By Judith Akoto
Let’s face it, we don’t always remember to watch for healthy home indicators (or lack thereof) when searching for an apartment. Looking for the “right” apartment can be a very stressful, time-consuming, and a daunting task – especially if you are without the services of a real estate agent. Stress and all, it helps to be mindful of a few things while in search of an apartment.
For starters, when viewing a potential apartment, look for any signs of mold or dampness. Chances are, if the apartment is stuffy, there may be an issue with ventilation. Look for cracks in the walls, bulging ceilings, evidence of leaks, water damage, or staining. Make sure the exhaust fans in the bathrooms work properly, and check to see if there’s a range hood in the kitchen. Also, be sure all the doors and windowsills are weather-tight. Proper ventilation is needed in order to keep your home dry.
Every dwelling needs smoke detectors. Laws in many states require landlords to install and maintain smoke detectors in each unit. Before you decide on an apartment, check for smoke detectors on every level, outside each bedroom, and in common living areas. Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are highly recommended near the bedroom area. CO is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. If you are unsure of laws regarding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your area, you should contact your local fire marshal for information. If CO detectors are not required, it is worth the investment to purchase one and have it properly installed. As a tenant, it is your responsibility to maintain the detectors. A good reminder to check and/or replace detector batteries is when you change time clocks in the spring and fall.
Stay tuned for Part II of “Looking for an Apartment?” later this week.