(This section in progress) This is a checklist of potential problems that every tenant should review before, during and after renting. When complete, each entry below will provide detailed advice. Some of these problems can be solved by tenant. Most are lease issues.
- location not suitable -
- high crime - High crime locations usually permit be the lowest rents. But you will have to ask yourself if you can hold down the fort. Can your door withstand a break-in attempt while you're away? Will your friends feel safe to visit you at night? Is it safe for women or children?
- open or hard drug dealing - Crack dealers are especially damaging to the tenant environment because they typically post lookouts who in turn create fear as they stare indiscretely at you and everything that moves. Crack usage is also more likely to induce some addicted users to commit theft or robbery. Some dealers and drug buyers coming to your building will be vigilant to steal anything not glued down. Methamphatamine or heroine users can be somewhat narly too.
- traffic pollution/noise excessive - One way streets and busy thoroughfares are a source of carbon monoxide, ozone, massive dust, and fine particles that WILL shorten your life. Traffic noise is not worth the hassle if you can get a more neighborly location.
- excessive dust -
- sirens at all hours - Living by a firehouse or on a heavily policed avenue can cause insomnia.
- nearby bar - Clubs or entertainment venues with routy patrons or parking overflow may be a problem. You'll have to deal with noise at night. Never live above nor directly next to a bar unless you love the rotten stench of mass nicotine infusion.
- privacy problems -
- unwarranted or excess inspections/maintenance - Beware the landlord who has a reputation for entering apartments on flimsy excuses that do not amount to real emergencies. You should demand that all nonemergency intrusions be scheduled at least a day or more in advance.
- walls paper thin - Thin walls are conduit for daily noise.
- inadequate heating/insulation -
- windows excessively thin - Many landlords replace windows with excessively thin glass just to be cheap. Then you may get blamed when the brittle glass breaks from normal wear and tear.
- fire & safety hazards -
- inadequate/nonworking smoke alarms - Your smoke alarm should have a test button. Test your unit often, especially if you live in a building with smokers. Keep a fresh battery installed.
- lead paint - Most municipalities now have laws regulating the disclosure of any lead paint conditions. This is important especially if you have kids.
- hazardous fumes - In addition to cigarette smoke, some apartments are built in awkward settings. Be especially wary of unsuitable buildings that have old or small parking garages inside, have commercial nail salons, dry cleaners or any business that uses toxic or flamable substances.
- noise from adjacent units - This of course is one of the all-time biggest tenant problems.
- laundry not working -
- inadequate ventilation -
- major amount of smoking in building -
- painting/remodeling in adjacent units -
- electrical problems -
- nonworking outlets -
- breakers or fuses blow easily -
- bad wirig, shorts -.
- plumbing problems -
- water pressure low -
- drainage backed up or slow -
- miniature toilet - The male of the species should be especially wary of typical apartment toilets that are so small they do not allow a proper "fit". Such commodes should be outlawed as inherently unsanitary by their design, which may expose the anatomy to contact below the seat. Not to mention the indignation one feels.
- security problems -
- door locks easy to pick -
- doors rickety or too thin -
- locks not changed regularly -
- window access too easy for intruder -
- no security grills on low level windows -
- inadequate lighting or lighting maintenance on exterior paths -
- unsafe exterior -
- snow or ice unremoved/untreated -
- terrace hand railings too low, too open or too loose -
- parking problems -
- reserved space taken/not protected -
- pest problems -
- roaches - Roaches love to reproduce and build up immunity to pesticides. They smell foul. Never move into a roach motel. A good defense against roaches and other insects is seal every gap, seam, hole and hiding place with liquid foams and sealants, especially near water and food supplies.
- rodents - Mice will go away if you clean up the crumbs and put the food away. But some places, like New York City, have rats galore. Be sure to consider the overall condition of a prospective apartment building before occupancy. Be alert for excessive gaps under doors, wall holes and other rodent portals.
- ants - Don't feed them and they might go away. Sound buildings will tight seals will prevent most ant migrations into your living space.
Much more to come!