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Thinks Renters Should Be Aware Of - BEFORE You Sign A Lease

Updated on July 10, 2012
Apartment Lease
Apartment Lease

Things You Should Know - Before You Rent

I'm a home owner now, but like most Americans, prior to that I rented. When I rented my first apartment, unfortunately there was no one to help - no one with experience anyway - so I was on my own. So in retrospect, I wish there were a few things I knew to be aware of before signing that lease. Learn from my mistakes!

The List....

1. Avoid The Noise: Whenever possible, try to review your perspective apartment over the weekend, or in the evening. I say this because this is the time when you'll actually be living in your apartment. Viewing the potential apartment mid-day, when you'd normally be working, won't tip you off the loud noises, footsteps, or traffic that might happen every night. You might not be privy to the pitter patter of your upstairs neighbors children, or the band practice that happens next door every night. So do yourself a favor, and visit the property at a time when you'd normally be present - otherwise you never know what you're missing!

2. Check Your Water Pressure: If you low or non-existent water pressure, that's not good, and is generally not an easy fix. Despite your landlords promises to have that remedied before you move in, chances are, it will be a reoccurring problem. Keep in mind, low water pressure effects your shower, your dishwasher, sink, and laundry. Testing your water system is a great way to identify major plumbing issues.

3. Bad Smells: Let your noise tip you off to recent to foul odors, or even new pleasant smells. The bad smells are obvious sign that something is not right, but so are "good" smells. Is there something they are trying to cover up?

4. Take Pictures: If something is not quite right - have a conversation with the landlord - and snap a picture. Too many times there are promises made by the landlord, that are never made good on. You want to be able to prove that you didn't create the damage, but rather reported it. It happened to me with damage to a section of carpet that was there from the start... but guess what, when it came time for me to move out, they tried to make me pay for it!

5. Actually Read The Lease: Unless you read the lease, you really have no idea what you're getting into. My advice is to truly read it, and ask lots of questions. The verbiage is often "creative,” and subject to interpretation. So make sure you don't get caught up in some legal “mumbo jumbo.”


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