5 Undocumented Safety Details to Double Check Before Renting A New Apartment

Undocumented Safety Details
Undocumented Safety Details

It’s a common misconception that finding a place to rent and signing the lease are only two parts of the house rental process. There are numerous important pieces of information that a landlord must lawfully disclose to their tenants, most importantly the safety of the tenant’s future domicile.

You must save proof that any inspections were performed to protect yourself and reassure your renter. Thus, maintaining the greatest safety standards will safeguard your renter and your property. This post will go through the different safety details for rental apartments that a tenant needs to inspect before moving in.

#1 Lead Paint

If your rental was built before 1978, your landlord must present a lead paint disclosure document. You as a new renter should also be given a lead paint brochure that explains the dangers of lead paint in properties constructed before 1978.

If you suspect your flat contains lead paint, notify your landlord. If your landlord did not disclose the existence of lead paint, you can also hire your own lead paint removal specialist to produce a report for your landlord. Also, notify your local rent board. Leave until the process to remove the lead paint is finished. Your landlord cannot raise your rent as a result of the discovery, and you may be compensated financially for your trouble.

Lead Paint
Lead Paint

#2 Mold 

A persistent mold problem is a hazardous living condition. Although federal law does not compel your landlord to report a mold problem in the home to potential tenants, in several states, like California and New York, it is a must. If any mold colonies are discovered in an apartment, it is a health violation, and your landlord is obligated by law to remove the mold as well as repair the situation that allows water to accumulate.

Mold
Mold

If the mold problem is plainly the result of a tenant’s lack of care, or a failure to maintain a specific degree of cleanliness that is expected and stipulated in the lease, then you may be liable for repairing the problem. If the mold was caused by a leaking roof, faulty construction, or a lack of ventilation in an area that you were unable to thoroughly clean, the landlord will most likely be held liable.

Check out how to deal with mold in your rental place in our thoroughly detailed piece here.

#3 Occupancy Standards

The occupancy standards for each rental will be different. The occupancy standard in New York State is regulated by maintenance code 404, which specifically says that a bedroom requires 70 square feet for one occupant and 50 square feet for each additional occupant.

Occupancy Standards
Occupancy Standards

Living and dining rooms might be counted as rooms of occupancy. If you have a big family and are looking for a smaller apartment, you must be careful not to discriminate based on familial status. Understanding your local occupancy requirements can help you determine the maximum tenancy for your property.

#4 Smoke Detectors

While the responsibility of installing a smoke detector usually lies with the landlord, tenants must ensure that the smoke alarm works during the tenancy and notify the owner as soon as they find it is not working. The alarm must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible by the owner. Tenants must maintain the smoke alarm clean and clear of dust, dirt, and damage.

Smoke Detectors
Smoke Detectors

The number of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors necessary for each room and floor of your property will be determined by law. It may differ based on whether or not appliances are present in the room and what your state’s regulations require.

#5 Window Guards

A landlord is required to install window guards when asked to do so in writing by a tenant who has a kid 10 years of age or younger who lives in the flat or spends a significant amount of time there regularly.

Except for windows leading to fire escapes, guards should be stationed at every window in the apartment and communal spaces.  All window guards must be authorized by the state’s Health Department and installed according to specific specifications by your landlord.

Window Guards
Window Guards

As a future tenant, before and during any rental, you must verify that your property is safe to occupy. While there are plenty of certifications you can ask your landlord to show you before signing the lease, there are certain safety details for rental apartments for which written certifications are not necessary, for example, working smoke alarms. Thus, make sure to double-check with your landlord on these minor details about safety. As these details don’t require any written certifications or paper, you will have to be extra careful when inspecting your future home. In case you are looking for a place to stay, here is a list of great apartments for rent offers this September, many of which have great safety standards as well.