How to Evaluate a rental apartment

Make sure your next apartment rental goes smoothly by properly checking the property before signing a contract. This way you will avoid unexpected disappointments or problems that you were not aware off. Moving is hard enough, give yourself all the advantage you can by going in prepared.

The time to discover peeling paint, creaky floorboards, or that the place was built on a cursed burial ground is before you sign on the dotted line.

Step 1: Inspect surroundings

Make your appointment for the weekend, when you can gauge the noise level of your neighbors.

Step 2: Survey for safety

Inquire about safety. Ask the landlord a few questions: Does the lobby entrance lock? Have the elevators been inspected recently? Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?

Step 3: Sanitation

Check the common areas, like stairwells, trash rooms and laundry facilities, to see how clean they are.

Step 4: Check for damage

Check the walls for holes or peeling paint. Open and close every single door, drawer, window, and cabinet to make sure they work properly. If there is damage, ask the landlord to make repairs before you move in.

Step 5: Test water

Run the hot and cold water in every faucet and flush the toilets to ensure that the water pressure is good, and that there are no leaks or slow drains.

Step 6: Check electricity

Check all electrical fixtures and appliances. Plug an appliance or electronic device into the outlets to make sure you'll have power.

Step 7: Check heat and AC

Ask about the heat and air conditioning. Will you have control over these utilities? If so, where are the thermostat and vents? Make sure you know how to use them, and that they work.

If you enjoy natural light, check the sun exposure of the apartment to make sure it's not dark and gloomy.

Step 8: Get it in writing

Put in writing anything that needs to be repaired and have the landlord or leasing agent sign it before you sign a lease.

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