It can be an exciting time to move into a new apartment. However, there can also be significant problems and stressful events if you don’t take the time to give that space a thorough inspection.
Landlords and property managers aren’t perfect. They can miss items that should have been corrected. The apartment walkthrough is your opportunity to note what problems exist before moving in, ensuring that you’re not charged for their repair once it is time to move out.
Since every apartment is a little different, it helps to schedule some extra time during this process to ensure nothing gets missed. Even if the landlord or supervisor walks through the unit with you, try to take pictures of the problems and place the information on your inspection list.
If you’re not sure what to watch for during the walkthrough, this guide can help you see some of the less obvious red flags that sometimes exist.
Top Items to Inspect During an Apartment Walkthrough
You don’t know what to expect when entering a new apartment. It could be a perfect space, or everything could feel like a potential disaster.
You can know for sure what side your apartment falls on by taking the time to complete a thorough walkthrough. Here are the primary issues to review, even if you’re filling out an inspection checklist alone.
1. Safety Features
A functional safety system is the first item to review during an apartment walkthrough. You should have working fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Some things might need to be brought with you because of the building’s age, but don’t compromise on this space.
Review the hallways and common areas for enough space to leave if an emergency occurs. Each sleeping area should have an escape point. The bars on the windows should be up to the current building code.
2. Doors and Windows
There shouldn’t be any problems with the doors and windows to your NYC apartment. These entries must have ways to secure them while having operational equipment. Test all the doorknobs to ensure they turn and work correctly.
Ask the landlord for new keys for the locks. If that isn’t an option, request for the waves to be replaced. You don’t want someone from a past tenancy having easy access to your new home.
It also helps to look for loose screens, potential drafts, and secure locks that don’t wobble.
3. Sinks and Faucets
Water leaks are inconvenient for everyone. But, if you’re moving into an apartment, you don’t want to be charged for a pre-existing problem! When performing the apartment walkthrough, it helps to look for possible plumbing problems in advance.
Signs of water damage can be somewhat sneaky. You might feel a squishy floor by the toilet or notice stains in cabinets or vanities. Look at the tub to see if tile or grout is missing.
It helps to ask if you’ll be sharing a water heater in your building or if the unit has one of its own for you to use.
4. Check the Appliances
Most NYC apartments come with essential appliances. That means you can access an oven, a stove, a fridge, and hot water. In addition, some units might include a dishwasher, a washing machine, and a dryer.
Before agreeing to anything in your apartment lease, it is essential to review these appliances to ensure they operate correctly.
Try to test each one, including all the different elements, to ensure that the equipment functions as expected. Ovens and refrigerators should be clean and ready to use.
The freezer should feel cold, even if the appliance was turned off to save power until the apartment was rented. Each drawer should open correctly.
The heat and air conditioning should function as expected. If anything smells or sounds funny, note the concern on the inspection report.
5. Review the Electrical
The outlets and switches should function as expected in your new apartment. However, if lights have multiple buttons or you have unusual circumstances to manage, the walkthrough is the perfect time to take care of the situation.
You’ll want to look for a phone, internet, and cable jacks during this time. If none are there, try to speak with the landlord about what it will take to have the essentials installed that you need.
As a final step, think about the overall conditions that you see. Is the carpet or flooring worn out? Does the paint peel from the walls? Do the blinds or curtains open and close? Look at every surface to protect your investment, and don’t be afraid to move on if you don’t like what you see.