Friday, February 28, 2014

Roommate Etiquette on Smoking


One of the decision you have to make when moving in with a roommate is to make your #apartment smoking or non-smoking.  If both of you smoke, it may be a no-brainer to allow smoking inside, but you might want to rethink that decision.  If only one of you smokes, the question becomes more complicated.  eHow goes over some common roommate rules concerning smoking.

It's probably best for everyone concerned to just confine smoking to outside your apartment.  Smoking can excerbate allergies and infuses the smell of smoke into all the furniture, carpets and even the walls, not to mention clothing.  These odors can be hard to get rid of when you move out and your landlord may charge you for it through your security deposit.  It's also dangerous; if someone doesn't properly dispose of a lit cigarette, it can start a fire.  So the easiest course of action is to just smoke outside, even if your roomie assures you they are okay with it inside.

If all the people living in the apartment do decide to allow smoking inside, check your lease to make sure it isn't prohibited and that you know all rules regarding it.  Be extra careful that all smoking materials are completely extinguished when finished and never smoke in bed.  Make sure all guests know the rules and follow them as well.

Lastly, be open minded about revising your policy down the road.  If one of you quits smoking, for instance, it's unlikely they will want to continue to allow smoking inside.  If you are the one who quits, be kind to your roommate who is still a smoker, and if you are the one who still smokes, be respectful when you request a change of the rules.  The change may lead to a parting of ways, but try to be kind to each other until your lease is up.

Need help finding an apartment with a great area outside for smoking?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today for the latest on vacancies, move-in specials and amenities at 512-231-1400.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Renting from a Friend


When your landlord is also your roommate, the relationship is a bit more murky than a clear tenant/landlord relationship.  The Move Channel.com has some helpful advice for successfully renting a room from a friend.  

Make sure you are aware of what the rules are for how your roommate/landlord wants the apartment treated.  Make sure you know exactly what you have access to, how food is shared or not shared, etc.

Ask how the bills will be paid and what the split for them will be.  Will your landlord/roomie pay the bills and then you'll pay them back?  Will there just be an allowance for utilities built into your rent?  Get clear on how things will work before you agree to move in.

Speaking of rent, don't fall into the trap of thinking it's your friend so you don't have to pay your rent on time.  They still have a mortgage and bills to pay, so turn in your rent payment on the day it's due.

If you're living with a romantically involved couple, make sure you have a plan for if they break up.  Also, don't get involved in any arguments they have and never take sides or commisserate with either party!

Lastly, if your friend is the person you are renting from, they may not give you a formal lease to sign.  At the very least, write down any questions you have and have both of you sign it so you can refer to it if there are any disagreements over particulars down the road.

Need help finding an #apartment so you don't have to rent from a friend?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400 for the latest on move-in specials, availability, and amenities at all the best Austin addresses!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dealing with a Noisy Roommate


If your roomate is noisy and keeps you from sleeping, studying, or just generally enjoying life, it's time for action.  eHow.com helps you find a solution.

First of all, talk to your roommate.  They may not realize how noisy they are being.  Don't get angry, but in an even tone tell them you need more quiet.  Be sure to site specific examples.  That may be enough to get them to change their ways.
Set rules for when noise is acceptable and when it is not so that all of you are agreeable.  If they can't play the drums after 11pm, you can't start doing step aerobics in the living room at 5am.

Talk to the neighbors.  If your roomie is being so loud it's disturbing the people who live around you, then you have extra evidence when you approach your roommate. 

Try a white noise app on your phone, earplugs, or even a white noise machine to drown out your roommate's noise.  Also adding rugs and drapes will help muffle sound.

If your roommate still isn't willing to change their ways, consider whether you need to find a new place to live or send them packing.

Need help finding a new #apartment to get away from a #NoisyRoommate?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Renting a Room


Before you rent out a room, you need to understand some basic rules and laws about how to act like a landlord.  Not only do you want someone who is trustworthy and will pay their rent on time, you need to find someone you can live with.  America Now News.com has tips on how to protect yourself and make sure your landlord experience is a smooth one when you #RentARoom.

First of all, make sure you do a criminal background check and a credit check.  Both are important because you want to make sure your potential renter is not a criminal and you want to be sure that they have a trustworthy payment history and can pay rent on time.  These checks can be expensive, so be sure to factor the cost into your application fee.  Don't allow renters to roll the cost into their first month's rent because if you decide not to rent to them, you won't get paid.

Ask for references, preferably from past landlords.  Keep in mind people will probably provide references they know will put in a good word for them, which is why the criminal background and credit checks are so important.  

Once you're ready to offer a lease to someone, go over all the rules of the house with them, from where they can store their food to what chores they're responsible for, as well as any other rules like can they have overnight guests, where should they park, etc.  

As far as the lease itself, be sure you have a thorough lease that covers all eventualities, from damage to moving out early.  You also might want to consider a short-term lease to start with, just in case your relationship with your renter goes sour or you decide you'd rather live alone.

Finally, make sure to check all applicable laws for Texas, Austin, and even your local neighborhood.  Some HOA's have rules about how many unrelated adults can live together in a single abode, and even the city of Austin is considering a law that would limit this as well.  

Need help finding an #apartment with room for others?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Budget Decorating


Want to decorate your new #apartment, but don't have any money left over after move-in costs?  Check out our #pinterest board full of great ideas for #BudgetDecorating!

Need help finding an apartment that won't break the bank?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400.