Few things can decimate your quality of life quicker than a bad apartment, and while finding a suitable, comfortable, and––most of all––safe place to live is crucial to our well being, we don't always get what we want.
It's even more difficult when you don't know what you should be looking for. Thanks to Redditor foogers, who asked, "What are some early warning signs for a bad apartment?" the rest of you can begin to take some very valuable notes.
"Tells you that the landlord is a total piece of work..."
Honestly even the postings tend to be littered with red flags. All caps, weird and overly specific rules, hostile tone-- "ONLY apply if you are CLEAN and RESPONSIBLE! SKETCHY APPLICANTS WILL BE DENIED! Washing machine is for CLOTHES ONLY!! Pets OK but NO REPTILES!!!"
Tells you that the landlord is a total piece of work, that some weird stuff went down in the apartment before, or, more likely, both.
"Left a review..."
Inexperienced management staff. Found an apartment online and decided to see it in person. Made an appointment with the staff and when I got there no one was there. Rescheduled and they showed up late. Got a showing of the apartment and decided to submit an application. Got home a while later and notice the staff took out 3 application fees on my bank statement. Called them and asked wtf, they kept saying I was lying and that they only charged one application fee. They made me go down to their office and print out bank statements to show the transactions fees. At this point I was just over this place.
Left a review and they claimed I was lying and that they never even showed me an apartment on property?
Yeah I can only imagine what living there would have been like, but if the staff doesn't know what they're doing you're going to have a bad time.
"If the ad..."
If the ad has a bunch of pictures of the neighborhood and no pictures of inside the apartment.
"If the apartment..."
If the apartment has a garbage room on each floor with a chute, go and look at it. If it reeks, if it has garbage juice on the floor, and if people leave their trash all over the place, leave immediately as that apartment will definitely have a roach problem.
You can find a building where people aren't all lazy disgusting pigs.
Check closets, under the sink, and other out-of-the-way places for roach and mouse traps. I've been to some places that had been cleaned up pretty nicely, had a fresh coat of paint, etc., but when I find those traps I always cut and run.
"You don't have a thermostat..."
You don't have a thermostat to control your own heating and cooling. Or there is one but it's just for show. Common in pre 1980 apartment buildings in the North East.
"If you see just one bug..."
If the place is not freshly painted look for signs of bed bug infestation. You will see little patches about the size of a quarter that look like a bunch of little black dots. Like someone shook a paint brush there. These nests are often on a wall, in corners and around electrical outlets. If you see just one bug, particularly if the place is furnished, ask to see pest control records. A person may be able to deal with a few roaches or whatever, but bed bugs will ruin your life.
Handshake offers that are not on your lease. Promises for a set rent that won't increase, "extra" privileges, priority on the maintenance list, generally anything that seems like a perk and isn't on your lease agreement. This happens a lot to people who haven't rented before. Anything that is not on your lease agreement is not a guarantee at all. On the other hand they'll also flaunt things that are on the agreement by making them seem like luxuries. When you're faced with a promise ask where it is on the lease if you don't see it. Property managers and people in the lease office are there to fill units not be your buddy. No matter how nice they are.
"A very distinct smell..."
A very distinct smell (not necessarily bad, but not good either) or an overpowering air freshener smell. It usually means that there's mold, the apartment wasn't well-maintained or a dead body.
"Don't worry, we have every apartment professionally cleaned before move in." Never had a good experience when they point that out in the tour. Same thing with "That's on our list to get fixed."