8 Tips for Tenants Looking for A New Pad

November 22nd, 2010 · 4 Comments · Tenant Resources

I meet an awful lot of tenants in my wanderings while renting apartments on behalf of owners plus I was a tenant myself years ago. I’ve also talked to many good landlords about their own experiences as tenants. There have been many changes in the industry since I stopped renting and many improvements in customer service. However I still hear numerous horror stories about landlords.

My 8 Tips for Finding A New Pad

Now I deal with landlords all day long and most of them are good guys, but now that I’m grown up I realize that the reason I had such a hard time finding a decent landlord and apartment was because I didn’t do my homework or the right things.

  1. Rent the Landlord – Is the landlord sane? Landlord #2 showed signs of being a little off his rocker from the first meeting I had with him.
  2. Take Your Time – The first apartment I found while in town for 3 days in a cramped room with no AC in the middle of August with my mom. You may want to devote more than three days to finding out about your new area before moving to the heart of Parkdale. Just saying…
  3. WYSIWYG – ( What You See Is What You Get) You see a place in an area you like but it’s a dump, but the owner promises to fix it all before you move in. Assume that you may end up getting exactly what you see right now. If he wants a deposit give $100 and tell him that you’ll get the rest when it’s finished. If not….walk!
  4. Be Ready To Act – Get your proof of employment, credit report, and ID ready before you go shopping. I can’t tell you how many people take an application and say they’ll get back to me, I don’t hear from them for a few days, then they call me back but the place has been rented. The good places go fast.
  5. Don’t Look For Promotions – Good landlords don’t have to offer promotions, high vacancy buildings do and if so many of their tenants have decided to vote with their feet – Stay Away
  6. Got a Problem? Be Upfront – Bad credit, new job, pets? Don’t lie and tell the truth, lots of landlords are willing to give you a chance if you’re upfront and honest. Deception is what will get your application rejected.
  7. Visit The Area At Different Times – Night time has a tendency to morph an area, come back and take a look before you make the final decision.
  8. Talk to Other Tenants – If it’s a building talk to other tenants and see how they like living there.

These tips should help you find a new place as soon as possible. Best of luck on your search!


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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Joe Q.

    All good tips, Rachelle. I particularly like the one about checking out the neighbourhood at different types of the day. If we had followed that advice we’d likely not be living where we are now — the residential pocket we’re in is fairly good, but after dark the drug dealers start hovering around the local schoolyard and a teenager tried to shoot a cop in the face just down the street from us.

    I would also add that tenants should find out, in writing, exactly what they are responsible for. This includes utilities, upkeep (e.g. lawn care) and improvements. For example, our current place had no window screens when we moved in, and our landlord was hesitant to pay for them himself until we somehow convinced him that window screens are really the landlord’s responsibility and not the tenant’s. Important stuff to get straight before you move in.

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  • Laura

    Do you have any tips regarding where to look for an apartment? Viewit is okay, but many people seem to post old pictures – it’s kind of like dating websites, always assume the picture is 10 years and 25 lbs out of date. Tonight I saw an apartment that was all gorgeous neutrals in the photos – but the current tenants painted the living room dark brown with a navy blue ceiling!

    Then there is MLS – few rentals, generally overpriced, and everytime I call an agent the place I’m looking at just rented – but s/he would be happy to show me a place that’s just a few hundred more!

    Don’t even get me started on Craigslist – so many people who’ve left Toronto suddenly to work with AIDS orphans, all willing to send me keys if I’ll just wire a small deposit to Nigeria…

    I’ve also checked out rentcompass, but it seems to be all bigger buildings – I’m looking to get back to the great experiences I had with small landlords.

    So, where does someone like yourself, who deals with small landlords, advertise your wares?