As much as you might want to be a homeowner we have to face the reality. Few of us will be able to buy an apartment, much less a house in the near future. The inflated house market prices aren’t doing us any favors, and at this point, it looks like we’re a generation that will be renting for most of our life. So it’s even more important to become a master of rentals, know your rights, and learn all the tips and tricks for renting a place. It’s also a good idea to treat every apartment or house you’re renting as your own, you can’t forever live in a hole just because it’s “temporary” and “not really your place”. Here we’ve compiled a handy list of thing you should always do when you’re moving into a new rental.
1. Pet Friendliness
This one is a no-brainer. If you have a pet, or really want to get one – you have to figure this out with the landlord first and how pet-friendly it is. Are pets even allowed? And if they are, will they have enough space? These things come first because if you have a pet but the place isn’t pet-friendly, there’s no use wasting your time on it.
2. Damage Checklist
Most landlords make sure to document pre-existing damage and fix it, but if they didn’t make sure you document it. Write down a list of damages, take pictures, make it a document, put the date down, sign it and take it to your landlord. You don’t want to lose your deposit over damages that weren’t even your fault.
3. Changing the Locks
Another thing that is important to consider is changing out the locks, especially if you live in a big city. Check in your contract if it says anything about the locks being changed and if the landlord did it already. If you can’t find any mention of this – ask the landlord. Maybe the landlord will agree to do it, if not, just make sure they know you plan on changing the locks, they’ll probably want a key for emergencies. Safety is very important.
4. Toilets Seats and Shower Heads
Instead of attempting to clean the old shower-head and disinfecting the hell out of toilet seat just get new ones. Ask the landlord first, sometimes they will agree to do this free of charge because these are low-cost home improvements. But if they don’t agree, just do it yourself and sleep well knowing your shower and toilet seat are new and pristine.
It’s always a good idea to hire an exterminator and check for any sights of unwelcome visitors, especially if you live in a city known for having problems with this like New York. These things aren’t always obvious, and you really don’t want rodents or cockroaches to creep up on you unaware.
6. Massive Clean
Consider doing a massive clean of the apartment before you even move in or bring any of your belongings with you. You can do this yourself, but make sure to clean every nook and cranny, especially the hard-to-reach places, because you never know how clean the previous tenant was. An easier option is to hire a cleaning service. It’ll cost you, but it’s a good thing to do for the piece of mind and to know that you’re moving into a freshly cleaned place.
7. Change the Lights
Lighting is what creates the mood and the atmosphere of your home. So make sure all the lights are working, and change the lightbulbs. This is your chance to make your home as cosy and comfortable as possible. Choose warm lights for the bedroom and bright lights for the kitchen and working areas. This is also a great opportunity to save on electricity bills by choosing energy saving light bulbs.
8. Change the Cover Plates
Old apartments and houses often have old, rusty, and dirty light switches and outlets. On top of that, a lot of them might be mismatched, because the ones that might’ve broken in the past have been changed and the rest left as is. Changing out the cover plates for light switches and outlets requires only a screwdriver and takes little time, but it really makes the place look newer and more uniform.
9. Paint the Walls
Most rentals allow repainting the walls and ceilings, but you should always ask the landlord first. If they give you a green light, painting the walls with a fresh coat of paint to freshen things up or changing the color completely might be a good way to make the place feel like home.
10. Plan Out Space
One of the most common rookie mistakes renters do is move all of their stuff in first, and think about where it will fit in the apartment later. Don’t be that stupid. Plan everything out first, make a detailed plan of your new rental, where will the couch go, where will the plant pots live and is there really enough space for three boxes of miscellaneous stuff, or should you perhaps get rid of that.
Subleasing is usually not allowed, but Airbnb is a whole different thing. Whether you want to put up your rented apartment on Airbnb while you go on vacation or just let some people live with you for a bit to make some quick money – you should really figure this out with the landlord first. Because trust us, there’s no way of keeping it a secret. They will find out sooner or later and you might be in trouble because that’s still subleasing.
12.Get Landlord Contacts
Last but not least – make sure you get your landlord’s contacts. That includes both their phone and email and even a cell phone number in case something happens and you need to reach them ASAP. However, make sure you use that cell phone number for emergencies only, and not for pestering them about every little thing on a daily basis.