rent an apartment or house, there are a few things you need to know, say the experts.
First, be sure to use a reliable source to scout rentals so you don’t fall victim to a rental scam. Several online sites offer information about available rentals, complete with reviews.
Once you’ve honed your choices to just a few local options, you’ll want to meet with the owner or property manager to walk through the rental. At large complexes, the property manager might show you an apartment similar to the one you may rent to give you a feel for what the apartments are like. But if you’re serious about renting a certain unit, make sure you see that apartment, advises Apartments.com.
The walkthrough gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the place, ask questions, and (if you’re getting serious) document the condition of the property. “You should write down any damage and take time-stamped photos that can be incorporated into the lease,” says Rent.com’s senior brand manager, Niccole Schreck.
Here’s why: When you move into a new place and things aren’t working, your landlord is responsible, notes Patrick E. George, a blogger for HowStuffWorks.com. “If the landlord isn’t aware of these problems when you move in, they could take the price of repairs out of your security deposit when you move out. In fact, it’s probably best to get the landlord to fix these issues before you even sign your lease,” says George.
During the walkthrough, take your time, ask a lot of questions, and consider using a room-by-room checklist like this one so you don’t overlook anything important. And if the property manager agrees to fix something, get that promise in writing and in the lease, says Schreck.
Finally, if there are many things wrong with the apartment, or if you open a fridge, cabinet, or oven and more than one small, flattish cockroach comes out, don’t take the place, advises Curbed Philly.
With that in mind, here are seven things to consider as you visit prospective rentals.
If doorknobs are loose, the carpet needs cleaning, and windows are sloppily painted, you’ve just learned something about the landlord and the professionalism of contractors he or she hires. “If there’s a general air of neglect, you’ll want to move on,” Schreck says.
2. Storage space
If you’re looking at a smaller space and have a lot of camping gear or a kayak, you’ll want to be sure you’ll have enough storage space, say the experts. If you do sign the lease and then find out you can’t fit all your stuff in your space, there are many tips you can try, from adding shelves to rotating your clothes seasonally.
You’ll want to check all of the doors and windows to make sure the locks work properly. “It’s also a great idea to go back to the property at night to make sure there’s ample lighting, you can park nearby, and you’ll feel safe in the neighborhood when the sun goes down,” says Schreck.
You’ll want to be aware of sounds in the space, especially if the walls or floor seem “thin.” If you hear barking dogs, or a train, or the neighbor’s TV, and those things will bother you, consider looking elsewhere.
Ask about past pest problems and be aware that some pests, like bedbugs, can be all but impossible to eradicate if they’re coming through the walls of adjoining apartments.
Enter each room and give it the “smell test”—and don’t forget to smell the closets. If there’s a dank smell, there could be mold, and that’s not something you want to mess around with. “Mold kills—people don’t realize it’s a very serious problem,” says Richard Tan, a certified mold assessor and building inspector in Orlando, Florida.
7. Water pressure
You’ll be washing dishes and your hands in your rental every day, so make sure the water pressure meets your standards. “I personally like a really powerful shower, and so if I were to move into a place where the water just tinkles down, I’d be really unhappy for a whole year,” notes Schreck.