How To Write an Appeal Letter If You’ve Been Denied an Apartment

You’ve been touring various apartments, and you find the perfect one. It fits your budget, the natural light is beautiful and it comes with great amenities. And then a curveball — your rental application gets denied. You’re not alone. Nine out of 10 people have their rental applications rejected. What now? You write an appeal letter. Here’s how to write an appeal letter to your potential landlord:

Well, thanks to the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot reject applications based on an applicant’s race, sex, gender, national origin, color, disability or familial status.

Beyond that, there are many possible valid reasons for a rental application denial — including income, credit score, bad references, rental history and background check. This is why it’s essential to look at the property’s requirements closely.

If you feel like the landlord made a mistake with your rental application, here’s how to write an appeal letter to ask them to reconsider.

Writing a letter.

What is an appeal letter?

The appeal letter expands on an issue found by the landlord that led to the denial. For example, no previous formal rental history or maybe you have more income than you showed. If you feel like you have additional information or clarification that may change their mind and approve your application, you might want to try writing an appeal letter.

When to write an appeal letter?

The most optimal time to send an appeal letter is within a week from receiving the denial letter from the landlord.

First, make sure the unit is still available before sending it, if possible. Then put together all evidence as soon as possible and send it certified via mail to confirm receipt. Emails can get lost in inboxes or ignores. Check-in 48 hours after receipt via email if you haven’t received a response.

What to include in your apartment appeal letter?

Now that you’ve decided to appeal the landlord’s decision, it’s time to build your case.

Scan your denial letter carefully

Every denial letter must tell you the specific reasons why your application was denied. After reading it carefully, identify the details that you’d like to provide more clarification on for the appeal letter. If the letter is vague, ask for a new letter with more specific information about your denial. It will help you provide a better appeal letter.

Think of what reason you want to address and how

If you had an incomplete application with not enough references, provide those in the appeal letter. Or if you didn’t have a formal rental history, explain that it’s your first apartment or provide references from old informal landlords.

If your income doesn’t meet the requirement in the background check provided, share that you have more than one job and bank statements to corroborate your actual income. Or maybe the credit check showed the wrong score.

Writing.

Address the appeal letter

Add your name, current return address at the top with your rental application date. Follow below with today’s date and the landlord’s name with property address below that.

First paragraph: Ask for reconsideration

This paragraph should focus on quickly explaining the reason for this appeal letter. Start by thanking the property manager for their time and share that you’d like for them to reconsider your application for this specific property.

Second paragraph: State your case

This is where you make your case. First, clearly state the reason for the appeal of the property’s decision and restate their reason for denying your rental application. Then add additional evidence or clarify why the property manager should reconsider. If your credit score was wrong, attach a new credit report from a bureau and explain why the error happened, for example.

Take your time to flesh out your reasoning before putting it on paper. Stay concise in this section but effective at making your case.

Third paragraph: Offer possible concessions

Here’s where you will quickly summarize your letter by restating your reason for the appeal and offer any additional concessions, like a larger security deposit or a shorter lease, for example. Mention the other documentation you’re attaching, if any.

Conclusion: Don’t forget to sign

Write ‘Sincerely’ and sign your name. Below that, print your name with your contact information for easy access.

Use persuasive language

Keep the letter concise and explain just the facts. Avoid any negative language or complaining throughout the letter. The letter must remain clear and impartial to highlight your points more effectively. You’re negotiating with the landlord via the letter so think about what you can offer to make you trust you over someone else.

Avoid being overly emotional or desperate. Just make sure you don’t concede too much that you put yourself at risk as a tenant.

Man reading.

How do you write an appeal letter for reconsideration?

Use this template below to write your appeal letter. You can also download a word document of this sample letter and make changes where necessary.

(Your name)

(Current address)

(Date)

(Name of landlord)

(Address of property)

(Landlord’s last name),

Thank you for taking the time to review my rental application at (property address with unit number) and now, my appeal letter. I understand that my application was not approved due to (reason for denial), but I wanted to share additional information for your consideration.

(Paragraph explaining your denial and what you’ve done to fix the problem.)

(Paragraph explaining what concessions you might be able to offer. Reference any attached documents here.)

Please feel free to contact me to discuss my rental application further. Thank you again for taking the time to review my rental application again for (property address with unit number).

Sincerely,

(Signature)

(Phone number)

(E-mail address)

Avoid getting your application denied for next time

Getting your hopes up about an apartment and then getting your rental application denied can truly crush you.

Most of the time, a rental application doesn’t have room for nuance, and that’s where the appeal letter can help with more details. Make sure to double-check your application before submitting it, too. If the apartment complex has other units available, it’s worth appealing their decision with more facts and seeing if you can nab an approval.

The post How To Write an Appeal Letter If You’ve Been Denied an Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Picking the Best Air Conditioner for Your Apartment

Looking to cool down your apartment? With spring and summer approaching soon, it’s important to start thinking about how to prepare for those hotter months and stay cool. While many apartments come with built-in air conditioning (AC) units, many do not. So what are your options for cooling down your space? In this article, we’ll go into detail about how to decide what is the best air conditioner for your apartment.

How do air conditioners work to keep your apartment cool?

Air conditioners have been around for a very long time, in fact, the first air conditioning system was developed in 1902.The basics of how air conditioners work are similar to how a fridge works. Air conditioners use an internal refrigerating system to take in hot air and cool it. The hot air, absorbed by the AC unit through various coils and systems, turns into a gas. From there, the unit converts it back into a liquid.

Next, the hot air pushes out the back through vents or a window and the cool air pushes into your apartment. The website HowStuffWorks.com puts it very simply: “Think of it as an endless, elegant cycle: liquid refrigerant, phase conversion to a gas/heat absorption, compression and phase transition back to a liquid again.”

air conditioning

Important things to understand when selecting your AC unit

There are a couple of other things to consider when picking which type of AC unit to use for your apartment. You’ll want to consider things such as cooling capacity, BTUs, energy efficiency and costs.

BTUs

BTU or British thermal units is the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool one pound of water. For air conditioners specifically, the BTU refers to the amount of heat your unit can remove in an hour. Some units take more than others. For instance, a window unit takes anywhere from 3,000 to 25,000 BTUs, whereas a portable system can use anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 BTUs. Make sure to take the time to research this before deciding on which unit is best for you. Learn Metrics has created a more in-depth chart for understanding different BTUs for different sized apartments.

Cooling capacity

When picking out your AC unit keep in mind its cooling capacity. The size of the area you want to cool will greatly impact your choice. Different units cool different area sizes. Take portable units for example — these are usually only able to cool the area they sit in. Window units on the other hand are a better option if you are looking to cool down an entire apartment.

Energy costs

The cost that it takes to run an AC unit is something else to consider. The price can greatly change depending on how big your unit is and how big of an area you’re trying to cool. On average it can cost anywhere from $14.40 per month to $211.20 to run different types of AC units.

Best air conditioner options for your apartment

Now you know how air conditioners work, how do you know which type is right for your apartment? Here are a couple of different options that you can choose from.

1. Portable air conditioner

Portable units are one option when looking for an AC unit. They come in various sizes and work in many different rooms. Often referred to as “portable swamp coolers” or “evaporated cooling” these two systems work similarly to other AC units but primarily rely on water. Another difference is their setup. For instance, some require their own voltage plug and most require you the ability to vent the hot air out of a window.

Another great question to ask when thinking about portable units is, “Can you use a portable air conditioner in an apartment?” The answer depends on your apartment complex and its rules. In certain apartments they are not allowed, so make sure to check with your apartment before you invest in one. Here are some pros and cons of portable AC units.

Pros:

  • Move room-to-room
  • Cost-efficient
  • Come in various sizes
  • Great if you have a strict HOA or landlord and can’t install a window unit

Cons:

  • Sometimes are less energy efficient
  • Can be noisy

AC unit in a window against a brick wall

2. Window units

Window units are very popular throughout Europe and make another great option for your apartment AC unit. Set in a window, they function much like other AC units and are capable of cooling medium-sized spaces. Here are some of their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Come in various sizes to fit your windows
  • Can come with a heating system

Cons:

  • Not portable and stay in the window you place them in
  • Not energy efficient

3. Wall-mounted

Wall-mounted units are a great option for people who are living in older buildings that tend to get very hot during summer. Here are the pros and cons of these AC units.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Don’t take up a window or block the view
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Don’t cool the whole space
  • Must be cleaned and maintained regularly

Happy woman holding a remote under an air conditioning unit

4. Personal AC unit

Personal AC units are great for cooling down a single person in a smaller space. They are typically very small — meant for bed stands or desks and are not meant to cool the entire space down. These typically only need a plug and water, however, they do not cool as well as bigger units. Here are their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Great for personal use
  • Move from room-to-room
  • Easy to use and install

Cons:

  • Not energy efficient
  • Need cleaning after each use to avoid germ growth

Man with his face in front of a fan

How to keep your apartment cool without an AC unit

If none of these options work for you, there are other ways to keep yourself cool this summer. Here is a list of other options to consider:

  • Installing fans
  • Purchasing dark blinds to block the sun
  • Putting cooling sheets on your bed
  • Switching out your light bulbs to ones that produce less heat
  • Opening your windows at night
  • Cooking outside

Stay cool as a cucumber

While the summer heat is great for outdoor activities and vacations, it’s not so great for your apartment. Keeping your place cool throughout these hot months is essential. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable in your own living space. The good news is there are many different options to consider when thinking about the best air conditioner for your apartment.

The post Picking the Best Air Conditioner for Your Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Swimming Pool Etiquette: Staying Safe During the Pandemic at Your Apartment Pool

Now that warm weather is upon us, we long for beautiful days outside enjoying ourselves under the sun — this definitely includes hanging out at your apartment complex’s pool so you can cool off. However, there’s still a pandemic, so your usual swimming pool etiquette will look a little different this year.

Because the pandemic is still a concern, many communities are reopening their pools with a long list of rules designed to keep renters safe and healthy. Here’s what you need to know when visiting the apartment pool this season.

apartment community recreational area

Is it safe to swim in a pool during a pandemic?

While COVID-19 can spread through airborne droplets, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there’s no evidence you can catch the virus through the water in a swimming pool. However, outdoor swimming pools rank less risky than indoor ones, which are not as well ventilated.

Because the chlorine in the pool is a disinfectant, experts say the main risk is being in close contact with other people around you. Following public health guidelines designed to keep you safe is the way to go — so here is what you need to know about the swimming pool rules for your building.

Know the swimming pool rules

Some apartment pools might post information online about swimming safely. If not, call the pool management team or building manager. Most local officials have implemented rules for public pools based on CDC guidelines. You might want to ask:

  • Is pool management restricting the number of residents using the facility or staggering arrival times?
  • Is there a reservation system in place so you can book swim time?
  • Are locker rooms and restrooms open?

Pool cleaning supplies.

Ask about the pool’s cleaning routine

Aside from the pool water itself, tested by the staff, everything else in the area needs disinfecting too. Find out how often equipment such as lounge chairs, outdoor tables and chairs undergo cleaning. You might want to bring sanitizing wipes with you to clean things yourself.

Follow instructions for entering, exiting the pool area

Your apartment building might assign separate entrances and exits to the pool so that people move in one direction and stay six feet apart — just a few inches longer than a typical pool noodle.

Time your visit to the pool to avoid crowds

Try swimming at off-peak hours so you can easily stay six feet away from people you don’t live with. Your apartment pool might have signs and markers on the property reminding residents about physical distancing.

Avoid gathering at the edge of swimming lanes, on the stairs, near the diving board or on the pool deck, unless it’s with the people in your household.

Pool day.

Don’t invite friends to your apartment’s pool

Most buildings strongly suggest limiting visitors during the pandemic. Anyone not living in your apartment should not accompany you to the pool.

Arrive at the pool ready to swim

To avoid indoor areas as much as possible, come to the pool ready to swim: Shower and put on your swimsuit in your apartment. Skip the pool’s locker room!

Pay attention to signs about limited capacity

One safety standard required for reopening pools is the number of people in the space — so everyone can stay six feet apart. If you get to the pool and it’s crowded, come back later.

people wearing masks bumping fists

Wear a mask

Until you actually go into the pool, wear a face mask to protect yourself and others on the pool deck.

Do not wear a mask while you’re swimming — the CDC warns that a wet mask makes it harder to breathe. If your mask gets wet, it’s less effective for protection too — so pack an extra one in case yours gets a good splashing.

Bring your own pool accessories

Even if your apartment pool has goggles, snorkels, life jackets and noodles available for residents’ use, you should bring your own. These items are difficult to disinfect and most come in contact with your face — so unless you find out how often they’re cleaned between uses…avoid taking this risk!

Stick to your own lane

Pay attention to your surroundings before and after entering the pool so you can avoid people coming in and out right beside you.

Once you’re in the pool, leave plenty of room for other swimmers and don’t try to pass anyone if you’re swimming laps. This is basic pool etiquette anyway. Some pools might limit the kinds of strokes you can do to avoid excess splashing, such as the butterfly.

Forget pool games

Whether you love playing Marco Polo or pool volleyball, it’s harder to keep your distance when you’re throwing a ball around. It’s best to avoid close-contact games this season.

Keep your hands clean

Just as you would in any public space, wash your hands before and after touching things. If you’re using sanitizer, wipe off your hands with a towel first because greasy sunscreens reduce how well sanitizer works.

Don’t bring food and drinks to the pool

Because you need to take off your mask to enjoy refreshments, the CDC discourages eating and drinking at the pool unless you can distance yourself from anyone you don’t live with.

person in tube in the water

Use pool etiquette common sense and keep everyone safe

Many pools have staff on site who will ask if you are feeling healthy. Be smart and respectful of other residents and follow pool etiquette. Please stay away from your apartment’s swimming pool if you have a fever, cough or any other coronavirus symptoms that could put people at risk.

Last but not least — don’t forget to wear SPF! Kill two birds with one stone — protect yourself from COVID-19 and sun damage.

The post Swimming Pool Etiquette: Staying Safe During the Pandemic at Your Apartment Pool appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

What to Do With Mail For a Previous Tenant

If you’re a new resident in a house or apartment, you’ll likely get snail mail sent for the previous tenant(s). What are you supposed to do with mail for a previous tenant and how do you stop it from showing up day after day? Because at some point, the task of taking care of it gets old.

Stuffed mailbox.

Open, toss, shred?

In a word, “No.” It’s a federal crime to open or destroy mail that is not meant for you — even junk mail.

If you do open something by accident, not to worry, you won’t immediately hear sirens. Someone would have to prove you intended to steal something in order to involve the authorities.

If you know the previous tenant or the person whose name is on the envelope and that person told you to open the mail, then it’s all right to go ahead and do so. FindLaw cautions that if you get charged with “obstruction of correspondence,” you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away.

Trashing the mail is the same as destroying it. Plus, the sender will never know the person is no longer at that address. Also, the previous tenant may have filled out the correct forms, but this piece of mail fell through the cracks. That person might appreciate getting that $14 check from Great Aunt Gladys.

Note that you are not responsible for holding someone’s mail. If a previous tenant tells you that, reply with a hard “no”; they need to fill out a change of address form.

Looking at mail from the mailbox.

Send the mail along

If you know where the person now resides, you can forward the mail to them by crossing out the address only — leave their name — on the envelope. Write the new address near the incorrect one. Then, on the same side of the envelope write something like, “Please forward; not at this address.”

In addition, if there’s a bar code on the envelope, cross it out. This is part of the USPS’s automated system and removing it makes the system register the mail as “undeliverable.”

Thinking you’ll be a good citizen by filling out a change of address form for the other person is not a good idea. Again, this is a federal crime. Who knew? You do, now. If you fill out a change of address form for the person, they will get a notification in the mail, and you’ll be in hot water.

If you have no idea where the other person lives, write “moved,” “not at this address,” or “return to sender, address unknown” on the envelope. This lets the post office know that the person is no longer at your address, but the post office will not necessarily return the letter to the original sender.

Eventually, the post office will get all this information into the system and the wrongly addressed mail should stop coming to you.

What about junk mail?

It’s still mail and falls under the heading, “it’s a federal crime to open or destroy mail that is not meant for you.”

If you know that the intended junk mail recipient is deceased, you can report the death to the Direct Marketing Association. Click this link for “Deceased Do Not Contact Registration” to stop the junk mail from coming to you.

Mail.

How can I make wrongly addressed mail stop coming?

If sending mail back doesn’t work, you can put a note into your mailbox. In the note, write to your mail carrier the names of the people who no longer live there. For example, “Former Tenant’s Name is not at this address” or “Please deliver mail only to Current Tenant’s Name.”

You can also speak directly to your mail carrier and explain the situation. Since you may not always have the same mail carrier every day, you have to hope that they bring back the news and share it with the office.

What should I do when I move?

You don’t want to annoy the next person who takes over your address.

As a first step, you should fill out a change of address form.

But there are entities you might want to contact directly. Consider reaching out to utility providers, the newspaper, schools, the IRS, Social Security Administration, DMV, election offices, the Department of Veterans Affairs or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Filling out the change of address paperwork and submitting it online is easy and painless. It takes 10 business days for the change to become effective. The USPS delivers to 160 million residences, businesses and P.O. boxes; they’ve got a lot on their plate so be patient.

Show some courtesy

When deciding what to do with mail from a previous tenant, you should do the right — and legal — thing by either forwarding the material or returning it to the sender. Don’t forget — you’re going to move someday, too, and would want the next tenant to show the same courtesy to you.

The post What to Do With Mail For a Previous Tenant appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

How to Charge an Electric Car at Your Apartment

Plugging a car into a socket to charge it instead of filling it up with gas once was something of a sci-fi fantasy. Now, electric vehicles — or EVs — are becoming more and more popular. From Nissan to BMW to Tesla, you’ll see all major car manufacturers are creating fully electric vehicles.

If you’re jumping on the trend and are considering purchasing or already own an EV, that’s great. However, you’ll want to consider how and where to charge it if you’re an apartment dweller.

Whether your apartment has electric car charging don’t worry! Here are some ways to fully charge your car at your apartment with — or without — EV charging on site.

Electric vehicles charging on the street.

Apartment electric car charging

It is slightly more difficult to own an electric car if your apartment doesn’t offer EV charging, but it’s not impossible. With a bit of creative thinking, you can give your car a jolt of energy and be off cruising in no time.

Find a supercharging station located near you

When your apartment doesn’t have an option for electric car charging, you’ll need to find car charging stations in your area. To do this, download apps like PlugShare or OpenChargeMap where you can type in your location and find supercharging stations near you. This is a great option because you’re likely to find several EV charging stations near your apartment. You can plug in your car to charge while you’re grocery shopping, running errands or at the gym.

Charge at your office

If you still commute to an office and aren’t solely work-from-home, you can charge your car at your office building. A lot of companies are installing EV charging stations for their employees, so you can drive to work, charge during the 9-to-5 and leave work with a fully charged car.

Electric vehicle charging.

Run a heavy-duty extension cord from your apartment to your car

If you’re lacking apartment electric car charging options, you can create a makeshift charging station by purchasing a heavy-duty extension cord and snaking it from your apartment to the car itself. This isn’t an ideal option because you may not have enough voltage for a full charge. However, if you’re in a pinch this can work.

Look for apartments with EV charging

If you currently lease or own an electric vehicle and you’re looking for a new place to rent, it’s smart to search for an apartment with EV charging stations already included. This will save you time and energy as you can simply plug your car in to charge at your dedicated parking spot.

When searching for apartments with specific amenities, you can use a search finder tool to narrow your search and find the perfect place for you. Put in the features you’re looking for — like two bedrooms, on-site gym, swimming pool and apartment electric car charging — and you’ll get a list of available rentals tailored to your needs.

Why not include the exact features you’re looking for so you can charge your car while at home?

Ask your landlord to install an EV charging station

The green movement and electric vehicle trend are here to stay.

Over time, landlords will start installing apartment EV charging stations on their properties. While some have already started doing this, as the tenant, you can also push for this and ask your landlord to consider installing an apartment electric car charging station. There are companies like ChargePoint that will work with property owners to install EV charging stations on site.

It may seem like a big ask to get your landlord to install an EV charging station, but it benefits both the tenant and the landlord in the long run. First, you’ll be a satisfied tenant. And second, it’ll make the property more appealing to future renters.

Electric vehicle charging station.

Types of EV charging

Just like there are different types of gas to purchase (regular, premium, diesel), there are different types of charges for EVs.

  • Level 1 charging: This is the basic level of charging and can use a standard 120V household option. If you’re using a heavy-duty extension cord from your apartment to your car, you’re going to get a level 1 charge. Typically, this will get you around 4 to 5 miles of range per hour. If you’re driving here and there but mostly stay at home, this is a sufficient charge.
  • Level 2 charging: With level 2 charging, you’ll get more mileage, typically 12 to 20 miles of range per hour. This type of charging requires 240 volts.
  • DC fast charging: This is high-voltage charging, typically 800+ volts, and allows your EV to rapidly charge. This is a great option but you won’t find this at your typical apartment complex in most cases.

Understanding the different types of charging options can help you decide how and when to charge your electric car at your apartment.

Go green at your apartment

As electric vehicles increase in popularity, you’ll start to see more and more rental complexes offer apartment electric car charging stations as an amenity. Until it becomes common practice though, you can still go green, drive an EV and rent an apartment with EV charging options.

The post How to Charge an Electric Car at Your Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

5 Benefits of Living in a Mid-Rise Apartment

There are all types of apartment buildings out there. Some tower overhead and almost look like they’re touching the sky. Others are squat, brick structures with just a few units.

During an apartment search, you can prioritize your ideal apartment building just as easily as you look for amenities within the actual apartment. You may want big. You may want small. You may prefer something in between.

That’s when you start looking for a mid-rise apartment.

Mid-rise apartment building

What is a mid-rise apartment?

The definition of a mid-rise apartment is all about counting floors. Most mid-rise buildings have at least five floors, but no more than 12. Buildings with fewer floors are classified as low-rise apartments and those with more are high-rises. Most cities provide a combination of all three for eager apartment hunters.

The size of a mid-rise typically means you’ll get an elevator, along with many amenities you’d find in larger buildings. They’re often tall enough for units to have balconies and may also include common areas and green spaces on the ground floor.

You’ll often find the most mid-rises in urban areas that don’t allow tall, high-rise apartment buildings. However, they’re easy to spot in almost any U.S. city.

Why should you live in a mid-rise apartment?

Mid-rise apartments have benefits you won’t find in both shorter and taller buildings. This is because they usually combine the best of both worlds.

A room with a view

While not towering up into the sky, a mid-rise apartment does offer superior views to a low-rise building. The extra floors provide the potential for better and wider lookouts into the surrounding area. This is especially nice if your neighborhood has lots of trees or is just close enough to water or another scenic spot to catch a glimpse from the higher floors.

Less congestion at the elevator

Mid-rise apartments mean fewer tenants. With fewer floors and fewer people, you’ll have shorter, less crowded trips up and down the elevator during peak times. You’ll also have less of a wait when you push that call button.

Extra privacy

This perk of fewer tenants that a mid-rise apartment offers also applies to the amount of privacy you get as a resident. With fewer units in total, you’ll have more privacy. There won’t be a barrage of people flooding in and out each day, potentially going past your front door. There are also fewer neighbors with prying eyes.

The OK to take the stairs

High-rise buildings just have too many floors to ever really take the stairs. With a mid-rise apartment, you can live on the upper floors and still use the stairs when it’s convenient. Based on how full your hands are or what shoes you’re wearing, having the option to take the stairs could mean one less trip to the gym to get a great workout.

A combination of amenities

Even as smaller buildings, mid-rise apartments can still contain many of the amenities you look for in a home. This means balconies and ground-level green space. It can also include a pool, gym, laundry room and other common areas. Your building may even be big enough to have its own parking structure, so you’re not stuck hunting for a spot on the street.

Woman relaxing on balcony of apartment

The best floors to live on in a mid-rise apartment

Being up to 12 stories tall, a mid-rise apartment may still have you asking, “Which floor is the best?” Each level of the building has its own positive factors that may recommend it to you. It all depends on your own personal preferences.

Being on the bottom

In a smaller mid-rise, the bottom floor is really just the garden level of the building. Those buildings with a few more levels may mean the bottom consists of 1-3 stories. Regardless, living on the bottom floors provide:

  • Easy access both into and out of the building
  • A quicker trip to ground-floor amenities like the laundry room, pool and any common outdoor space
  • The ability to take the stairs all the time rather than dealing with the elevator

You also don’t have to worry about annoying a neighbor below you should you want to move furniture around, invite friends over or just tend to walk heavily.

Making it in the middle

The number of middle floors in a mid-rise building can vary based on the height of the structure, but living in the middle does have its positives, including:

  • Better insulation, since you’ve got the floors above and below you helping maintain consistent temperatures
  • Fewer stairs to climb, if you decide not to take the elevator
  • Consistent utility bills that are often lower than the other sections of the apartment building

In older buildings especially, the middle floors are always the best insulated. They’ll stay cooler in the summer since the heat rises and warmer in the winter since they’re not sitting on the cold ground. They also benefit from the units above and below running their heat and AC units at higher rates to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Getting together at the top

It’s no secret that the top floors of any apartment building are always considered the best. It’s why we have penthouses. This may be because of the potential for unique features like:

  • Expansive views
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Bigger windows
  • More natural light

Top floors are also less noisy and more private. You don’t have to worry about hearing anything from the person living above you, because there isn’t one. Units up high are also less susceptible to pests and theft.

How to find a mid-rise apartment

If this is all beginning to sound appealing to you, get a jump start on finding mid-rise apartments for rent in your area. They may offer the perfect combination of size, location and amenities for your next home.

The post 5 Benefits of Living in a Mid-Rise Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

6 Tips to Survive Tandem Parking

Tandem parking is probably the least enjoyable “tandem thing to do.” There’s tandem skydiving, tandem bikes, but tandem parking … doesn’t that sound like a hassle?

What is tandem parking?

Tandem parking means you have to essentially share one large spot with the person you live with.

If you live in an urban area where street parking is difficult to find, you’re probably lucky to have a parking spot at all. Many big cities and multifamily developers have reduced the number of parking in new complexes. Multifamily developers are seeing less of a need to build parking lots simply because city dwellers now have the option to hop on city bikes, scooters, ride-share or take public transportation.

In Seattle, for example, 30 percent of new buildings proposed in the past several years don’t include any parking at all. Some designers have advocated for parking garages to be built as flex space that can be converted. Additionally, it’s pretty common now for building management for newer developments to charge tenants for parking.

Despite the cost, some renters are still willing to pay 5 percent more for parking.

parking garage

How does tandem parking work?

Tandem parking is a very long parking spot in which two cars could park — one in front of the other. Technically, it’s two parking spots in either a covered or open lot, but if you were on the inside, the car behind you would need to back out in order for you to get out.

It may be one step above having to circle your block for a street parking spot, but if you and your household have busy schedules, it may pose an issue.

Why do some apartment buildings have tandem parking?

Apartment buildings have tandem parking mostly because space is limited. Older developments tend to have tandem parking, but new buildings also offer this kind of parking structure, as well. Buildings that use tandem spots may often be able to squeeze in more spots.

Here are six tips for managing and dealing with tandem parking with neighbors.

1. Consider a rotation

If the area outside your apartment isn’t all that crowded for street parking, try a rotation from month to month with your roommate. Flip a coin or negotiate to decide who gets to park in the spot. This could also be contingent on who has a busier work or travel schedule.

Perhaps it can change based on the season, as well. For example, in the colder winter months, you can make the rotation week to week since it’s not ideal to park outside in the harsh winter weather with snow on the ground.

empty parking spot

2. Pay extra to permanently claim the spot as yours

Depending on how much you covet your parking spot, perhaps you can negotiate to pay a little more each month to make the on-site spot yours.

Of course, this would only work if both parties agreed. However, it could be worth a shot, especially if your roommate wants to save a little cash each month.

If your roommate is not on board with this idea, perhaps you can look into nearby garages and find out how much they cost to rent each month.

There are also free apps such as SpotAngels and SpotHero to help you find parking spots in urban cities. You can set filters to show you garages or parking meters.

3. Understand your schedules

Because the cars are positioned one in front of the other, the most efficient first step is to understand your tandem partner’s daily schedule. This is probably the most important part of sharing a tandem spot, especially if the previous two tips aren’t an option. If you have similar working hours, a month-to-month swapping of who gets to park on the inside vs. outside may work out.

Whoever tends to leave first in the morning should park last, but schedules may change frequently, too. If that’s the case, communicate frequently about these changes. Also, consider getting a whiteboard to place near the door in your apartment that gives the latest update on when you need to leave in the morning or when you’ll arrive home in the evening.

4. Get a key

If you’ve ever seen a solo valet worker hustle to move cars to bring your car from the depths of the endless rows of cars, you know moving cars is time-consuming. While backing out your roommate’s car isn’t nearly as much work, it can definitely cause delays and isn’t ideal if you’re in a hurry.

In the event of an emergency or if you need to leave and they’re not home or still sleeping, you could give each other a spare car key.

Whether you keep the keys inside of a lockbox in the garage or on your keyring, having a plan for this will give both vehicle owners peace of mind.

girl on phone

5. Communicate often

If you both work sporadic schedules, send a text reminder of when you’ll be home and if you need to leave early in the morning. Having this plan could help you get in and out faster.

If you’re dealing with multiple people in your household who share two tandem spots, you may want to create a WhatsApp channel dedicated to schedule updates. There are also GPS apps that show in real-time when you’ll arrive home, in case your roommate needs to move their car before you get home.

6. Talk to your landlord

Perhaps you live in a building where you sometimes see empty parking spots.

Talk to your landlord, and see if you could pay a little extra to take one of the empty spots, even if it’s just temporary.

There’s no harm in asking your landlord about the options, especially if you and your roommate are having a hard time managing the tandem spot.

Tandem parking is manageable

While most apartment dwellers would rather have individual parking spaces rather than tandem spots, the way you manage it can make your lives easier.

Of course, tandem parking is a lot easier if you generally get along with your roommate(s). If you’re swapping extra car keys, it’s important to have trust and believe they won’t be careless with your car in case they need to move it.

Know each other’s schedules and communicate frequently about any changes or emergencies that may arise.

10 Questions to Ask about Parking Before You Rent an Apartment

So, you think you’ve found the perfect apartment.

Did you remember to ask about the parking situation? If not, stop! Don’t sign that lease until you have at least considered how you and your guests can park hassle-free. Because no matter how fabulous the view or the living space, if you rely on a car and parking isn’t convenient, it’ll likely put a damper on your living experience.

If you’re planning to live downtown in a city with excellent public transportation and bike accommodations, including bike-sharing programs, you need to consider if you even need a car. Many people don’t want the hassle and are happy to rent a vehicle on the occasions when they want to get out of the city.

But if you plan to have a car or are considering having a car, we’ve compiled a list of 10 questions you need to ask about parking before you sign the lease.

1. What kind of parking does the building offer?

apartment parking

Depending on an apartment’s location, parking will vary. Perhaps there’s an indoor parking garage under the building (most likely in a downtown high-rise or mid-rise building).

If you’re looking at a garden-style apartment, parking may be right outside your front door. If it’s outdoors, and you live in a cold climate, you need to think about inclement weather. Come winter, will you be shoveling four inches of snow off your vehicle before you can head off to work?

And speaking of snow, do you need to observe special parking rules to accommodate the snowplow (such as moving your car from certain parking areas)? Know what’s expected of you.

2. Is parking on-site or is it all street parking?

For some of you, street parking will be a deal-breaker. Others will accept that as a necessary evil that goes with keeping a car in the city.

If there’s street parking, find out if you need a permit from the city or local government to park on the street. Keep in mind that it may be difficult to find a spot when you return if there’s only street parking.

3. How is parking managed?

Once you know that the building supports a parking plan, you need to inquire about the details. For example, are you able to self-park? In many city high-rises, you can’t self park and may have to rely on a parking valet.

Is the parking valet reliable? Are there designated spaces for compact and full-size vehicles? If you have special needs and would like to park closer to the elevator or front door, can you make this request?

4. Reserved or unreserved — that is the question!

reserved parking spot

If there’s plenty of parking, you may not need reserved space(s). But it can be nice to know that you have a dedicated spot to come home to, regardless of your schedule. Ask about this policy.

If there’s on-site parking, find out if the lot is usually full at peak times or if there are usually empty spaces. If spaces are reserved, can you get parking near your unit?

5. How many spaces are you allowed?

If you have a roommate or if you and your significant other have vehicles, will there be designated parking spots for both of you?

6. How much will parking cost?

This is an important question because if your space(s) is not part of your monthly payment, you have to factor parking costs into your budget. It becomes a line item just like internet service, cable and utilities.

If your building doesn’t have parking but has a formal arrangement with a parking garage nearby, ask about the cost. Perhaps your parking will be comped or discounted. Similarly, if parking is included in the rent, and you decide to forego having a car, do you receive a discount?

Be sure to inquire about cost differences for covered spots (also known as garage parking) vs. uncovered spaces (also known as surface parking).

7. Where do my guests park?

guest parking

If parking in and around your building is challenging and there are no spaces reserved for guests, it may put a damper on social activities. Not all rentals have the luxury of extra space for visitors, so you need to decide just how important that is or come up with creative alternatives, such as carpooling.

If your building can accommodate guest parking, do you need to reserve in advance? And how easy will it be for your visitors to come and go?

8. Is the parking lot well lit at night?

If the parking lot is indoors, is the garage only accessible via fob access or in a controlled manner. While there’s never a guarantee of safety, and much of it is based on the specific neighborhood, consider visiting the parking lot yourself to make your own determination.

9. How is designated parking enforced and disputes resolved?

It happens. Sometimes it’s a neighbor who decides to flout the rules and do as he or she wants. Most times, however, it’s a misunderstanding. In either case, situations do arise, and you need to know there is a system in place.

Remember, you also have to be a good neighbor and respect apartment parking etiquette.

10. Can you sublet your parking space?

tenant parking only sign

This question is more important than you might think as it could offer a source for a little extra income each month. If your lease includes a parking space, and you don’t have a car, but your neighbor has two vehicles and only one designated spot, you may be able to make a deal. But check your lease first to determine that you have the legal right to sublet.

Avoid parking problems

Go ahead and look for that perfect apartment with the view, amenities and conveniences you desire. But don’t overlook the parking accommodations or you could be driving into a headache that never goes away.

The post 10 Questions to Ask about Parking Before You Rent an Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

ADA Compliance: What Renters Need to Know

You may dream of owning your home or place of business, but renting is more affordable. Plenty of other people are in the same position, so this is a booming business. Part of a landlord’s responsibilities is creating a usable space for all tenants, which means complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The ADA became law in 1990 to protect both tenants and renters in cases that could involve disability discrimination. Before you sign your next lease for your home or business, check out what every tenant should know about ADA compliance. Renters are responsible for more than you might think, so it’s essential to fully understand what you’re walking into.

woman in wheelchair

1. Both parties are responsible

People with disabilities are protected by the ADA, specifically when it comes to Title III. This requires landlords to make rental spaces accessible for anyone with a disability so they can access the property equally. They must modify their properties to meet current ADA regulations, which was last updated in 2010.

In the case of renting a commercial or residential unit, both parties are responsible for ensuring they meet ADA requirements. Before signing on the dotted line, discuss any needed additions or renovations and who’s responsible for paying for them. It’s supposed to be a team effort, which can result in liability exposure for the landlord if they don’t comply.

2. Auxiliary aids are included

Hearing and vision impairments sometimes get overlooked during building construction, but they’re part of Title III. Depending on the agreement with your landlord, they may cover most or half of the bill for aids like notetakers, Braille additions or signs in larger print.

3. Accessibility modifications may count

Your landlord may try to fight against paying for accessibility modifications if they want to cut corners. Still, they must pay the full bill if the changes count as reasonable modifications, like installing a ramp to get into the unit. Vertical lifts and elevators may also join the accessibility options list, depending on the renter’s disability.

Reasonable modifications are mostly defined by how inexpensive and quick the projects are, but the landlord should pay the total bill if they haven’t provided an accessible property.

braille elevator buttons

4. Both parties designate responsibility

Most commercial leases leave room for tenants and landlords to allocate responsibility before they become official. Depending on the tenant’s financial capabilities, the two parties will decide what they’ll pay for regarding unmet ADA compliance. The finer details, if any, will vary depending on the lease.

Even after both parties agree on their responsibilities, tenants may have to go a step further. Read through your lease to see if there’s language indicating you need to provide your landlord with a lawyer if they’re the subject of an ADA lawsuit. They’ll still legally have to meet their agreed-upon responsibilities, but tenants could have to pay for their legal representation if it’s outlined in the lease.

5. Landlords deal with common areas

Even though your rental space may be ADA compliant, the areas surrounding it could be challenging to access. Because spaces like sidewalks and parking lots aren’t included in your lease, landlords are responsible for them.

If you have any issues accessing your rental unit because these areas don’t have the disability modifications you need, your landlord should fix them at no cost to you.

6. Injunctive relief is common

Some renters may seek financial compensation for their time or efforts in dealing with inaccessible spaces, but most of the time, that’s not possible. The majority of states won’t allow plaintiffs to receive monetary damages or compensation under Title III. Still, you may be responsible for attorney fees and costs after the case gets settled in court. The majority of cases end with injunctive relief, where one or both parties work to solve the issues at hand.

The only time plaintiffs might get damages at the end of a case is if the U.S. Attorney General files an action based on a pattern of discrimination on the part of the landlord. The fines then may include financial compensation or back pay as needed.

Get everything in writing

Both tenants and landlords should get everything in writing as they work to come to an agreement about who’s responsible for which ADA compliance issues. If something goes wrong in the future and one party files a complaint in court, documented terms and signed paperwork will help sort through the problem and come to the best solution for everyone.

The post ADA Compliance: What Renters Need to Know appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.