There are not many more stressful activities than moving. While it is extremely exciting to have a new apartment, it comes with a lot of anxiety. What could go wrong?
Your new home could carry a deadbeat landlord or party animal neighbors with it. From sly leaks to gross insect infestations, it may be covering a whole plague of problems. It would be fine, except for the superintendent, who, while knowing absolutely nothing about electricity, insists on making all the electrical repairs.
The good news is that you’ll be able to escape an apartment nightmare by asking the right questions before you sign the contract. Here’s our guide to what to keep in mind when you’re looking for a dream apartment.
If you’re moving in with a friend or roommate, check if there is a “jointly and separately” clause in the contract you’re both signing.
This will mean that everyone on the lease is ultimately liable for the actions of everyone involved. So if, after failing to pay rent for three months, the nice guy you found on social media flees the country, that’s on you.
See what the lease means about your sublet ability, too. If an emergency happens or if you really want an extended change of scenery, it’s great to know that for a few months, you might have someone else taking over the rent.
Find out if break-ins have been a problem or if the foyer is routinely targeted by package thieves. Ask what home security devices, including cameras on the outside of the building or in the front corridor, are in place.
Be sure to test the essential facets of the apartment before you sign on the dotted line. In the bathroom and kitchen, run the faucets, switch on the shower to get an idea of the water pressure, and see if all the stove burners are ignited. To make sure that they’re functioning, plug your mobile phone into each socket. Give any of them a spin, whether there’s central air conditioning or heat.
If something appears to be wrong or broken, confirm that hopefully, before you move in, the landlord will fix the problems as soon as possible, and make sure to get the promise in writing.
A few things, like discovering that you share the room with blood-sucking parasites, can ruin your new home’s hygge vibes. Landlords are legally obliged in certain cases to report any recent history of pests. The pits are bed bugs: tenacious and nasty, plus time-consuming and costly to correctly exterminate. And BTW, insurance for renters won’t cover the treatment.
Don’t just inquire, either, about your particular unit. One of the least charming characteristics of the bed bug is its ability to move inside a building vertically or horizontally, so that nightmare on the 4th floor could be yours on the first floor if the right steps are not taken.
A rent-stabilized apartment is a real boon in a city like New York or Los Angeles, which usually means that the landlord will only increase the rent by a set amount year-to-year. You should also not be evicted solely because the owner of the building needs new tenants who are prepared to pay more.
This is a lot for tenants, but a little challenging for landlords, which is why some of them may not be advertising the rent-stabilized status of a unit exactly.
This one, for legal purposes, might get a little dicey. “A prospective tenant, for example, cannot say, “BTW, I hate kids—so noisy and distracting! If any young families are living above me or in the house, can you tell me? ”
But having a general understanding of who your neighbors are, as well as an idea of how much turnover there is, should be fair. If the representative of the landlord or management company appears to have no idea who his tenants are, or you get the impression that the place is a revolving door, that might be a red flag, with people going in and out all the time.
If you don’t have a washing machine in your small apartment, and if you have to walk for twenty minutes to find the nearest laundromat, it’s going to stink.
Find out what kind of essential facilities are available from your front door within a five-minute hike: grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, a decent market with fresh produce, etc.
There is no legislation in the U.S. requiring insurance for renters, although some landlords may stipulate the lease conditions.
We’re a little biased, but we would argue that renter’s insurance is a smart idea, regardless of what your landlord says. It’s simple, renters’ insurance is inexpensive, and it’s the best way to protect your belongings from robbery, destruction, and apartment catastrophes.