This is the fifth article in a mini-series on how to find an apartment in Norwalk (or pretty much anywhere for that matter).
In this fifth article, I will touch base on what you can expect when you move in and move out of your apartment.
What should I expect when moving in?
Expect to have a few hiccups when you move in to your new place. Remember that your apartment isn’t brand new. In most cases, many tenants have lived there before you, and you might notice some things you didn’t notice before you signed the lease. You should alert your landlord and your real estate agent to the issues you have noticed. The issues should be addressed promptly by the landlord depending on how distuptive they are to your enjoyment.
For example, I just had a client move in to a condo and he noticed the door bell isn’t working. It is reasonable for the landlord to wait until after the weekend to send out their handyman to fix the doorbell. In most cases, the lanldord doesn’t even know there is an issue with the doorbell until you mention it to them. Just tell the pizza guy he will have to knock on the next delivery!
What if there is a major problem?
If there is a major issue, the landlord should be “all over it” and resolve is ASAP. What is a major issue? They could include: no heat in the winter, leaking pipes or roof, clogged toilets, etc.
If there are issues you notice when you move in, alert the landlord ASAP so they not only fix it right away, but know that you weren’t the one to cause the issue.
Document your move-in
I suggest to tenants that they take some pictures when they move in to a place. They should also make a list of “defects” in the property. These normally are very minor imperfections that don’t need to be fixed, but the tenant just wants to be sure they aren’t blamed for them when they move out. These could include: small dents in appliances, cracks in ceramic tiles, a few boxes left in the attic, a scratch in the hardwood floor, a stain in the carpet.
You can send the list to the landlord along with the pictures, but be sure you are clear in that you don’t expect these to be fixed while you live there (unless they are a major issue). Be sure you make it clear that this is just so the landlord knows about the pre-existing defects so you get your security deposit back!
Getting close to move-out
Ideally you should keep your apartment in good shape the entire time you are living there. If not, just be sure you keep it in good condition for the last 30-60 days you are there. During the last 30-60 days, the lanldord is going to want to show it to new prospective tenants, and they will appreciate it if the apartment looks good when they or their Realtor comes by to show the apartment. This will leave a positive impression in their head, and give you a better chance of getting your entire security deposit back.
Make sure the apartment is left in “as good or better” condition compared to when you moved in. If you know you are a bit messy, hire a cleaning company to do a good cleaning when you move out. This might set you back $200 or so, but if the lanldord has to do it, they will likely deduct more than that.