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Steps to take before taking a rental apartment

Have you found some cheap apartments for rent that work with your budget? Could the price be too good to be true? Is the neighbourhood ideal? Is the landlord or rental company trustworthy? Don’t sign a lease until you’ve done all your homework.

Finding a place to live is important — especially when you need somewhere to live fast. But don’t let your desperation affect your judgment.

Tour the unit and building

Never agree to rent an apartment sight unseen. Even if you’re looking for places in another city or province, try to have someone do a walk-through of the place if you can’t be there in person. Don’t rely on photos alone, as they can be deceiving.

happy couple and realtor

What’s the neighbourhood like?

Even if the apartment unit is clean and nice, you need to look at the big picture: the neighbourhood. Sometimes affordable apartments are located in bad neighbourhoods. This doesn’t mean the place is automatically out, you just need to learn more. Is there a security system to control who can and cannot get in? Is the exterior and parking lot/garage well lit? Are their security cameras monitoring doors?

Make sure you will feel safe living in the apartment before signing a lease. Ask about other tenants. Is it a quiet building? Is there ever trouble? Learn more about the community to see if you’ll fit in there and feel comfortable.

Door access control

Research landlord/property management group

Are the people who own/care for the building trustworthy? Do a bit of digging online to see if anything negative turns up. There are lots of third-party rental review sites where you can see building ratings and testimonials from tenants (and former tenants). Google the building address or the name of the property management company to see what comes up. Compare these reviews with your own impressions; one person’s opinion might not reflect the majority.


If the building doesn’t disclose that it has or has had bedbugs, you need to do some independent research. is a great resource. The cases are user-submitted, so it won’t be 100 per cent accurate, but it’s a good place to start. Type in the address to see if anything comes up. The site is a global registry of reported cases.

Woman with magnifying glass detecting bed bug

The bottom line is that you should always approach taking an apartment with caution. There are some things you can live with, others you cannot — so get informed before signing a lease agreement.

Every rental apartment search has to start somewhere! The best place to start is online. Visit Gottarent to view apartments in your desired area. From there you can arrange viewings and start your independent research to ensure you’re getting a good place.