I finally got my security deposit back! Woo hoo! I had thought that it was going to be a lot more difficult because of all the crap the landlords put me through this past year. Surprisingly, they gave it up without a fight and I am thankful for that!
I’m so glad that it’s over.
Before I got my apartment, I did tons of research. Yet, there were still things that I wish I had known before I locked into that darn lease.
I want to share it with you all because no one should ever have to go through what I went through. Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to be an all inclusive list. Make sure you get more information from other sources. This is just stuff that i didn’t see mentioned in other guides that I read when I was looking for my first apartment.
So here we go!
7 Things I should have known before I got my first apartment
1 – Do your research.
Man, you really have to go into investigation mode. Seriously. Google the area.. see what they have nearby. This is especially important if you don’t drive. You need to make sure that you have important things like a supermarket, laundromat, and convenience stores nearby. Sure, it’s a beautiful apartment, but it will lose its shine really quick if it takes you 4 hours to get to work.
My building had a laundry room but they were always in use when I was around, or the card machine would give me problems. I ended up having to use a laundromat nearby to do my laundry. Most apartments (in NYC) don’t allow you to have a washer and dryer in the unit. So make sure that you check out the area and that you have everything that you will need close by.
2 – Check out your neighborhood at night.
A neighborhood that may look nice and quiet in the early hours of the morning may be a party central or super sketchy at night. You don’t want to have to deal with people blasting music and yelling at crazy hours at night if you have kids or like getting a good night’s sleep.
3 – Check the floors!
Mannnnnn! I wish I did this to begin with. This is super duper important if you will be living above someone. Make sure you check the floors to see if they are especially creaky. My floors were hardwood. They were beautiful, but after I moved in, they became the worst thing in the world. My floors creaked so bad that our downstairs neighbors would bang up at us CONSTANTLY. It wasn’t like we were stomping around either.. It was for just regular walking around, dropping something, or even cleaning. It got so bad that we had to tiptoe around the apartment. They knew our every movement and it wasn’t fun. So really, check it out the floors!
4 – Make sure that you also check everything!
I mean it, open up the fridge, cabinets, oven – everything. Flip all the switches and check all the faucets. You need to make sure that you catch whatever issues there may be before you move in. In my case, the oven was too big for where they placed it. So if I wanted to open it up, I’d have to turn it sideways. Luckily, I caught it before I moved in, otherwise I would’ve been stuck with it.
5 – Get paranoid and know your rights
Don’t take anyone’s word for anything. Always assume that someone is out to get you. Take a bunch of pictures of your apartment before you move in as evidence. You need to document the condition of your apartment when you get it. You don’t know what your landlord will try to pull when you move out. They may try to say that you caused damages just to keep your security deposit. If you don’t have evidence, you’ll lose in a court case.
6 – Make a paper trail!
This goes along with my previous statement. If you ever have any issues that you need to address to the landlord, make sure that you also write a letter. Keep a copy of that letter and send it by certified mail. If they promise you something, make sure that you always get it in writing. Keep copy of phone records and highlight your calls to and from the landlord. You’ll want to prepare for anything.
My cousin’s ceiling fell in from a huge leak due to negligence on the building’s side. She had been calling the superintendent for weeks about a small leak. They kept putting it off until her ceiling finally caved in and destroyed her professional speakers. She had a lot of water damage because of this. However, when she went to court they tried to say that she was never available. Luckily, she had the copy of her call records. All the calls that she had placed to the superintendent and the landlords were highlighted. That’s how she proved that she was calling them, but they had never went to check it out.
7 – Find a place that suits your life-style
Don’t move into a quiet building that is full of older people if you are a young twenty-something year old that wants to watch a sports game, or throw a party now-n-then… that’s just not going to fly. They will call the cops on you! The same applies if you’re a working couple with kids. Don’t move into a building that’s full of younger people who like to play loud music, laugh really loud, or have friends over. You want to be able to go home and feel good about where you live. You don’t want to feel like you don’t belong or that you are disrupting others.
So, those are my seven things that I wish I had known. Hopefully these will help you guys out and stop you before you make a huge mistake.
A lease is a contract. Most of the time landlords will NOT let you break it… even if you think you have a good reason. Unless you’re going off into the military or need to move due to serious health issues, you may not be able to weasel your way out of the lease. So make sure that you read it thoroughly and know what you are getting yourself into.