Larger apartment complexes often set up a “model” apartment to show potential tenants what the set up looks like. However, this model apartment isn’t the actual apartment they will be renting.
Before signing a lease agreement with the landlord, insist upon seeing the specific unit you’ll be renting. Signing a lease sight unseen could leave a tenant severely disappointed, and stuck with a rental unit for a year because of the lease. Just like a landlord is going to do a background check on you through a rental history report, you need to do a background check on what you’ll be renting.
Reasons to view the ACTUAL apartment before you rent include:
- Documenting damage. This gives you the opportunity to ask the landlord to repair damages, giving you a fresh start in the unit. It also gives you a chance to make note of imperfections, so your landlord won’t be able to withhold any of your security deposit when you decide to move out.
- Meet your neighbors. As you tour the unit, can you hear voices through the walls or footsteps on the ceiling above you? You may discover the apartment isn’t as quiet as the model unit was.
- How’s the view? Does the unit up for rent overlook a park, or into another apartment’s kitchen window? This view is going to be yours for at least the duration of your lease, so make sure it’s something you want to see.
Small things like a thorough cleaning and giving the walls a fresh color of paint shouldn’t break a potential lease agreement. But on your pre-signing tour, if the apartment doesn’t meet your standards, keep looking for something that will.
If you are still interested after viewing the actual unit and want to maximize your chances to get the unit it may pay to check your eviction history report and fix any errors before landlords find them – see a Sample Rental History Report for Renters.