Faulty wiring can spark a fire; mold can make you ill. Steer clear of these and other hazards by spotting hidden flaws before you rent an apartment. Since there’s little oversight of rental units or landlords, it’s up to you, the tenant, to make sure that your next apartment or house is safe, sanitary and secure. Given that the last thing you want to do is discover problems after you’ve lugged your stuff in and signed a one-year commitment, proceed with caution.
What to bring with you: Camera. Snap pictures of any areas that cause concern. Go through these with the landlord before you move in. Flashlight. Use this to see under sinks, in cupboards and behind appliances. Outlet tester. Also called a receptacle tester, this is a $5 to $10 device that instantly determines whether an electrical outlet is grounded and wired correctly. Tall umbrella. How else are you going to reach the test button on the ceiling smoke detectors? Tape measure. Not only can you check whether furniture will fit, but you can get an exact height on the ceiling and compare it to what you’re used to. White tennis shoes. Wear these if you suspect fleas or bedbugs. If they’re present, you’ll spot them jumping on your shoes. Remember to remove your shoes before going inside your own home.