As a renter, you may not be able to be picky about where you live. If you need to find a place by the first, you sometimes have to take what you can get. But even if you’re pressed for time, you don’t want to end up living in a dump. Moving is expensive, so if you can find a place to stay long-term, you’ll keep some cash in your pocket.

Make sure the rental unit is in good repair.

The biggest indicator of quality is the property’s condition. Condition will also tell you about the landlord – deferred maintenance may mean the landlord doesn’t care properly for his units. Here are some things to look for:

Roof – Does it appear to be in good shape? Are there shingles missing? Are the shingles curling or split?

Siding – Is there peeling paint? Is it dented, missing, or broken? Is it swollen or rotten in places?

Gutters and downspouts – Are they present and intact?

Sheetrock – Are there big holes in the walls or ceilings? Is there any water damage?

Paint – Is the paint in good condition? Are there scuffs or dirty spots?

Smoke detectors – Are they present and do they work?

Carbon monoxide detector – Is it present and does it work?

Handrails – Are handrails present in stairwells? Are they stable?

Stove – Do all functions work properly?

Sinks and tubs – Do all sinks and tubs drain well?

Window coverings – Are they present and in good condition?

Refrigerator – Is it in good working order?

Dishwasher – Do all functions work properly?

Toilets – Do all toilets flush and refill effectively?

Flooring – Is the flooring clean and free of rips, burns, or other defects?

Doors – Are all doors present? Do they open and shut easily?

Closets – Do all closets have rods or shelves and all the necessary hardware?

Water heater – Does the water get hot in a reasonable amount of time?

Furnace – Does the heat kick on quickly? Is it effective?

Plumbing – Is there any evidence of leaks (water stains under sinks, soft subfloor, wet sheetrock)?


When you look at a rental, you should be able to look at these things and test them. It may take some time, but this will be your home, so it’s best to know upfront if everything works.

If you find anything to be damaged or deficient, ask the landlord when it will be fixed. If it’s not going to be fixed immediately, decide if that’s something you can live with. If the landlord gives you a date in the future for the issue to be fixed, have him put it in writing so you can remind him of it at the proper time.

Depending on the issue and your skills, you may be able to get discounted rent in exchange for fixing the issue–some landlords waive a security deposit in exchange for cleaning, for example. You can always propose a deal; you might get a bargain.

Email us at if you have any further questions about choosing a good rental, and we’ll do what we can to find you an answer!

Be Sociable, Share!