Apartment hunting can be a very stressful time. If it’s your first time living alone, you’re probably not sure what to look for, and making the wrong decision could affect your renters insurance policy. But we’re here to help! Here are ten warning signs to look for before renting an apartment:
1. The landlord seems too eager to rent you the apartment.
Generally, we can trust that landlords will abide by the law and rent you a place in fair condition, but that’s not always the case. If a landlord is in a hurry to rent you the place, this could mean there’s something wrong with the apartment. Be careful if your landlord skims over the lease, or hesitates to answer questions about the apartment. Also make sure to save all documents you receive– without any paperwork, you could end up in an apartment with dangerous living conditions, and serious financial risk.
2. Apartment hunting with pets.
Every apartment has a different pet policy. Some allow cats and dogs, and some don’t allow any pets at all. Make sure you check with your landlord if you have pets. Some landlords even restrict certain dog breeds due to size or because of liability risk. Your renters insurance policy could be affected based on the type of dog breed you have as well.
3. Apartment damage = future headache
When you find a potential place on your apartment hunt, look for any chipped paint, holes in the wall, stains, or broken doors. Ask your landlord if they’ll fix these issues before you move in. If they refuse, look for an apartment elsewhere. If a landlord doesn’t want to fix issues before move-in, it’s likely that they won’t fix any other damages in the future. If you are currently renting from a landlord who won’t fix damages, take photos to document the damage so you’ll be able to keep your security deposit when you move out.
4. Too hot, too cold
If you don’t want to freeze during the winter and sweat during the summer, check to make sure that your apartment has a working heating and cooling system. Dealing with a faulty heating system or central air unit can make your living conditions much worse. Check the windows for drafts as well– otherwise, you’re in for a harsh overall apartment climate.
5. Check the pipes
Run the water in the kitchen and bathroom, and remember to flush the toilet. When you do this, you’re checking for clean water and good water pressure. Brown or yellow water is a major red flag and if you see this, you should look for an apartment somewhere else. Low water pressure is an inconvenience that your landlord should also fix before you move in.
6. Location, Location, Location
Take a walk around the neighborhood. Look for nearby stores, parks, and places of interest, check road conditions, and how long your commute to work will be. Most leases are for a year at a time, so make sure the apartment is a place you’ll enjoy living in. Bad neighbors can make your living experience ten times worse, so if you can, take a look at who your neighbors will be before making a decision. Is their yard a mess? Are loud noises coming from in or near the apartment? Safety is number one, so make sure you feel comfortable walking around your future neighborhood at night.
Your refrigerator, stove, and washer and dryer (if they’re included) are the major appliances you need to make sure are working properly. Do not sign a lease unless these are all in working condition before you move in. Make sure to take photos of any damage to your appliances so you’re not held liable for them.
8. Parking and commuting
Does the property provide off-street parking or a parking garage? If it’s off-street parking, you might have to battle it out for a parking spot every day. If you don’t have a car, look for the nearest bus stops. Are they convenient or do you have to take multiple buses to one destination? Try taking a bus ride to test the commute and if it doesn’t work, time to look for somewhere else.
9. Shared walls
When apartment hunting, look for shared walls. A shared wall (or party wall) is a dividing wall between two adjoining buildings. Nothing would be worse than sharing a bedroom wall with your nosy next door neighbor, or if your living room shared a wall with your neighbor’s kitchen. Ask your landlord where the shared walls are around your apartment, and make sure it’s an arrangement you’re comfortable with.
10. Renters insurance
A big sign of a responsible landlord is a renters insurance requirement. Renters insurance protects you from fire, theft, smoke, and explosion. Having a renters insurance policy protects your property in case of a loss, and liability coverage pays for a lawyer if you were to need legal representation This takes a huge financial risk off of your back, and you avoid having to deal with the aftermath of recovering from an accident without insurance. As a tip, always remember to take a photo of your personal property and items of value. That way, if you need to make a claim, you have documentation of what needs to be replaced.
We wish you good luck in finding your perfect place. It’s very rare that the place you’re looking for will check off every item on your wishlist, but make sure to pick what’s right for you, and keep this checklist in mind. And if you need renters insurance, we’re here to help! Just call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
Effective Coverage offers the nation's only completely mobile platform to quote and purchase renters insurance right from your phone or tablet in just one minute. Get an online renters insurance quote today and protect your family.