Important Tips for Renting
Inspecting an apartment
When you view rental accommodations, check these important features:
- Are there locks on all doors?
- Do the appliances work? Check the fridge and try turning on the stove.
- Do the shower and taps work? Try turning them on.
- Is the carpet clean? Ask the landlord if the carpet will be cleaned or changed before you move in.
- How loud is traffic noise when the windows are open?
- What does the rent include? For example, will you have to pay extra for any of the following: heat, electricity, cable, laundry facilities, fridge, stove, storage, or parking?
- Never send any money before seeing the rental unit and meeting with the landlord face to face. If they are asking you to send money before seeing the place, it is probably a scam and should be avoided!
- Do not sign a lease that states how long you must stay unless you intend to stay for that period of time.
- Make sure you have a written tenancy agreement with the owner or manager of the property.
- Do not take over a rental from another student who is renting and leaving the country without having your own agreement in writing with the landlord.
- Do not sign any documents that you don’t fully understand. If you need clarification make an appointment with an ISA
- Designate someone who lives in BC to act as your agent in dispute resolution in case you need to return to your home country before the landlord has returned your security deposit. Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch to do this.
- Do participate in a move-in and a move-out inspection, or else risk losing your deposit. Don’t pay a deposit for a place you are not sure you want, or you may lose your deposit.
- Do get an original copy of your condition inspection report after you sign it. Don’t sign the condition inspection form until you indicate on the report if you disagree with any of your landlord’s statements on the report.
- Do make sure you have your landlord’s name, phone number, and address before you have a problem. Don’t expect to be reimbursed for repairs you do yourself unless your landlord agrees to it in writing.
- Do insist on receiving a notice of rent increase on the proper form. Don’t sign something agreeing to an above guideline rent increase if you don’t want to accept it.
Finally … do trust your instincts. If your first meeting with a potential landlord is not good, it’s likely you’ll have problems with that person and should not rent from him/her. Don’t sign an agreement or pay a deposit unless you are absolutely sure you want to move in to the place.
For a more detailed explanation of the topics mentioned, here please refer to The Tenant Survival Guide.