Whether you are a local looking to move, or a tourist looking for a place to stay while on vacation, knowing what to look for is very important. Regardless of your reasons for renting a property, it will be your home for an extended period of time, so therefore it is important to have all your I’s dotted and T’s crossed. This checklist can help you to do so.
First Thing’s First…
- Carefully peruse the rental agreement
Anything in the agreement that you are not happy with should be challenged before signing. Be especially careful to look for release clauses and information on the landlord’s repair obligations.
- How much is rent and what will be covered?
- Are bills included in the rent and if not, what bills do you have to over?
- If any repairs are needed, who is responsible for this?
On the Outside…
- Be knowledgeable of the neighborhood
Ensure that the neighborhood meets all of your needs. For example is it noisy; are doctors easily accessible; is it relatively safe? Can it be easily accessed by car? If you don’t have a car, check to ensure the area is easily accessible by bus.
Depending on whether you are renting in an apartment complex or a home within a neighborhood, it is important that you have adequate parking space close to where you are situated.
- External Appearance
Inspect the outside of the house carefully. Check if there are any easy access points for potential burglars and if it appears to be in good condition.
On the Inside…
- Check the Property’s Inventory….
…and make a note of any defects in equipment, while also documenting the state of the items. This should be done for several reasons: 1) to have them documented so that when you rental period is over you do not claim responsibility for any damages that were present previously; 2) to ensure that despite any defects, the machinery is working adequately; 3) to determine if, despite the defects, you will still receive value for money. Ideally the landlord should sign this inventory and have a copy for himself.
Whether you have a bicycle, important documents or a ton of items that need to be kept somewhere safe, ensure that your property will have enough space to suit your storage needs. This also applies to pantry space, linen space and closets.
- Check the water pressure…
….in all rooms including the bathroom and kitchen. Ensure that it is at a satisfactory level and if not, determine if the landlord can have the issue resolved before moving in.
- Insects and other Vermin
If there are any signs of infestation, turn around and find yourself another property to rent. Check the fridges, cupboards, pipes, closets, beds etc. for any signs of insects, as well as the feces of any unwanted animals such as mice and lizards.
- Electronic Needs
Is Cable TV, Internet and Telephone covered under your agreement? If so, ensure that the services provided are adequate to suit your needs.
Safety and Security
- Windows and Locks
Ensure all the windows and locks are working well. These are key aspects of safety in your temporary home. The windows should be easy to open and functional, but not too easy that persons can easily break in. The locks should also be study and secure.
- Emergency Procedures
If you are renting an apartment in an apartment building, ensure that there are adequate provisions in the case of a fire. This can include anything from working smoke detectors to fire extinguishers. Also, make sure that in the event of any hazard there is an easy way of escape. While you want to ensure that your place is secure enough to protect against burglars, it should not be like Fort Knox where you cannot easily escape in the event of fire or any other hazard.
However, the most important thing to do when in the process of choosing a rental property is to ask questions. It may be annoying, but it is essential that you get answers to any queries you have about things you may not be able to see with the naked eye.
There have been some horror experiences where persons who did not carefully inspect their rental property and took everything at face value had some unpleasant surprises such as low water pressure, bad smells from air conditioning and faulty electrical issues. Remember, the property you are interested in may appear to be perfect on the outside, but it is also very important to look deeper for any faults.
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