5 Common Mistakes Tenants Make When Moving into an Apartment

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5 Common Mistakes Tenants Make When Moving into an Apartment

Staff Writer · Apr 2, 2010

It’s exciting when you finally find a place to rent, so much so that it’s easy to make a mistake when moving into an apartment. Knowing 5 common mistakes to avoid ahead of time can spare you a lot of hassle in the future.

1. No Inspection Report

Don’t stay in your apartment for more than three days without inspecting it fully and asking your landlord to sign an inspection report. Go through each room and list damages that you find. List even the slightest problem, as it may become a larger problem down the road. Some landlords have a form for this that they’ll ask you to complete. They’ll schedule a walk-through with you to confirm that what you’ve listed is accurate, and they’ll initial each item on the report. This protects you when it’s time to receive your security deposit. You won’t have to pay damages for something that was already damaged when you moved in. Failure to complete this report, however, makes it difficult to prove that you didn’t cause the damage, especially if you rent the apartment for a long time.

2. Apartment Makeovers without Permission

You might think that’s it a great idea to paint the walls in your apartment to match the decor you want to create. However, a common mistake when moving into an apartment is to paint without permission. The apartment doesn’t belong to you, and your paint job may not be marketable to future tenants when you move out. The owner would have to pay to restore the apartment to its original state, and they’ll use your security deposit for that purpose. Check the lease agreement first, and ask your landlord before you paint.

3. Not Checking the Mail Everyday

New tenants have a target on their backs when moving into an apartment. A thief will keep watch over your mailbox for new bank checks, policy statements and other mailings that they can use for identity and monetary theft. Check you mailbox on time everyday during the first month or two that you move in to prevent theft.

4. Avoiding Your Neighbors

Not getting to know your neighbors is a big mistake when moving into an apartment. Introduce yourself when you move in, and make an ongoing effort during your lease term to build relationships. When you’re traveling or away, they’ll be more likely to keep an eye on your apartment for you. Some neighbors are trustworthy and reliable, and you can ask them to walk your dog if they’re willing. Isolating yourself is not the best idea in an apartment community or in a residential neighborhood.

5. Pets without Permission

Don’t assume that your landlord is okay with you having a pet on the premises without first obtaining written permission. This mistake is costly to you, and the pet will be out of a home if your landlord does not want pets in the apartment. If you plan on having pets, get the details of pet ownership spelled out in the lease agreement before moving into an apartment.

Don’t make these mistakes when moving into an apartment. Avoid them for your protection, and to hold on to your security deposit.

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