There are a lot of things you can do to verify whether or not the new apartment you're looking at is right for you. You can drive around the neighborhood, compare its cost to other similar apartments and do a thorough inspection during the walkthrough. All of these details help you verify that you're about to rent a good apartment.
But how do you know whether you're about to be working with a good landlord? That's a more difficult question to answer.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you feel more confident about your new landlord. Here's what you should do before you sign your new lease.
Talk to your future neighbors
The best source of information for how a landlord treats their tenants is by speaking to their current renters. If you're looking at renting in an apartment building, talking with the other residents will provide an invaluable glimpse into what life is like as a renter in that building.
If you're looking to rent a standalone unit, you may be able to ask the current tenants about their experiences with the landlord. If the unit is vacant, your new potential neighbors may be able to shed insight into how the landlord cared for the property.
If you're unable to connect with any of the landlord's current tenants, or if you simply want more information to help guide your decision, online reviews can provide additional details about the landlord. Google and Yelp may have reviews for larger rental agencies. You may also be able to use services like ReviewMyLandlord for more peer reviews of a unit or a landlord.
Pay close inspection during your walkthrough
When you're going through the walkthrough of an apartment, the apartment should be in pretty good shape. The landlord is trying to sell you on the apartment after all.
That's why it's good to be diligent when conducting your walkthrough of the apartment. What is the state of the carpets and walls in the entry way? Is the yard well kept? Is the exterior in good shape? All of these details paint a picture of how well a landlord takes care of their property.
At the end of the day, if you feel uncomfortable, it's okay to trust your instincts and walk away from the apartment. You should feel confident that your landlord is trustworthy and is someone that takes care of their renters. If things don't turn out as well as you had hoped with a landlord, it's important to understand what your rights are as a tenant in New Jersey and to bring legal action if necessary.