Inspecting the Property
Bring Tufts Off-Campus Housing Safety and
Housing Code Checklist. Take notes about the various properties
you visit, since they will tend to blur together after you visit a
few. Write down distinctive features that will help you to recall a
particular place. Be observant and pay special attention to safety and
maintenance features. Bring this list and note the apartment, date,
and time you viewed. Share the results with the rest of your group.
Some items you might want to consider include:
- Read the code information and know
what the landlord must provide.
- If you have any concerns about the safety of the property,
call the Local Board of Health
- Is it a safe area? Visit at night with a friend to get a feel
for the neighborhood.
- Check to see if front and rear entrances are well lit at night.
- See if the door has a deadbolt lock and if windows are secured
with locks. All sliding glass doors should have a bar or a stick of
wood in the inside door path to prevent them from being opened from outside.
- Check for safety measures in case of fire. Is there a functional
fire escape? Does the place have working smoke detectors in/near
every bedroom, hallway and basement? Are there two forms of egress?
- If you are renting a house or townhouse, check the basement.
Notice the heating/air conditioning unit and size of the hot water
tank (especially if a number of people are sharing). If you are
renting an apartment, does it have its own thermostat?
- Check the plumbing -- Flush the toilet and run water in the
sinks and tubs to observe flow and drainage of water. Notice any
faucet drips and/or leaking pipes -- especially if you are responsible
for the water bill!
- Run the garbage disposal to see if it works.
- Make sure the appliances are in good working order and that they
have the necessary accessories such as a broiler pan for the oven.
Turn on all burners on the stove and the oven to see if they work,
and check the refrigerator to see if it is cold.
- Contact the appropriate utility companies to find out what the
average utility bills were for previous tenants.
- How thin or thick are the walls? Can you hear the neighbors?
Can they hear you?
- Observe the electrical fixtures for any frayed wiring. Turn
on the lights. Check to see if there are sufficient overhead lights
or if you will need to supplement the lighting with lamps.
- Is there sufficient closet space?
- Do you observe any bug or rodent infestations? Check the cabinets
under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Take a look at how the premises are kept. Appearances of entrances
and hallways are good indications of the type of maintenance you can expect.
- Examine the condition of the walls (paint, plaster, etc.). Will
they be repainted before you move in? (Get it in writing before you
sign the lease!)
- Talk to neighbors and tenants if possible and ask them what they
think of the premises, the neighborhood, and the landlord.
- If the property does not have its own washer/dryer, does the area
have a safe, well-lit laundry place?
- If furnished, what is the condition of the furniture? Notice if
there are any unpleasant odors such as mildew, or pet odors.
- Are the radiators and heaters in good condition?
- Candles, open flames and space heaters are fire hazards and should