Your First Apartment: What to Look for Before You Rent
Congratulations on your exciting new apartment! Before you start calling moving companies, it's important that you make a thorough check of your apartment before moving in. To help you, we've put together the following easy and quick safety checklist of the things to look for.
- Look for the nearest fire extinguishers. One should be centrally located for you to access; know where it is. If you can't find them ask your landlord where they are.
- Check for smoke alarms. Go through the apartment and do a smoke alarm inventory. Do they have one in each room and hallway? If you're missing any, ask the landlord about them. If they're there, talk to the landlord about when the batteries were last replaced, and test them every month.
- Before moving day, ask about having the locks rekeyed.
- Install deadbolts on exterior doors.
- Consider renters insurance to protect your belongings and your personal liability.
- Is the oven and broiler clean? This can be a fire hazard if not.
- If you have a balcony with sliding doors, that's an easy way for burglars to break in. Ask your landlord about installing anti-lift and anti-slide devices on them, especially if you live on the ground floor.
- Check the paint. Is it chipped? Broken? Worn down? Ask about the paint and whether you can re-paint the walls, add pictures, etc?
- Look for the wall sockets? See how many there are and test to see if they work.
- Test the water. Turn on the water in the kitchen and bathroom and perform a simple test to determine that hot is hot and cold is cold. This is also a great way to test out the water pressure.
- Open the fridge and freezer to determine the level of coldness.
- Be especially careful with basement windows. They should have extra protection, such as metal bars or be made of burglar-resistant glazing to discourage intruders. For fire safety, however, they should have quick-release mechanisms to allow for a quick escape in case of fire.
- Make sure your windows have keyed locks or security pins or nails in addition to standard locks.
- Don't place anything valuable items near windows or glass doors; it's much easier to break into by simply breaking the glass.