Once you have signed the lease and paid all of the deposits, you will get the keys to your new apartment. While you might want to head straight to your local home supply store for paints and throw pillows, there is one crucial step you need to take before you can start painting walls: You need to inspect your new apartment.
An inspection occurs when the new tenant and the landlord or property manager do a walk-through of the apartment. They go room by room, checking to make sure that light switches, ceiling fans and facets work.
They also detail existing damage to the property, such as nicks in counters or flooring. So, when a tenant moves out, they will not be responsible for these damages. While inspecting your new apartment sounds easy enough, there are many things to check. You need to know which kinds of damages you need to report to your landlord to avoid potential fees and how to look out for potential safety hazards.
When you get the keys to your new apartment, it should be ready for move-in. But if it is not, an inspection can get it ready before the movers show up. When you inspect your new apartment, one of the first things you may notice is the floors.
They should be in good shape, meaning the carpets should be cleaned with no large stains, tears or snags. There should be no foul odors or signs of poor ventilation. For rooms like kitchens and bathrooms that will typically have tile floors, jot down any scuffed tiles, and any missing tiles. You also want to make sure that each room is clean.
Clean and Secure Walls, Doors, and Windows
New tenants should not have to move into a new apartment that looks dirty or unkempt. The walls should not be chipped or stained, and there should not be holes in the walls or chunks of plaster falling to the floor.
Additionally, the baseboards should be clean and damage-free. Many tenants like to hang pictures, posters, and shelves. While most landlords allow for slight alternations like wall hangings, they expect the tenants to not only remove the nails and tacks from the walls but also to patch any holes using spackle or caulk. Make sure you note any remaining pins and holes so that you can avoid charges for damage when you move.
It may be essential to make sure that the apartment looks appealing to you. However, it is critical that you make sure that there are no safety hazards. Windows not only bring in light, air, and a view of the outside world. But they also keep tenants safe.
You must be sure to inspect every window to make sure that they are not only clean but that they correctly open. Otherwise, the apartment could be a safety hazard.
You also need to make sure that they properly close and lock from the inside, and that the screens and glass are correctly intact. You also need to make sure that they do not leak and are mold and mildew free. Apartments can cause severe health conditions if these issues are not addressed.
Lastly, new tenants will need to take a close look at all the doors in the apartment, including interior and exterior doors. They should all close tightly and fit correctly in the doorframe. The doorknobs and locks should efficiently work. You should test each lock to the keys that the landlord gives you and check to make sure that the front door has a deadbolt. Doors that are difficult to open or lock can be safety hazards for all occupants of the apartment.
Electricity and Water
The tenant may be responsible for taking on the water and electricity payments. But when conducting the formal inspection, both should be working. Walk through each room and flick the light switches on and off. If any lights do not work, check the light bulbs. If there are broken or missing bulbs, you may be responsible for changing them. However, upon move in, all the light fixtures should work. You should double check that there are no loose or exposed electrical wires and that no lights flicker or throw sparks. You should also check to make sure that every electrical outlet works. You should bring a small appliance, like a cell phone charger, and plug it into every electrical outlet to make sure that they work correctly.
After you have checked the electricity, you will need to check the water. Walk into every bathroom and flush the toilet. Check to make sure that the toilets do not run when not in use, that they do not leak, and that they are clean. Next, turn on each shower and make sure that the water gets hot and that it is clear and not murky. Check the surrounding walls for any damage, such as missing or damaged tiles.
Heating and Air-Conditioning
Depending on the climate in which you live, either heating or air-conditioning your apartment will be vital. So, before you move in, you will need to check the heating and air conditioning unit, or the HVAC unit. Start by making sure that the thermostat works correctly and that the temperate in the room is the same as shown on the thermostat. Next, make sure that the unit blows both cold and hot air and that the unit does not leak water when in use. New tenants also need to check that the filters are clean and that they are not clogged or dirty. Dirty filters can not only increase your utility bill but also cause the unit to run inefficiently. As a renter, you must ask your property owner if you are responsible for replacing air filters, as most property owners make the tenant purchase and replace them.
Kitchen AppliancesWhen inspecting the kitchen, check every appliance, such as the stove and oven. Ask the landlord if the stove is gas or electric. If it is a gas stove, make sure that it ignites appropriately. If it is an electric stove, make sure that all of the switches and burners work. You also need to check to make sure that the refrigerator gets cold, and that it is clean, mold-free, and does not contain any food from previous tenants. Be sure to open every cabinet and draw to make sure that there is no mold or mildew. If you see any animal droppings, it may be signs that the apartment has a pest problem, and you must notify the property owner.
It may be easy to focus on the cosmetic problems of an apartment, but it is crucial that you also check for the issues that can affect your health. When inspecting an apartment, be on the lookout for any insect or rodent droppings. Check common areas that pests enter, such as gaps or crack in ceilings, walls and doors. Familiar places that they gather like behind the stove and in kitchen cabinets. If you see anything that looks like insect eggs or rodent droppings, be sure to point it out to your property owner.
Apartments commonly have smoke detectors placed in hallways near bedrooms, and in or by the kitchen. When you move into a new place, it is crucial that you check to make sure the smoke alarms have fresh batteries and that they properly work. Apartments, in general, can be safety hazards. To help protect yourself from fires caused by you or other tenants, it is vital that your new apartment have working smoke detectors.