In the current, tight rental market in most major cities across the country, renters must be extra vigilant during their search for a home. You are competing with more and more people who choose to rent, rather than buy, and new construction still lags demand.
Regardless of the competition, don’t rush into signing a lease because of market pressure without taking important precautions. Here are some important things to keep in mind while you search to help you prevent any problems with your landlord in the future.
Take a careful and measured look around the property, both on the inside and the outside. You’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of how well the property owners maintain it and how long it takes them to address urgent repair work and general maintenance. Ask yourself the following kinds of questions:
- Are the stairs, exterior walls, parking lot and sidewalks, green spaces and the roof in good condition?
- Are there enough parking spaces for all the tenants in the building, and are they well-lit and without cracks and potholes?
- Are laundry facilities in working condition and in a safe location in the building?
Locks and Security
Observe the condition of hallways, windows and entrances to other units. Try to talk to some of the other tenants and ask what their experiences have been with the landlord and property manager. Safety and security include maintaining a healthy environment as well. Consider these security-related matters when choosing your residence:
- Pest and odor control and how often it is necessary to keep rodents, insects and bedbugs under control
- How often petty criminal incidents (car break-ins in the lot and vandalism within the property) occur
- Whether anyone has ever been assaulted, raped or mugged in the area near the building
Inspect the Exact Unit You Will Rent
Property managers often will show you a model unit rather than the one they are offering for rent. It’s often true that the unit you may be considering will not be as nice as the model unit. Never sign a lease without seeing the exact unit in which you will live.
Inspect and test all these aspects of your potential rental to avoid hardships with your landlord after moving in:
- The oven and cooktop, garbage disposal, fans and vents
- Refrigerator, furnace, air conditioning, hot water, toilets and drains
- Doors and drawers and if they function properly,
- Evidence of pests or infestation
- Security and safety of doors and windows
Take a notepad with you when you view a property and make notes. Try not to commit on the spot even though the market is moving quickly. Get any promises to fix things in writing and don’t give a deposit or sign the lease until the landlord follows through.
Try to Resolve Problems Before Signing a Lease
If you are a landlord or a tenant, you can help prevent problems before they happen. Be clear and honest when dealing with one another to ensure a professional relationship throughout the lease term.
We can help you resolve disputes and avoid protracted, costly and often unproductive litigation. Give us a call at 972-450-1418 to discuss your situation. We’re here to help.