Many people overlook some basic elements when it comes to finding an apartment in reasonable condition.
There are many things to look for when renting an apartment that people overlook including myself. One has to see that the house is in order before you rent and make sure that the contact you make with the landlord is going to be minimal. My experience is that the more you ask from him the less likely he is going to help voluntarily. Looking for an apartment also involves its location and accessibility not just the number of rooms and if the fridge is included in the rent. There is no particular importance on the tips I have listed. Here are some main ones:
- Look for a place that is central, either near your work place or place that you frequent often like a café or relative’s place. Ideally the location should involve a minimum amount of travel time so that you are not spending good working time going from your home to the workplace or parent’s house. That is unless you want to live away from work and family.
- Find a place where the rent is reasonable. You don’t want to discover some hidden costs like an extra heating cost during the winter or a bill for storing your bicycle. The rent should be no more than a quarter of your income by rule although I have been in situation where it went up to a third.
- The apartment should be near some basic conveniences like main shopping, not counting the corner store. It should be next to public transport so that you do not have to walk far especially during the cold months. Having an apartment next to a park where you can read a book, sun or play a sport is a plus.
- The apartment seeker should ask the landlord about the neighbours living next door to see if they are disruptive or not. If the landlord is not willing to answer than perhaps there is a problem with some of the neighbours they might be rowdy or disrespectful. This is important especially if you are sensitive to noise or like quiet and your neighbours are musicians for example, and have no other placed to practice their craft except at home.
- Checking out the apartment before renting should be done carefully. Sometimes as has been my case, I overlooked important issues like a refrigerator that was leaking water causing a warping of the floor beneath and unnecessary defrosting.
- There are issues to take care of like drafts that come in and become worse during the colder months so the tenant should see if the windows and doors seal properly and if not what provisions the landlord would be willing to do. In Canada renting an apartment used to mean a new paint job and a shaved hardwood floor. Among slumlords that is not the case.
- That said the potential tenant should see under what conditions the landlord lives. Also if his office is shabby and he is never around to return a call, chances all that he is a slumlord and should be avoided unless of course you know how to deal with such people. I have had occasion to rent from one and learned that doing a favour has brought me a favour in return after all that is common decency but I would not rely on a landlord’s goodnaturedness.
- The prospective tenant should decide on the exposure of the apartment and its location relative to emergency exits and floor. A ground floor location might invite a break-in from the street as opposed to a higher floor but if this is an elderly person lots of stairs to walk up and down is not convenient. Living on the top floor might be convenient to be away from the noise of people walking overhead however if the building is old and there is no air-conditioning in the corridors, the tenant may feel the apartment is excessively warm in the summertime because the heat rises in a building.
- Knowing that there is an emergency exit is ideal, older apartment generally do not have one. All apartments should have a smoke detector by law and apartment buildings should be equipped with a functioning fire extinguisher and alarm system. If these are checked regularly that is a good sign that security is on the landlord’s agendas.
- Landlords should not get away with asking a deposit of money as a guarantee that the tenant will pay. References may be asked for to prove the person can pay his rent. Sometimes the landlord gets away with this tactic and the tenant has to wait many months before he gets his money back. Also it would be wise t ask for a lease that is longer than a year so that rents cannot be hacked up every year.
Published in: Moving