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A Renters' Checklist

There are many things to check for before you move into a new place. Being very thorough when scouting a rental property will always be to your advantage, so you don’t end up in a sketchy situation. We compiled a list of what we think will help you when you search for your next rental.

First off, bring the items below to help document your rental property findings:


Take photos of everything so you can remember your likes and dislikes when comparing all the properties you see.


Bring a flashlight to check out the back of appliances and under the sinks to make sure everything looks to be in good condition. Check for leaks, mold and any signs of damage.

Tape measure

A tape measure will help you ensure your furniture will fit well in the property you’re considering.


Write down questions for the landlord as you walk through the property and any issues that you see so you don’t forget to inquire about them before you commit to a lease.

Outlet Tester:

An outlet tester is an inexpensive device you can purchase from a home store that allows you to test whether an outlet is working properly—besides, there’s nothing more annoying than when you go to use an outlet, and it doesn’t work.


Is the neighborhood safe?

Do the grounds and common areas look well kept? This is usually a sign of how active the landlord is.

Is there a lobby door? If so, does it shut and lock properly?

Check all door locks. Are there deadbolts on outside doors? Do they work properly? Do the hinges work well?

What kind of shape are the windows in? Do they open and shut easily? Do the window locks work properly? Are the screens in good shape?

In the event of a fire, is there an easy escape route? Is there a fire extinguisher?

Where are the smoke detectors? Are they working properly? Check the test button on each one.

How old are the appliances? Test them—the stove, the oven and the fan above the stove. Does the garbage disposal work properly?

Do the refrigerator and freezer work well? Do they have any frost build up? You’ll want to avoid this because it can lead to higher electric bills.

Run the water in all sinks & showers. How is the water pressure? Does it drain well? Does the toilet flush well?

Do all the lights work properly?

What type of heat does the rental have? Gas or electric? Test it out.

Is the apartment air-conditioned? Does this work well?

Are pets allowed? Is there any evidence of past pets?

Has the apartment been cleaned thoroughly before your arrival? If not, you may be signing up for a careless landlord.

Do the washer and dryer work well? Or, where are the nearest washer and dryer facilities?

Check the exterior lighting. Is it sufficient?

Is there enough closet space?

Are your necessary amenities close, such as the grocery stores and public transportation? What’s the parking situation?

Who do you call in case of emergency or lost key?

Most importantly, once you do find the rental of your dreams, make sure to invest in renters insurance to protect yourself and your belongings in case an unfortunate situation arises. Follow this list, and you should be well on your way to happy renting!

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