The Best Defense
what to do before you move in, and while you live someplace
• Read your lease carefully. Understand everything and ask questions. Leases can be changed if your landlord is open to it, so if you find something unreasonable, alter it, cross it out, or make additions to it.
• When living there, try to be clean. Get stains before they set. Clean up after pets. Address any mess as soon as you find it.
• Your landlord should give you a checklist of rooms and ask you to detail the condition of each one. If not, make one. Be detailed about damage that exists already. Also take pictures.
• When you have gathered all of this info, do a walk-through with the landlord and make sure that they sign off on the list. Then send them the materials.
• If you have a problem with any part of the apartment, if something breaks from normal wear and tear, the landlord is obliged to pay for it. If they don’t, and you opt to fix it yourself, take a picture of the before and after, and add it to your notes, including the cost of replacing the item. Bill the landlord for the item.