Inspecting a Property Before Signing a Lease
You have a right to carefully inspect an apartment or house before you put a deposit on it and especially before you sign a lease or an application that will bind you to a lease. Take along friends or family members to help you and be sure to do your inspection in the day time so that you will be more likely to see everything. Take your time and don't let anyone rush you.
If possible, try to rent an apartment or house that is vacant and ready to be occupied. If possible, inspect the actual apartment or house that you will be renting. It can be risky to only view a model apartment and rent an apartment unseen because the model apartment is usually in the best condition and may not accurately reflect the actual apartment that you are renting. For example, the refrigerator and stove may be old and worn, as may be the wall-to-wall carpeting, and other features of the apartment. Sometimes tenants are promised that apartments or houses in poor condition will be ready on move-in day, only to find that the work has not been done or has been done poorly and that the premises are dirty.
Check out the layout of the apartment carefully.
- Is it the right size and design for you?
- Can your furniture fit in?
- Has your spouse or roommate seen and approved it?
Check the features of the apartment or home carefully.
- Do the appliances work properly?
- Check the locks on the doors to the outside. Are they strong locks? Is there a dead-bolt lock? If not, will the landlord allow the tenant to install one?
- Review this checklist for renters.
Finally, request that the landlord to provide a written list of existing damages to the premises, such as marred walls, damaged woodwork or mantels, carpet stains, broken or damaged fixtures, and cracked window glass. You should also carefully examine the apartment to make sure all such damages are on the landlord’s list and that the list is signed and dated. The tenant should have a copy.