It’s day one in your brand new apartment and things are looking pretty good. You’re feeling optimistic, but you’ve been burned by landlords in the past. If you’re worried about moving day blues a few years in the future, make sure to follow this checklist as soon as you arrive.
Before you do anything to your apartment, take pictures of everything. You’ll need to know exactly how and where everything was prior to you moving in! After you’ve taken the big, space-covering photos, go around to find the little areas. Are there any stains or scratches that didn’t get painted over, covered up, or buffed out? Get pictures of those. If they’re near an appliance or water source, it might be necessary to find out what’s causing them—especially if it’s not you.
You don’t want to wait till you move out to let your landlord know that was there before. You also don’t want to pay for damage you did not cause. Take pictures of EVERYTHING to well document the state of the apartment. Email them to yourself or landlord to leave a paper trail with a date so they will know it wasn’t taken later. It’s better to be prepared than sorry.
Your next step is to check all of the appliances in the apartment. Do any of them not work? Are there issues with an appliance you know you’ll need in the next few days? Air conditioning should be your top priority for spring and summer moves, and for fall and winter, keep an eye on heating. Something like a broken dishwasher might not be a major issue, but you don’t want to boil or freeze.
To avoid frustrating situations and lost key fees, find a locksmith as quickly as possible and make some spare copies. Be sure to keep them safe somewhere, perhaps with a trusted family member or friend, and always be aware of exactly how many backups you have. It’s easier to copy a key than it is to replace one! Don’t forget to do this again—or ask for extras from the start—if you ever need to change the locks for any reason. You’ll wish you planned ahead If you ever get stuck outside your apartment in the middle of the night.
Documentation, Communication, and Paper Trails
Get into the habit of documenting everything early on. If anything happens in your home, you need to be aware of it! It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a record of the issues in your home. If something needs to be fixed, or you’re planning to make any major changes, email or text your landlord instead of calling them. As for the pictures you’ve taken of your place, make sure those are somewhere safe with a date on them—a private album on Facebook could work, or downloading them onto your computer to get their file information.
While not every landlord is going to be bad, not all of them will be good either. Make your life easier by planning ahead! It can save you a lot of headache, heartache, and maybe your security deposit too.