Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeArts & CultureYour first lease shouldn’t be trying to kill you

Your first lease shouldn’t be trying to kill you

Don't wake up each morning wondering if that stench is normal. (Photo by Adele van Wyk)
Don’t wake up each morning wondering if that stench is normal. (Photo by Adele van Wyk)

The property market is a sea of strange houses, further complicated by the rush of students looking for September leases.  You can make the mess a little more manageable by keeping in mind some common red flags that might make you reconsider the flat you found online.

Many people would say that damage is a huge red flag when looking for a house—but “damage” is a very broad term. Cracks and breakage in the walls are common, but not condemning; they are easily fixed and won’t drastically affect one’s quality of life. Rather, you should watch out for bubbling under any painted walls, which is frequently a sign of water damage. Not only is this destructive, but it can lead to the formation of mold in the walls and floor (under the carpet or floor boards), and this poses a big health risk.

Damage that impairs the function of facilities of the residence can be fixed, but are sometimes not attended to. Always ensure all necessities of the house are in working order at the time of the lease, including the toilets and fridge.

Remember that not everything you see on the internet is true. It’s all too simple to Google a picture of a nice house to help advertise your lopsided rental to busy students in need of a lease.  Beware of houses advertised online which do not display the house’s civic address in any of the pictures.  Always view a house or apartment in person before entering the lease.

Many other factors should also be considered when looking at a house. Not only do you want a place that will not raise any red flags, but you want affordability.  The listed prices of leases are not all directly comparable because different properties include different services in the price. This commonly includes electricity and water, but may sometimes include laundry, cable and Wi-Fi. If you don’t plan on spending the summer in Halifax, then the length of the lease or subletting should also be considered.

Additionally, when looking at the costs of a particular house, remember to consider the increased cost of transportation incurred from properties farther from campus, the grocery store and downtown areas. Even the increase in commute time when living farther from classes should be weighted when considering an apartment. Similarly, the extra time it will take to cook meals and eat should be considered when finding a place to live.  First-years looking for a place for second year should also consider whether they wish to seek a furnished apartment, or invest in furniture—a cost frequently overlooked when apartment-hunting.

Altogether, ensure you pick a comfortable and affordable place you’d be happy living in for the next few years.  It’s quite a time-saver to find a good location the first time around and simply continue the lease throughout your post-secondary education.


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