How to Choose an Apartment, The Smart Way

In many cities and metropolitan areas, it is nearly impossible to get an apartment that is worth your time and money. From the application and showing process, to competing with other renters, to finding a way to move your possessions up multiple flights of stairs, you may feel like you have hit the lottery once you finally land an apartment that works for you. However, as tired as you may be, you can’t sit back and relax once you have signed the lease and move the last of your boxes into the apartment. Here are some important things you need to do before kicking back in your new home.

One: read your rental agreement, word for word. This is a legally binding contract, so it only makes sense that it is important to know what this agreement says from cover to cover. While this should actually be done ideally before you even sign the lease, you should read the lease in the first couple days of living in your apartment, note any concerns or questions you have, and bring them to your landlord’s attention right away. It is better to clarify your contract before you are months into your lease.

Two: test your fire and emergency services equipment. This is perhaps one of the most understated but important things on your to do list when moving into an apartment. An apartment and or an apartment building that is not up to code on fire and emergency services equipment can be very costly to you in both fines and safety. Your city fire marshal has a very specific set of which types of fire and emergency services equipment different buildings should offer, and if your apartment fails an inspection from a fire protection company, you could be the one who is fined. Not to mention the fact that you are going to want adequate firefighting equipment available for you and your belongings in the case of an emergency.

To start, you are going to want to test the batteries in all smoke alarms in your apartment, and replace any dead batteries immediately. Report any broken or malfunctional alarms to your landlord right away and in writing. Check with your local fire protection companies and defense contractors on which residential rooms are required by government contracts to have personal protective equipment in them. You are also going to want to check your apartment building for a functional fire sprinkler service operational solutions. It is important for your building to have a fire sprinkler service to prevent the spread of fires from one apartment to another. If you notice that your apartment building does not have a fire sprinkler service, notify your fire marshals right away.

Three: sign up for renter’s insurance, and document any problems that existed in the apartment before you move in. Renter’s insurance is usually less than twenty dollars a month, and will protect your possessions in the event of a theft, fire, or other disaster. Take multiple pictures of any preexisting damage or problems in the apartment within the first three days of you living there, such as water spots in the ceiling, rotting radiator valves, leaky pipes, etc. If you do not report it within this time frame, the insurance company has no way of proving that the damage was there before you were, and the landlord may claim that you caused it.

Now, you are ready to put your feet up and celebrate your new apartment (and its fully functional fire and emergency services equipment), which is a sizeable accomplishment in many areas. Maintaining a good life in an apartment is pretty easy, as long as you communicate with your landlord and be a respectable neighbor and tenant.

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