Apartment living has its attraction in modern buildings and good locations, but what to check before signing the tenancy? Tips for viewing the apartment, checking the building management and expenses need to be paid on top of rents
To be checked before Renting an Apartment
City Apartments in Prime Location
Apartment living has for many city lovers its attraction because of central locations, easy access to work and entertainment. If you want to, you will see the slightly shift towards apartment living and that for several reasons; smaller households, better lifestyle close to work and amenities, modern home design and not to forget—good paid city jobs.
In my own experience the city lifestyle is not only for young people appealing as it supports circumstances for singles, couples and for good income earning families alike. For Millennials budget apartments are smaller and can be a real saver in terms of time and money for commuting, costs for living, etc. Busy people prefer convenience and a secure environment.
Regardless what your reasons for renting an apartment are—the following tips should help you to avoid being trapped.
Efficient online hunt
When monitoring the Web for new listings, search engines can help make the search more efficient by setting up an alert to be notified. Web services offer all sorts of notifications for saving time, try the alert system at Trademe.com.
Meet the agent/landlord to view the apartment
The tenancy application process does not differ, but the thorough inspection of the apartment needs to confirm that everything meets your requirements (size, view, sun light, quality of fittings, appliances, etc). Do not hesitate turning on water taps and check water pressure, hot-water temperature and no banging in the pipes. The major difference to stand-alone homes is that the apartment building is owned by a Body Corporate (BC) that imposes enforceable BC rules. By law the BC rules are attached to the tenancy agreement. You cannot avoid that legal requirement. That is why you should ask your agent/landlord for a print out having a glimpse at them before signing a tenancy. For instance a “no pet policy” could be one of them.
Visit the common areas, check the building management
High raised apartment buildings differ in standards, the year of construction (building code), and the way they are managed by the body corporate. If you need more information regarding the due diligence on apartments, here are an entire series of blog post especially for apartments owners.
What would you check on the apartment building?
· Safety such as access security, lights and signs emergency exit, safety information, contact details for body corporate and building manager
· Find the display of the Code of Compliance Certificate or ask for that; does the building comply with the earthquake safety standards?
· Weather-tightness; apartment buildings are prone to leaks; mould, water marks or discolorations tell you a lot about the building and the state of maintenance. You don’t need to be a building inspector, follow your gut-feelings.
· Cleanliness of the common areas, especially the rubbish collection area and the conditions of floor coverings, lift, walls, lobby, letter boxes, fire safety (sprinklers), staircase (escape routes), etc
If possible, spend time to visit the building twice during the day and darkness to get a complete picture.
Note: Know about the regulations to fix leaky buildings and earthquake strengthening. If that apartment building does not meet the new regulations, huge sums of money for doing that work would trigger rent increases and disturbances in future.
To check before signing the tenancy
Have you been living in an apartment before? If not, here are few things to know for enjoying the amenities in the building. Choosing an apartment based solely on the interior of the rooms could bring you tension and tears. In high density housing the community around your apartment makes it or breaks it. Feeling sound or safe, having good neighbours and a peaceful night’s sleep make the difference.
· House rules and Body Corporate Rules are by law attached to tenancy agreement. It does not matter if you have a copy or not. Any changes to body corporate rule take effect by being notified.
· Type of residents form communities in an apartment building (home owner-occupants, renters, students, professionals, families). Large high-rise buildings and blocks with cheaper flats for students have their own specific. The climate in smaller buildings with a higher percentage of home owner-occupants is more enjoyable.
· Be informed about expenses for services in addition to rent (hot-water charge, electricity, and subscriptions for cable and SKY television, WiFi, Telephone lines, Internet, parking, storage lockers)
· Be aware of unexpected costs such as fees for triggering false (fire) alarms in smoke-free zones, the forgotten roast in the oven, or breaching the BC rules.
Choosing an apartment requires due diligence on interior of the rooms, the building management and the letting agent or landlord. That includes gathering knowledge about the communities in the building as well as the neighbourhood to avoid social isolation or unhappiness. Good luck
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Renter’s Blog lead to a real person, IT professional, investor, landlord and business owner with interests in sharing experiences. Life is a dream with a deadline, happiness comes from making the right choices and having realistic expectations.
Confession: I have been a happy renter for more than 25 years before buying a family home and later becoming involved in property investments and developments.
I used to live in apartments or rental homes, worked in many different countries and experienced different housing standards and renting cultures. I would love to see a social and legal frame work around housing policies that supports renters and landlords alike.