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What to Check Before Moving Into a New Rental

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Moving to a new apartment? Not so fast – when looking for houses for rent in Fairfield County, CT, it’s important to check for certain items to avoid potential issues and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. This inspection checklist will help you avert trouble when apartment hunting in the area.

HOA fees, miscellaneous fees, etc.

It’s important that the property manager is upfront about the full cost of living in the rental. All fees should be discussed, including application fees, homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, renter’s insurance, pet deposit, security deposit, and more. This can help ensure that you’ll be financially prepared for the move.

Alarms and detectors

Check that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly to ensure your safety. If the rental comes with an extensive security system like CCTVs, motion sensor alarms, and the like, it’s worth checking to see that all alarms and surveillance systems are working like they should. This will help you make sure that the built-in alarm system is reliable.

Bathrooms and plumbing

Smells and odors

Check all the bathrooms in the rental and note any peculiar smells and odors. If it smells damp or musty, it could be an indicator of a serious mold issue or water damage that may not be visible to the naked eye. A clogged toilet can also have an off-putting smell and needs to be addressed before you move in.

Toilets and flushes

How sturdy is the toilet seat? Is the flush working? Does the toilet bowl refill as it should? How soon after flushing does the toilet stop running? Experts recommend flushing the toilet twice – the second flush will indicate how long the toilet needs to reset after use. Don’t forget to check the areas behind the toilet and the bathroom floor for signs of rust, stains, mold, cracks, and other damage.


If the bathroom comes with a tub and shower combo, turn on the shower, and check that the water comes out of the bath faucet and showerhead depending on which valve you’re using. Make sure that there’s sufficient water pressure, and that the water temperature adjusts correctly.

Drains and sink

Check that all drains work efficiently and look out for signs of rust and mold. Upon turning off the shower, listen for residual water drips, and observe how long the showerhead keeps dripping. If it continues dripping long after you’ve turned off the shower, it can impact your water bill over time.

Next, turn on the sink faucet and check for both water pressure and temperature. Make a mental note of how long it takes for the water temperature to change when you adjust it.

Lastly, check the plumbing beneath the sink for mold, leaks, cracks, and other signs of damage.

Kitchen and major appliances

Refrigerator and dishwasher

How’s the fridge looking? Even if it looks ok on the outside, don’t hesitate to open it and take a peek inside. Does the fridge door stripping seal and unseal like it should? Does the lighting inside the fridge turn on and off as you open and shut the door? Are any of the interior components cracked or misaligned?

  • Switch the internal setting over to the freezer and see if there’s a noticeable temperature difference between the two sections of the fridge.
  • Examine the shelves and trays in the fridge, and check for bent, broken, or flimsy components.
  • If the unit comes with an ice cube maker, try it out and look at the quality of the ice it produces to see if it’s working properly.

Don’t forget the dishwasher if the kitchen has one. Open it to make sure that there’s no damage inside and that it’s working as it should.

Stove and oven

If the rental comes with a stove and gas burners, check them to see that they’re working properly. Inspect the trays for oil or food build-up. Be alert if there’s an excessive smell of gas.

For electric stoves, turn the burners on to see that they work and that they heat up to appropriate temperatures by adding a drop of water on the burner, which ought to sizzle with heat.

Cabinets, drawers, cupboards, and storage

Properly designed and installed cabinets, cupboards, and drawers are important for storing food items and keeping pests away. Check all kitchen cabinets and drawers for insects and rat droppings. Keep an eye out for damage like cracks, holes, and cabinet doors that won’t close properly. Inspect cabinetry for signs of water damage as well.


If the rental is partially or fully furnished, examine each piece of furniture for any damage, defects, and cosmetic flaws. If anything shows considerable signs of wear and tear, let the property manager know. Faulty furniture could pose a safety risk, especially for small children, differently-abled tenants, and the elderly.

If you’re ready to find rentals or make the transition to homeownership in Northern Fairfield and Litchfield Counties, CT, contact Fazzone & Harrison Realty LLC at 860.307.7203 and 860.354.0479, or email us at KHarrison(at)FazzoneAndHarrisonRealty(dotted)com to get started. You can also reach the team here. We’re a boutique real estate agency with over 30 years of experience.