The Ultimate Rental-Hunting Checklist
When it comes to judging the standards of landlords, the proof is often in the pudding. One can tell a lot about the way a building is managed by surveying its every detail. Touring a prospective rental property is the ideal time to let your innermost type A self run things. Ask every question. Check every box. Go ahead, be “that guy.” Before signing, you’ll want to be positive that you and the property owner have aligned interests. Here is a rundown of our musts for ensuring your next pad lives up to that hype your real estate agent may be laying on you.
Some landlords may not claim responsibility for pest infestation. Find out how often the unit is serviced and who incurs the cost in the event of a problem. Ask if pest control is included in the terms of the lease. Keep an eye out for mice feces, which can be as small as poppy seeds. Check the back corners of closets and the kitchen counters. If you have a concern for the type of pesticides or toxins used in extermination, be sure to ask exactly what service the rental company typically uses.
Be hyper-vigilant in your walk-through. Turn on the faucet to check the water quality and pressure. Check all the burners on the stove. Stick your head up the fireplace to see if the flue is clean or riddled with birds’ nests. Find out who services appliances and if repair costs are covered in your lease terms. Pay attention to detail. If the paint job is shoddy or the faucet leaks, it could hint to the caliber of people the landlord hires to do jobs.
Depending on when you tour the unit, noise levels could vary. Inquire after pets in the building, trains, and traffic. Is the street a main thoroughfare during rush hour? Do any of the neighbors own a drum kit? Do the gardeners show up at dawn one day a week? How thin are the walls? Get a general sense of the day-to-night noise ratio before you sign. If you’re living above someone and the floor squeaks, keep in mind that a rug investment is in your future.
Open and close all the windows. Check all the deadbolts. Make sure the locks are all legal, high-quality, and in working order. How easy is it to access the main entrance? Is there a security code? Twenty-four-hour doorman? Drive or walk extensively around the neighborhood itself. You’ll want to have a bird’s-eye view of the general comings and goings of the place—day to night. Be positive you’re entirely comfortable with the level of security. You’ll sleep sounder.
Check for smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and building-wide fire alarms to confirm the landlord is in compliance. Do your homework on the property. Inquire after any legal encumbrance on the property, and confirm whether it has been in foreclosure. Ask to see the occupancy certificate on the unit.
This can be a more covert op. Check each room to make sure it passes the odor test. Just make sure you don’t smell gas or sewage in any area of the unit.
Hammer out every detail beforehand, from trash pickup days to pet policies and parking for yourself or guests. In areas at risk for severe weather, inquire after who is responsible for storm damage.
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Opening Image: Apartment Therapy