Renter’s Checklist: What a Renter Needs to do for House or Apartment Rental

My Moving "To Do" list
Image by Beth77via Flickr

Renter’s Checklist: What a Renter Needs to do for House or Apartment Rental
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Whenever you move into rented accommodation, whether it’s a house, an apartment or anything else, you need to be on top of the game in many different directions. OK, so it might not be as complicated as buying your home, but there are still plenty of things which can go wrong and need to be checked out BEFORE you move in, so whether you’re moving from one rental place to another, or are just leaving home and branching out on your own, make sure that you check out all of the stuff on this list.

Now, some of it might not be appropriate to your situation, but lots of it will, so it’s better to at least be aware of everything than miss out on some important details, don’t you agree?

Before You Decide on Your New Rental Home

These are things you need to check out before signing on the dotted line, for your own security and for the Landlord too!

  • Rent – how much is the monthly rent?
  • What does this include? Does it include any of the utilities, garbage collection etc?
  • How should the rent be paid each month?
  • What is the penalty for late payment of rent?
  • What about the rental bond, how much is it and what do you have to do to get it back when the time comes?
  • Who is responsible for maintaining common areas – hallways, yards etc?
  • Utilities – is the apartment heated by electricity or gas?
  • Utilities – how much are the average monthly payments?
  • Are the utilities still connected
  • Which cable or dish providers are available in the area?
  • Car parking – is there any car parking available and if so how many spaces per apartment?
  • Are pets allowed in the apartment? If so, are there any restrictions?
  • Are you allowed to decorate the apartment?
  • Where will your mail be delivered and what time does it arrive?
  • Is there a number to call for maintenance?
  • What schools and local amenities are there?

For most people renter’s insurance is the one of the cheapest insurances you can buy. Most typical renter’s insurance policies are around $10-25/month.

Before You Move In to Your New Rental Home

OK, so that’s phase one of finding your new rental home. Let’s move onto phase two, after you’ve chosen your new rental home there are still some things to do before you actually move in:

  • Take out RENTAL INSURANCE, yes, you should do this before you move in, after all, it’s one of the most probable times when things will get dropped and broken, make sure you’ve got it covered.
  • Check out that all of the facilities work, go through the whole place with your Landlord and agree that everything works correctly – plumbing, heating, air conditioning, kitchen equipment if applicable. You don’t want to get accused to breaking something which was busted to start with do you?
  • Check out the inventory which the Landlord should have provided. Make sure that everything on the list is actually there, and the condition which it is in.
  • Check out the general condition and cleanliness of things like carpets, curtains, walls. Make notes of any stains or damage which might already be noticeable.

Pre Move In Checklist Right, phase three. Now then,  this is especially for all fledglings who are leaving the nest for the first time, but still applies to any seasoned “home aloners”, even though you lot ought to have this well sorted by now. You see, moving into rented accommodation on your own means that you’re going to need a few essentials which you might not have thought about:

  • Smoke/carbon monoxide/gas detectors. There should already be a smoke detector installed, but you should try to persuade your landlord to install gas and carbon monoxide detectors too, for your own safety. It needs doing before you sign the lease really, but at least before you actually move in and start breathing the air.
  • Fire extinguishers are essential, you never know when you might need one and you really shouldn’t wait until you do, that would be far too late. If there isn’t one already in the accommodation just buy your own, you can pick them up pretty cheaply, but make sure that you know how it works.
  • First aid kit – I bet you’re getting cold feet now aren’t you? One minute you’re moving out into the big wide world, the next you’re having to think about gas poisoning, burning and other injuries. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Buy a first aid kit which has everything in it you might need, don’t forget antiseptic cream, sticking plasters, gauze and bandages and keep it handy, preferably where you can see it.
  • Toilet plunger – ha ha, yes, your parents won’t be able to sort that out for you, and it’s no use calling the landlord, a toilet plunger is an essential part of living alone and can save lots of hassle in the long run. You need your plumbing to work efficiently don’t you?
  • Spare light bulbs always come in handy. Some rooms only have one light bulb, so if that one goes on a dark dark night, you’ll be up the creek. Always have a spare, somewhere easy to find (near the first aid kit!)
  • Candles/lighters/matches.  Candles don’t work without a light! If you’re a smoker you’ll never be far away from lighters or matches, but for those of us who managed to give up the dreaded weed a long time ago (can you see my halo shining?) you will need to have a lighter or box of matches handy, just in case there’s a blackout. Keep your fire extinguisher handy though – do you see how all of these things kind of link together?
  • Flashlights with spare batteries – now then, if you’re anything like our house, flashlights seem to be a constant source of amusement when they’re not really needed (I’m thinking ghost faces and shadows here), and as soon as you actually need one for something constructive, they’re all dead. Don’t be like us, be smart.
  • Batteries, batteries and more batteries, of all shapes and sizes. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll need them.
  • Duct tape and super glue – just in case, you’ll be surprised at what you can fix with a little super glue, and nobody ever needs to know – shhhh!
  • Step ladder – you can get those great little step ladders which are only about 3 steps high, but do come in handy for changing light bulbs and reaching the top of cupboards etc. It’s much safer than standing on a chair.
  • Tool kit – what? I know what you’re thinking, you’re moving home not building it, but you’ll be surprised at how often you might need a screwdriver for example, and if all else fails there ain’t nothing which can’t be fixed with a hammer (apparently). Alright, calm down, but you might just want to hang a picture frame or stop a door from rattling. Be prepared!
  • Fridge magnets – absolutely marvellous invention which I wish I’d thought of first. Very handy for shopping lists, keeping receipts “just in case” and notes to self. Some of them are great fun too. A fridge isn’t a real fridge without a good selection of magnets, preferably from everywhere you’ve ever been on vacation.

The Big Day OK, the big day has arrived, you’re all packed up and ready to go and make your new rental apartment into your home. Here’s a few things which you need to do to make sure that all goes smoothly:

  • Double check that all utilities will be connected and working.
  • Check that cable will be connected and working.
  • Check out removal firms and book a truck (if necessary).
  • Rope in as many family and friends as possible to help, (try using offers of pizza and beer, that should help).
  • Double check that everything in the apartment is as it should be, before you move in.
  • Hope for a nice day and get cracking.
  • Send out change of address notes.
  • Don’t forget to change the address on your drivers license, bank account etc.

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