As the first college semester starts to wind down, many residents are looking for roommates to being next semester. Here are some tips when considering renting an apartment with friends or for when you are renting with a roommate you are just meeting.
1. A pre-lease group meeting.
Get together for the sole purpose of sorting out each of your expectations. Do not sugarcoat your feelings. We often think “we are all good friends and we have gotten along well for years. We are all very compatible.” Yes, but you have not lived together. One neat freak and two slobs is a dangerous combination.
2. Agree on house rules before going ahead.
Here are some sample questions to get started. Who does the dishes? How late can friends stay in the evening? How are food costs shared? Will food be stored daily so as not to attract critters? There are plenty of other questions to come up with together. An agreement between all roommates with some written rules will help in the future.
3. Are you moving? Finding the right place.
Maybe you are moving out of another apartment community and moving into a new apartment. Look around if you are moving. Is the apartment sparkling clean and ready to move-in? This is a good sign about the landlord or manager. If it is clean at the start, you will be expected to leave it in the same condition.
Look carefully at what is going on outside the apartment. Try to get a glimpse of other tenants or neighbors. Are the hallways well lite and clean? Is the building itself in good condition? If dirt, spider webs, dirty light fixtures with burnt out bulbs, broken windows, loose banisters, sticky doors and more, all represent a red flag. What is the condition of cars in the parking lot? Is the parking lot well-lit?
Schedule the appointment in the early evening, when people are returning from work. This can provide a good sense of place. Ask people, "I am thinking of renting here, what can you tell me about living here?" and listen closely to what they say.