Moving can be an exciting life change if you are relocating to a new city or getting a place on your own for the first time. It can also be stressful as you look for a new home in a safe neighborhood that you can afford. As you conduct your search for a new apartment, be sure you look beyond the neighborhood statistics and examine the safety of the building you are considering moving into as well. Then ask these five questions to the building’s owner or manager before signing your new lease.
What is the turnover rate for renters?
Buildings with tenants who have been around for years or decades is a good sign that they are happy living there. If people move out quickly, say, after the first year of the lease is up, it could be a bad omen of things to come. Think about following up on this question by asking if you could speak to long-time residents.
Do you change the locks after every tenant?
Some places do this as standard practice, others will do it if asked, and still others will do it and charge you for this vital safety precaution. How the landlord reacts to this question could give you a clue to how they will treat you regarding other maintenance requests in the future.
How old is the building?
When you understand how old the structure is, you can ask specific follow-up questions about health and safety conditions. You will want to ask about lead in the paint and pipes and asbestos in the ceiling with older buildings. You can ask about the company’s policies around elevator and escalator construction safety training or if units have individual fuse boxes for newer construction.
When is the last time an exterminator was here?
This is a great question to get at general upkeep and responsiveness of the building’s maintenance protocols. A well-run building will have an exterminator come by regularly (quarterly or annually) to prevent infestations of rodents or bugs. If experts are only brought in after a problem is found, or worse, individual units are responsible for this, you will want to think twice before moving in.
Moving into a new home can be a great adventure. Renting a poorly maintained apartment could make it quickly turn into a nightmare. By asking questions, you can be sure the next place you live is safe!