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Self-Inspection Tips for Renters
1. Is the building clean -- Cleanliness will tell you a lot about how the landlord takes care of their property and how they may respond if you have a problem.

2. If the utilities are on check to see if: All the lights work properly, the stools flush and refill properly, the water pressure at all of the sinks, tubs and showers is adequate, the water heater is supplying hot water and at adequate pressure and the heating system is working.

3. Check for any plumbing leaks or signs of leakage (standing water, stained floor coverings, stained walls, and rotting wood or stained or rotting cabinets) around drains, faucets and stools.

4. If the utilities are not on which in most cases they are not, and you decide to rent the unit, be sure that the above items are the first thing that you check after the utilities are turned on.

5. Look for any unsafe items: Electrical wiring hanging from fixtures or open electrical boxes, electrical outlets without cover plates, electrical switches and outlets that are loose and not secured.

6. Check the ceilings for signs of possible roof leaks (Brown spots, texture falling from ceiling or loss and sagging ceiling cover).

7. Check to see if all doors and windows operate properly and have their proper hardware and that the hardware is operating properly i.e. windows stay up without being propped, window locks work properly, door locks work properly and all openable windows have undamaged window screens.

8. Check that the windows and doors are sealed properly: This is to guard against air leaks and insects.

9. Be sure smoke alarms are available and are placed in the correct areas: Properly working smoke alarms are your best protection against fire. It is the landlord's responsibility to keep batteries in them if the are battery operated. Smoke alarms are to be located in each sleeping room and outside each sleeping room in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping room. It is possible that one smoke alarm outside the sleeping room is adequate for more than one bedroom if the bedrooms are located near each other.

10. To avoid any disagreements with the landlord when ready to move out be sure that before moving anything into the unit, that you write down every defect that is present i.e. scratched woodwork, holes in walls, floor covering defects, dirty walls, floors etc., and of course any of the other items that are listed above. Write these items down, sign and date, give a copy to your landlord and keep a copy for yourself.

11. Always read your lease agreement carefully before signing. There may be some items in the agreement that you may not be able to live with and you need to know these things beforehand. If there are problems with the unit after you have signed the lease contact your landlord immediately. Contact by phone or in person is always quicker, but also put it in writing and keep a copy for yourself.

12. The above list of tips is by no means fully comprehensive, but does give the prospective tenant some guidelines on what to look for and what to be aware of when they are looking for a rental unit.

The Community Improvement Services Division of the Community Development Department is available to assist tenants with questions that they might have of ir they are having problems with the rental unit that the landlord will not, for whatever reason, respond to. Our offices are open from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and voice mail is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

You can reach Community Development at one of the following numbers:

Please leave a message and someone will get back with you if there is no answer

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