Besides the obvious – a front door, running water and electricity – there are some other things a prospective renter should look for. We’ve compiled a list of important considerations that are often overlooked:
This is so important and yet so often forgotten when you fall in love with a unit. Unless you have few hobbies and live the life of an ascetic monk, chances are you’ll need space to store bikes, ski equipment, bed linens, cleaning supplies etc. If the unit doesn’t have sufficient space, ask if there is secure storage elsewhere in the building and how big it is? Is it shared or assigned to your unit alone? Also, is there a separate, secure bike storage locker? Depending on the answers, it is quite possible you may have to rent storage.
If you have a vehicle, ask about parking options and whether or not guest parking is available. You may also want to see the designated parking spot to ensure size and access for your vehicle. If there is no parking in the building, walk or drive around the neighbourhood to see what parking, permit or otherwise, is available. You may want to visit at different times of day to see if nearby spots are always full or empty.
If you like grilling, ask the landlord if barbecues are permitted by the strata or ask to review strata bylaws for the building. Many buildings do not allow them, but some do even have BBQ outlets or common spaces where a BBQ is shared in Summer. It’s always good to check!
Try to arrange a viewing in the evening when people are home from work and you can get a better idea of the sounds you might hear and the general building atmosphere. Also, if the unit is near an elevator, listen to see if you can hear it arriving, door opening etc.
Have a look and ask some questions of the landlord about the security of both the unit and the building. If there is security, observe how well they do their job. If anybody can access the lobby, are they asking guests questions etc. Ask, too, if Airbnb rentals are allowed and how security deals with these temporary guests.
Yes, a horrible thought but worth investigating. Check the building address on the Bed Bug Registry for bug reports.
If you like to cook, make sure there’s a strong, extraction fan over the stove. Some older buildings don’t have fans at all, let alone good ones. This will result in grease build up and persistent food smells. Less important, but worth checking out, is the extraction fan in the bathroom(s). If there isn’t one, nor a window, mildew will be a bigger problem.
We know it is easy to fall in love with a place simply because the view is good or the current tenant shares the same taste in decor as you, but set aside your emotional response and consider these practicalities before committing.
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