If you are looking at apartments for rent in Windsor Ontario, make sure you follow a few steps before you sign a lease. Once you add your signature to the dotted line, you will be responsible for the rental payments whether you like the place or not.
1. Check your credit report:
Some landlords insist on a good credit history, while other landlords not so much. Depending on what your score is may very well determine where you will live. If you notice any errors or fraud (and surprisingly, this is fairly common), regarding your credit score report it right away. If your score needs improvement, start paying bills on time and make arrangements for any delinquent and defaulted accounts.
2. Remember: Rents can rise!
Rents are rising thanks to the number of people renting today who have either sold their homes, lost them in foreclosure or can’t afford to buy. Because of this, rent prices go up. If you find an affordable apartment now, remember the price can go up. If you are a first time renter, don’t be caught off guard when your lease is up and you notice your payment has increased dramatically. A good rule of thumb: Find an apartment that is below your budget so a higher rent won’t hurt so much.
3. Narrow down the neighbourhoods and research!
Once you find what you can afford, do your research and evaluate the apartment building as well as the neighbourhood. Your number one priority should be an area that is safe and quiet. Don’t rush into renting if you are unsure as what may look fine during the day, can be a totally different experience in the evening. Tour the area at various times of the day and night, especially on the weekends when tenants are usually home. If possible, walk around and ask residents their opinions of the complex. Are repairs made quickly? Is it quiet at night or during the day? Is there any crime? Go online and see if there are any reviews of the apartments.
4. Ask questions:
First time renters are often embarrassed to ask what they consider silly questions, but never hesitate to get as much information as you can from your landlord before you agree to rent. Possible questions include:
- When is rent due?
- Is there a manager on-site?
- What if I have an emergency repair?
- Is there parking for visitors?
Carefully go over the lease and again, if something doesn’t make sense, ask for a clarification.
5. Get renter’s insurance:
Most apartment buildings will want to see proof that you have renter’s insurance before you move in. Fortunately, this is usually very affordable and covers you in case of theft, fire or flooding depending on your policy. Shop around for the best rate.
6. Have a final walk-through:
Don’t assume that all repairs or cleaning have been completed. Take a walk with your landlord prior to moving in or go by yourself but if you notice any damages, take a photo and alert management right away. Make it a point to:
- Test the faucets and water temperature
- Check all lights are working properly
- Confirm appliances work, including refrigerator
- Check for any leaks or water damage under sinks
- Windows open and shut properly
- Heating/Air conditioning are functioning
- Look for any signs of rodents or insects by checking underneath sinks for droppings.
- Window coverings including blinds are all present
- Flooring, including carpeting, is clean and undamaged.
Keep in mind, that you may see some wear and tear, especially if you are renting an older apartment, however, it should be clean and running properly.
Remember, it’s never good to sign a year-long lease only to discover that the apartment you selected is not what you wanted. An undesirable living arrangement can create havoc to your life, so don’t rush to sign a lease if you are not absolutely certain that you will be quite happy for the next 12 months. While renting an apartment may seem like a pretty easy thing to do, it really does take some research and should never be taken lightly. This is a decision that should be well thought out because landlords view a tenant breaking a lease very seriously and may not hesitate to pursue matters legally if there is a problem.