Apartment living can be great. It has its downsides though, and one is that there’s lots of things you wish you were in charge of, but aren’t.
Regulations vary from landlord to landlord and every lease has its share of fine print.
Here are five things you should never assume you’re in charge of when renting an apartment:
Yes, growing your own food can be very practical and those DIY soda bottle planters would definitely liven up your fire escape, but check with your landlord first. Many property owners will prefer that you not put things on the fire escape at all, but some will give you the go-ahead as long as you leave a clear path for evacuating the building if necessary. Rules will vary in the cases of balconies and patios as well. Some landlords will ask that you be sure you take precautions to ensure that the soil and water won’t stain the floor of the balcony or patio, and that you’re not using any gardening materials that could be flammable. Still others will prefer that you don’t keep large plants at all. Even indoor ones can sometimes attract bugs and cause water damage, so make sure you do your research.
Balconies and Patios
Having one of these doesn’t necessarily mean smoking on it is permissible. You may not want to walk all the way down the stairs and outside for a late-night smoke break, but some landlords will require you to, as odds are your balcony is close to other residents’ windows, meaning the smoke could get into their apartments. Some other things a lot of tenants assume are fair game for balconies and patios are grilling and drying clothes. It’s not uncommon for landlords to have rules against these things, so be sure to ask them first.
The More the Merrier
You might want to celebrate moving into your new apartment by throwing a party or just having a few guests over. However, for the safety of the property and yourself, a lot of properties will restrict the number of people you may have in your apartment at once. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your friends over, but you should definitely know the maximum occupancy and keep it in mind. Some small studio and efficiency apartments will cap you at as few as four or five people inside the apartment at once. In a few cases, there will also be rules about overnight guests that you won’t want to find out about after the fact.
You Don’t Have to Shovel/Mow
This is technically something you shouldn’t assume you’re not in charge of, but it’s important to include nonetheless. You may think that renting means you’re off the hook when it comes to snow and lawn maintenance, but that isn’t always the case. In a lot of properties, especially duplexes, you’ll have to take turns with the other tenants seeing to these things. If you’ve got a parking spot on the property, it’s also likely that you’ll be responsible for shoveling that yourself when it snows. If you’re apartment hunting, this is something you should look into now, rather than after move-in.
Your building may be pet-friendly, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stipulations. A lot of animal shelters require proof of your landlord’s approval before they will let you adopt, but in case your fur-baby is coming into your life through a different means, you should still touch base with your landlord first. Most pet-friendly landlords will ask you to pay an extra fee or a slightly higher rent for each pet, to cover any possible damage your furry friend might do to the property. On top of that, there will be rules a lot of the time regarding what size and type of animal is allowed to live with you. We don’t want you and Spot getting into any trouble because of rules you didn’t know about!
A good rule of thumb is to skim over your lease and run it by your landlord any time you’re considering doing something that might potentially damage the property in any way or ruffle feathers with the other tenants. Don’t fret though; if you’re conscientious about the rules and you communicate well with your neighbors and landlord, apartment living will be smooth sailing!
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