Thursday, October 24, 2013

Renter’s checklist: What to watch for

Looking for a new place to rent? You might never find the perfect house or apartment no matter how long and hard you search, but minor fixes could just be the key to turning the closest contender into “the one.” 

Ask the landlord or agent directly if there is a history of break-ins; do some instant detective work for signs within the property as well

Before signing the lease contract, thoroughly check the property in consideration for the common problems listed below and keep a sharp eye out for existing flaws or potential issues. You can either make a deal with your soon-to-be landlord or move on and keep searching. 

Plumbing

Do the toilets flush? Check if there are leaky fixtures anywhere and if the water pressure is okay. 

Lights

Is there sufficient lighting and do the switches work? 

Damp spots

Are there wet maps on the ceilings or walls, bubbling or peeling paint? These are signs of a leak and can indicate possible mold problems. 

Connectivity

Are you in a cellular dead spot? Whip out your mobile gadgets to test signal; also, verify if there are provisions for internet service, cable and telephone. In this day and age, lack of any of these can very well be deal-breakers. 

Security

Doors and windows should be secure. Ask the landlord or agent directly if there is a history of break-ins; do some instant detective work for signs within the property as well. 

Appliances

If major appliances are included in the rental agreement, test them to see if they’re in good working condition. 

The neighborhood

Whether you’re looking to rent a townhouse or a condo unit, you need to check out the next-door neighbors not only to find out about them but also about the condition of the surrounding properties or units. Signs of poor maintenance and neglect within property lines and on shared spaces such as sidewalks or hallways are loud and clear warnings. Better learn about it sooner rather than later. 

If on your next viewing, you find any of these flaws and think you can live with them -provided that they’re fixed - you can still use them as a negotiating tool to get a better rental rate. Remember that even though you might not get a favourable response, there’s no harm in asking. 


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