Your Guide To Finding The Perfect Apartment: Step 5

First things first, if you missed any of the previous steps, check out my articles here to get caught up!

Now, onto step 5!

The timeline for this step is January/February/March!  

So now that you might have found an apartment, what do you need to know about being a tenant?

1.) Understand the lease 

Prepare to follow rules

Lack of following the rules isn’t an excuse anymore.  If you break the rules, your landlord has the right to evict you.  This includes living with more than 4 undergraduates in one apartment.  If you’re caught, you can be evicted.

Lack of understanding isn’t an excuse

If you don’t understand the lease you signed, and you do something wrong, it doesn’t matter.  Your landlord can still kick you out even if you tell them you didn’t know it was a rule. This is why it is so important to understand your lease before you sign it, that way if there is something in the lease you might struggle with, or you feel is unfair, you can try to negotiate it.  Worst case, you might want to find a different apartment!

Legally binding document

Because a lease is legally binding, there is very little wiggle room when it comes to issues.  If your break the rules and they are stated clearly in the signed document, there is nothing you can do.  Your landlord has every right to evict you or take legal action against you. You are legally responsible for the apartment so it is important that you know what you are signing up for before signing.  

2.) Familiarize yourself with city housing codes

City housing codes are different in every city, so depending on where you are moving, you want to make sure you understand all the codes that go into living in the city.  Having an understanding of these codes can help keep your budget in check and make sure the apartment you are renting is up to code. In addition, knowing the codes can prevent any future eviction, because you’ll know the constraints you have to work within for your living situation.  

3.) Be a good neighbor

This seems self-explanatory, but most students don’t consider their neighbors when they are planning things.  Things like playing music too loud, throwing lots of parties, or not cleaning up after yourselves can affect all the residents in the building you’re living in.  If you are throwing a lot of parties, you are frequently inviting people into the apartment who might be a security threat. While I’m sure your friends won’t be that disruptive nor engage in criminal activity, other residents might not see your parties the same way, so just be courteous of others!  If you are always playing loud music, it might be disruptive for the people around you, especially if it is later at night when people are trying to sleep. This also calls into question your neighbors above and below you––because you can’t forget about them if they exist. If you aren’t living on the 1st floor, be cautious of the noises you are making, especially if your apartment isn’t carpeted.  Footsteps can get loud! Finally, not cleaning up your messes could attract rodents of all kinds to the building, so please, keep your apartment clean. It's not the most fun thing to do, however, no one wants a rodent infestation, so do your part in preventing that!

Step 5 is in the books!  Tune in next week for step 6 to finding your future apartment!