THE BLOG
11/22/2016 10:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

6 Things to Watch-out For Before Renting a New Apartment

2016-11-22-1479826982-8734924-RentalHousing.jpg

Image credit

The choice of a place to live is a big and important decision. It is a decision that affects not only you but all members of your family as well. While the search for a new apartment could be a tedious, it could be equally exciting. In your hunt however, it is good to remain meticulous and avoid making rash decision that will not be favorable in the long run.

There are some very important factors you want to make sure you are cleared on before signing a lease agreement. As a house is more than the painting and the layout, you should avoid falling victim of poor house renting decision. Thus, we have put together a list of important things to watch out for in renting a new apartment. We hope this could guide your search and prepare you on what to expect

1. Is a Co-signer Required?

Most Landlords do require potential tenants to meet a credit check as well as a certain income standard. Thus, in major cities like New York, Boston, you might be required to have an income that is 40 times your monthly rent. This is to ensure that you have the capacity to pay the rent as at when due.However, if you are unable to meet the requirements, you will require a co-signer (a guarantor) to sign the lease. He will also agree to take the fall in case you are unable to make the rent. Co-signers can come in form of close friends or family members. Note however that landlords might charge a fee to make a credit/background check. Thus, be aware of the cost. A detailed discussion with your real estate agent will guide you through what should know regarding the agreement.

2. Will Decorating the Apartment Attract Penalty?

Some landlords do require that you need their permission in written form before decorating or painting the house. This is usually included in the lease agreement. While some leases will require the apartment to be returned to the very condition you met in. Thus, whatever you want to do in the house in the form of decoration - be it hanging artwork, wallpapers, nails in the walls etc, might need to be reversed when you are leaving the apartment. In the words of Daniel Bignold, the CEO of CommercialView, "decoration is one of the top reasons people lose their security deposit on a rented apartment"

3. The Security Condition of The House

This is a factor you cannot afford to take lightly in your quest for a new apartment. However, quite a number of factors need to be accessed to judge the security condition of the house.

  • Are the exterior lightings in good condition?
  • Does the apartment have a security code? If so, you need to have the codes as well as the remote controls.
  • Are the windows in good condition? Do they close and lock properly? Do the windows have leaks that could affect the insulation of the house?
  • Are the doors leading outside in good condition? Is there evidence of attempted break-ins?

Having an idea of the above will let you know if you will be required to make additional investment to cater for your security. Besides, if it's a large building, you will want to make sure that there are working security cameras around.

4. What is the Pet Policy?

This is one of the minute things you should be cleared on. The pet policy of your landlord should be crystal clear. While some landlord will out rightly disallow pet, some might give an exceptions. Carefully go through your lease agreement and check the policy about animals. Some might allow small dogs but disallow giant ones.However, some landlords might require you to pay a pet security deposit.According to Drew Doggett, the co-founder of Kobalt Consulting, a real estate marketing company in Colorado, "many landlords now uses pet-friendliness as a marketing strategy."

5. Are You Safe in The House?

Although we already talked about external security issues, but what about sickness, infection and allergies? This is where you need an expert to help do a thorough analysis and assessment of the house. We will give some examples:

  • Are there molds? While most molds are not dangerous, some could be. And they could trigger allergies in the occupants of the house. Thus, you should check for moist places and basement if there is. Besides, you could consider employing the services of a mold inspector.
  • Is there loose fill asbestos? This is a dangerous form of asbestos that might not post any serious health danger if not tampered with. However, it crumbles easily, requiring an increase level of caution by occupants. The major risk of loose fill insulation asbestos is that it releases tiny fibres into the air. These fibers have the potential to cause very deadly illness and might not manifest till many years later.

6. How Are Maintenance Problem Handled?

While some apartment might have on-site building managers residing on the property, others might not. Thus, in the case of emergency, you might be required to hire the services of a professional, which might be limited to business hours. You need to know how to report emergency conditions to your landlord, as well as their speed of response. Having to call an electrician to replace a burnt fuse could leave you with a nasty bill!

In Conclusion

Be careful in your quest for a new apartment. Try not to let the excitement and eagerness cloud your decision. Although renting house might not seem like a big deal when compared to buying, it is equally advisable to be meticulous. The choice of the house you will live in is a major decision; we hope the above will be helpful for you.