We’ve all heard of that one friend (or friend’s friend) who’s encountered a downright nightmarish rental situation. When this happens, you’ll have to choose between the lesser of the two evils – staying there and sucking it up, or terminating your tenancy agreement early (which could lead to some pretty hefty penalties). To make sure you limit your chances of running into unforeseen problems as a tenant, check out our rental viewing checklist that contains all the important information you should take note of when viewing your potential home. Make sure you inspect the apartment like a hawk during your viewing (and don’t be afraid to ask for multiple viewings if necessary), so that you don’t get any nasty surprises down the road!
Investing the time to inspect the common area around the unit, and the condo/apartment grounds is worth your while as you should know what’s going on around you.
- Does the property seem secure?
- Is there a burglar alarm or any sort of security at the entry point?
- Is there a garden? If so, who is responsible for the garden’s maintenance?
- Is there parking available?
Utilities and amenities
Essential for daily living, looking out for these features has an impact on your quality of life at the premise.
- Are there sufficient powerpoints and are these located conveniently?
- Is there Wifi? How strong is the Wifi signal in both the common areas, and in your room?
- Are laundry facilities free to use?
Upkeep and maintenance
You’ll be spending a fair amount of time at home. Is the condition of the premise something you’ll be happy coming home to every day?
- Are there any signs of badly flaking paint, infestations (book lice/termites/ants), or other general wear and tear?
- Are there any items that are broken and/or not functioning?
- Is there air conditioning? Does it work well? Who is responsible for cleaning the aircon filters?
- Is there are loose or dodgy wiring? Do all the lights work well?
- Do the kitchen appliances work well? Are all the burners in the stove working?
- Is the bathroom in good shape, with non-leaky taps? Is the water heater working properly? Does the WC flush properly?
It’s highly advisable to be absolutely clear on money issues with the landlord before committing to a lease.
- Other than the rent, are there any other bills or maintenance fees that you need to pay?
- How much deposit is required? In which circumstances will the deposit be forfeited?
- How long does the lease agreement run for? At which point can the landlord increase the rent, and by how much?
Other questions to ask your landlord
Miscellaneous points to bring up to ensure your well-being as a tenant.
- If there are other tenants, what are they like?
- What are the neighbours like?
- To what extent can you decorate? Can you paint the walls?
- Has the apartment ever been burgled or damaged?
- What are the building’s quiet hours?
- Who is the point of contact for maintenance requests? What is the typical response time for these requests?
You’ll want to make sure that you have all these covered before making the decision whether or not to rent the premise; depending on how watertight your contract is, it’ll be hard getting out of it once you sign on the dotted line.
Another tip: if you’re expecting multiple tenants or roommates, go through our list of 19 questions to ask before moving in with a roommate. There’s nothing quite as off-putting as discovering that your new roommates are the exact opposite from you when it comes to day-to-day habits (having to stay with someone who loves loud music when you prefer a bit of peace and quiet, for example, can be excruciating). Good luck!