Rental Check List

Making A List and Checking it Twice

legacy property management-rentals-checklist

Although the housing market is bouncing back, renting a home or an apartment is still an option for many people. Many large, urban cities are experiencing a “rental” crunch. Before signing on the dotted line, renters everywhere should know their rights and responsibilities.

Whether this is your first apartment or your last apartment, conditions of your lease will vary by landlord and owner. Before you commit to your new home, become an informed consumer. Ask the following questions.

  • Is there a security deposit?

  • Are pets allowed?

  • Is there an additional pet deposit?

  • Can I paint or hang pictures on the walls?

  • When is rent due?

  • Is there a grace period for rental payments?

  • What is the occupancy rate?

Once you are satisfied that you have the basics covered, you can start digging a little deeper.

  • Is pest control covered in the lease? If your apartment is overrun by bugs, your landlord may not pick up the tab, but may pay to remove critters from your attic. Be specific about who is responsible for what.

  • Who makes repairs? Are appliances covered through a service plan, or a warranty? Does the landlord have a preferred maintenance person? Is there a deductible that the renters must meet?

  • Has there been a problem with mold? Mold indicates problems like, leaks, flooding, or dripping faucets.

  • Is your landlord local? Who is called for routine maintenance, emergencies, or repairs?

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you do a thorough walk through. Note any and all imperfections, flaws, and problems. A faulty light switch, even a loose baseboard should be brought to the landlord’s attention.  Some things to look for:

  • Do all the lights and outlets work?

  • Inspect the stove. Does the oven, broiler, and range work?

  • Are there mold spores or leaks around plumbing?

  • Is the water pressure satisfactory?

  • Inspect the hot water heater. Is it efficient and functioning properly?

  • Examine the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Does water drain quickly?

  • Are there stains on the carpets or floor boards?

  • Grout should be free of mold or mildew. Is the grout clean?

  • Are there cracks in the ceiling?

  • Do windows open and close properly?

To avoid problems at the end of the lease, document any imperfections or flaws. If your landlord is not going to make repairs, you cannot be held liable. Ask if electrical wiring, plumbing, and gas lines are up to par with your local building codes. Have the heating and cooling systems have been properly inspected and maintained? A good landlord can provide documented proof of service and inspection.

If you find a place you love, do not compromise by overlooking obvious problems. Necessary repairs lead to larger problems when ignored. By doing a little legwork before you sign the lease, you can save money, and avoid stress. Once you are satisfied that the lease will protect your interests, it is time to starting planning a housewarming party!

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