Congratulations! You’re ready to trade in the safety and strict rules of on-campus living for the cheap thrills and good times you’re sure to have when living in your own apartment. But not if your apartment sucks. Don’t let a shitty landlord sucker you into signing a lease that’ll have you renting his roach-infested rat trap until you graduate. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind when searching for your home sweet home.
1. Don’t rent an apartment sight unseen. No matter how many reviews you find online, there is no substitute for seeing a place with your own eyes. For all you know, all of those glowing reviews were written by the landlord himself (yes, it happens).
2. Do look in the cabinets when you walk through the apartment. Look hard. Look in the dark corners. Do you see dead bugs? Rodent droppings? Roach traps? Rotten wood? Not a good sign. You know what to do.
3. Do check the water pressure, especially in the shower. If it’s bad now, it’s going to be just as bad when you move in – worse if you’re going to have multiple people using water at the same time.
4. Don’t sign a lease on the spot. Tell your potential landlord you need a day or so to make your decision, then scope out the apartment at various times of day and night. Is the area loud? Is it clean? Are you creeped out by the complex after dark?
5. Don’t sign a lease that extends longer than a year. A landlord who wants a two-year lease probably wants it because he or she knows you’re probably going to want to get the hell out of dodge after your first year of living in Bedbug Acres Apartments.
6. Do get renter’s insurance. If your apartment gets broken into and everything you own is stolen, your landlord doesn’t have to do a damn thing to help you, and his or her insurance won’t cover it. A renter’s policy is cheap, and it might just save your ass.