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.

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.

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.

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.

Comments

comments

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.

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.

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.

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.

Comments

comments

Instacart vs. Shopping in Person: Which is Best for You?

You work eight hours a day, get stuck in traffic, hit the gym and somehow, you still need to scrunch up the energy to make a trip to the grocery store before getting home to cook. We’re tired just thinking about it.

Grocery delivery app Instacart aims to save you time by providing you with an on-demand personal shopper that picks up your groceries on the same day you place the order. Your first order is free and all subsequent orders include a small delivery fee when you spend $35 or more.

The catch, however, is the prices you pay for grocery items through Instacart may be slightly higher, often with a markup of up to 20 percent. Those higher prices can be worth it if you lead a busy life. But you also have to take into account the delivery fee (starting at $3.99), the driver tip (20 percent) and the service fee for the order. Each order requires a minimum of $10 on the cart.

To bring perspective into your decision, we’ve put together a list of items available at Publix, one of Instacart’s grocery store offerings, that shows the difference between picking it up at the store or ordering from Instacart.

1. Kashi cereal

Publix’s famous BOGO deal is available both in-store and through the app for Kashi Cereal. However, the buy one, get one free of equal or lesser price is cheaper in store. Most cereals in-store are priced at $4.49, but on the app, it’s 50 cents higher at $4.99.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

2. 4-grain eggs

The 12-count, 4-grain, large brown vegetarian eggs are on sale for $2.25 (regularly $3.35) on Instacart, but the Publix in-store flyer lists an offer of two cartons for $4.00.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

3. Califia Farms almond milk

For those that opt for Instacart, you’ll miss out on Publix’s 3 for $10 Coconut Almondmilk 48 oz. bottle deal. Each bottle on the app is $3.69, only $0.76 off.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

4. Cottonelle 12-roll package

Shoppers at Publix will save nearly 70 cents on top of the current sale of Cottonelle 12-roll package of double rolls if they stop by their local store instead of going the Instacart route.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

5. Romaine hearts

If you’ve got a Caesar salad in the works, romaine hearts are first on your shopping list. A 3-ct bag is 2 for $4, versus $3.29 each on Instacart.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

6. Annie’s mac ‘n cheese

Annie’s Homegrown shells and white cheddar mac ‘n cheese sells for $2.19 in-store, versus Instacart’s $3.09.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

7. Italian parsley

On the other hand, certain produce like Italian parsley are the same price in-store or via the app ($1.69) signaling true time savings since the cost is the same.

Verdict: Same price on both

8. Dove body wash

In the Instacart app, Dove moisturizing body wash (22 oz.) is $6.34 each with the help of an in-app coupon, same as in-store.

Verdict: Same price on both

9. Smithfield bacon

Smithfield’s natural hickory smoked bacon is up for grabs at Publix in-store for $5.58 (or through a BOGO offer). The BOGO offer is also available through the Instacart app, but it’s $6.19 each.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

10. Blueberries

Each pack of blueberries on Instacart is $3.69. That same pack of blueberries is going for 3 for $10 at your local Publix – an offer not available in the on-demand app.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

Adding it all up

There’s no right choice as the on-demand service is meant to be a complement to your busy life. If less stress and more time is worth spending a little extra money, then click away and wait for your order to arrive. If you’d rather save your money, then grab a shopping cart and hit the aisles.

These figures were accurate at the time this article was composed in February 2019. Prices on Instacart and Publix may have fluctuated since that time.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Comments

comments

How Important Should Parking Be in Your Apartment Search?

Parking can be key to your apartment search, especially if you’re expecting a commute. A good parking situation can be a huge bonus when you finally nab the right apartment. The last thing you want is to circle your block hunting for a spot every day. And even if you do get designated parking, it can sometimes be pricey.

At the same time, your lifestyle, location and budget might make parking less relevant. If you’re moving to a new place, how will you figure out if you even need to worry about it? To determine the importance of parking in your search, answer the following questions.

1. Do you own a car?

This is easy. If you own a car, parking should absolutely factor into your apartment search.

Want some less obvious advice? If you don’t have one yet, consider if you might ever own a car. Your set of circumstances is liable to change from year to year. If you stay in the same place long enough, you may just have to purchase your own vehicle.

At the very least, parking is something to consider, even if you currently depend on public transportation. You might end up taking a new job in the middle of your lease at an office located an hour outside the city, for instance. Take stock of your present plans and goals and be considerate of your future needs.

2. Will you pay extra?

Some apartments charge a rent premium for parking garages, an additional cost to consider when weighing your options. You’ll pay more for these residential properties than those without the same amenities, so if you don’t need a space, you should look elsewhere.

The U.S. is a car-friendly nation, and that puts parking costs at a bit of a premium. That means apartments without solid options are likely to charge less. If you’re willing to sacrifice convenience, you might add more flexibility to your monthly budget.

If parking is a premium amenity for you, you can still make sure you know what you’ll pay. Meet with the landlord and have a discussion over what they charge for a space, what kind of security is available and any other concerns you have before you sign a lease.

3. Are there other options?

You have choices in how you get from place to place, and while car ownership is attractive, there are alternatives you can turn to. Dockless bike-sharing programs have seen increasing popularity in many cities, with bicycle commuting up more than 60 percent since the turn of the century.

Many of these cyclists don’t want the additional responsibilities associated with vehicle maintenance, and city traffic is often challenging to navigate. Bike sharing, scooter sharing and ride sharing options provide freedom from these anxieties, and these are friendly on both the environment and the wallet.

These alternatives are usually located in bustling cities, so they might not be available in your area. If they do catch your interest, research different properties and browse around. If living without a car seems freeing, it may even change up where you decide to focus your apartment search.

Parking is always going to be a major concern for most renters, but your situation might be unique. Things are always changing, too, and the next time you’re looking for a place to live, there might be even more transportation options out there. Rethinking your priorities can help you find the apartment that meets all your needs.

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

Comments

comments

Wants vs. Needs: Which Apartment Amenities are Essential

When you begin apartment hunting, a wish list starts to form in your head. Comprised of all the things you think you want and what you really need, this list can get long, but what do you actually have to have versus what you can do without?

Think about it like this, you want a big kitchen, but you need two bedrooms. You want in-apartment laundry hookups, but you need easy access to public transportation for work. Getting all the wants and needs on your wish list while staying within your budget sometimes presents a challenge.

In fact, 74 percent of renters typically make a sacrifice in amenities in order to rent what they can actually afford. Deciding what to knock off your wish list can be tough. Everything can feel like a “need” when most items are simply “wants.” Here’s a little help deciphering between the two.

Let’s start with the wants

Think of these wishlist items as things it would be great to have, but aren’t a must for you to function.

Aesthetics

These are items that help to create the look you want in your new place. Things like hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances all fit into this category. They’d be great to have, but you could always upgrade later.

Technology

As something we all use every day, having an updated apartment with features like USB charging outlets or app-controlled door locks or thermostats may have made it to your wish list. These are great wants and something you can ask a landlord to consider adding after you’ve signed a lease if they’re not there from the start.

However, access to technology – like internet and cable – is a need.

Outdoor space

Often a popular “want” on the wish list, finding an apartment with either a balcony, shared green space, garden area or rooftop access adds space and luxury to your home, but how often will you really use it?

Appliances

Of course, you’ll need a refrigerator, stove and oven. But other appliances might be more of a want.

If there’s not a washer/dryer in your unit, or hookups to add you own, is there a laundry room in the building? It’s a little less convenient, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Same can be said for central air. A window unit will work just fine.

Services

Looking at these as bonus items for your wish list can help you cross them off if your perfect place is lacking in amenities like a fitness center, pool, concierge or even a shuttle to public transportation.

Now onto the needs

Needs vary from person to person, but there are standard items most people require in their home.

Location

Sure, you may want to live in a specific area of town because you like the vibe and what’s close by. However, you need to live in a certain neighborhood in order to get to work easily or be in the right school district.

Parking

You’ve got to put that car somewhere. While you need a spot, try being flexible on whether it’s a covered spot, one in a garage or out in the open.

Pet-friendly

There’s no way you’re getting rid of Fido. So, if you have a pet, you’ll need to find pet-friendly apartments to bring your animals with you.

We all make compromises when on the hunt for our next home, but knowing what you really need in your new place versus what you’d like to have can make the search easier and less stressful.

Comments

comments

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. 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. 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. 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.

Comments

comments

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 areaapartment 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.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. 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 fistspeople 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 waterperson 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.

Comments

comments

Sample Letter: Letter of Complaint

There are currently more than 113 million people renting apartments or homes in the U.S. – almost 34 percent of the population. That’s a lot of people living in spaces where they aren’t necessarily required to address every issue that arises themselves.

Problems will come up, and when they do, you expect your landlord or management company to take care of them. But how do you tell them what’s going on in a way that gets results?

Why your neighbor might be bothering you

There’s always the potential for issues to arise when living in an apartment building with other tenants. Each resident has their own style of living, their own habits, and they might not all mesh with yours.

While you can’t expect everyone to live life the same way you do, you can require those around you to act respectfully. As a result, you may encounter certain situations, like these, which you might not be able to reconcile on your own.

Noise

Loud neighbors can often complicate your peaceful evening at home or interrupt that movie you’re watching as their booming base seeps through your walls. Common noise complaints can come from music, the television, a barking dog and of course, that wild party that just won’t quit.

Oftentimes, tenants aren’t aware they’re being too noisy, so it’s a good idea to alert them to the issue before you write a formal complaint. If that doesn’t help, or the noise goes on late into the night, it’s time to take more serious action and let your landlord know what’s going on.

Inconsiderate behavior

Anything your neighbor does that affects your space or the common areas that demonstrates a lack of consideration for others fits into this category. Leaving trash outside in the hall, dropping empty cans onto your balcony from above, taking up half of your parking space with their oversized car – these are all behaviors that don’t demonstrate care for the comfort of others.

Again, they may not realize what they’re doing, so it’s a good idea to bring it to their attention. They also may just be inconsiderate people, which is why a landlord can step in to help.

Questionable odors

What people do in their own apartment is their own business until the smell of it invades your unit. When offensive odors begin to drift through the walls, it’s time to take action. Realistically, this could be a one-time offense, where a neighbor burned dinner and you get stuck with the smell.

But if it’s something reoccurring, like odors from trash, pets, or even illegal substances, a letter of complaint will help notify your landlord to take action.

Put it in writing

Alerting management to an issue with your neighbors through a formal, written letter automatically gives you proof you’ve tried to handle the problem. Should the issue escalate, you can show you took every action possible because you’ll have a paper trail to prove it.

In order to submit a complaint letter that will get results, make sure you’re clear about the issue and your expectations. Detail the problem, how it’s affecting you and what steps you think can resolve it. Make sure to put in a reasonable deadline for action, as well. And don’t forget to follow up at least once, but often is better.

To further guarantee your complaint gets the attention it deserves, make sure you’re in good standing with your landlord. If you’re not up-to-date on your rent, send in that rent check. Additionally, double-check your lease to ensure the issue you’re filing a complaint about is actually management’s responsibility.

Your sample letter

We’ve taken the time to put together a sample letter for a letter of complaint that you can download here. Fill in the information for sections in parentheses ( ).

Download Word doc of sample letter

Download PDF of sample letter


(Your Name)
(Current Address of Your Apartment, Unit #)
(City, State, Zip Code)

(Date)

(Landlord or Apartment Company’s Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)

Re: (Short statement of the issue, such as Noise Complaint; Trash in the Hallway; etc.)

Dear (Name of landlord or manager),

I’m writing to formally request your help in dealing with an issue that (has arisen/has been ongoing) with my neighbors in (neighbor’s apartment number). To date, the following actions have been taken:

  • (Create a bulleted list, in chronological order, that lists actions taken so far including whether you’ve already contacted your neighbors or landlord/apartment company and what you may have done to address the issue.)

These previous attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful, and this issue is directly affecting me by (state the impact this situation is having on you). To resolve this issue, I’d like you to get in touch with (neighbor’s name/the residents of unit XX) and facilitate a resolution.

I’m hoping we can resolve this issue on or before (set a specific date that’s reasonable, maybe a week out).

Should you need to reach me to discuss this further, please (call/email) at (insert phone or email based on preference for communication). I appreciate your attention to this issue.

Kindly,

(Your Name and Signature)
(Apartment Number)
(Phone Number or Email Address)


If your complaint isn’t addressed

What do you do if nothing happens after you’ve submitted your formal complaint letter and regularly followed-up? There are other options to consider if your landlord or apartment company isn’t responding.

  • Report the problem to the local tenant’s association, if there is one
  • Consult with an attorney

Make sure you let your landlord know you’re prepared to take these alternative steps, just be polite when you communicate.

Going through this easy process to report a neighbor complaint to your landlord or management company can help move you to a quick resolution of your issue.

Comments

comments

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 conditioningair 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 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 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 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.

Comments

comments

The 25 Most Popular Apartments in Seattle

The Emerald city has been on the cutting edge of IT for the past 30 years and some of the country’s biggest names have chosen Seattle as home. The arts have followed close on the heels of this technology boom, making Seattle a hub for some of the best galleries and shops in the country and attractive to locals and transplants alike.

But with so many vibrant neighborhoods, finding the best area to live in can be a tough decision. We’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the 25 most popular apartments in Seattle based on internet searches for you to choose from.

25. Tod Apartments

Tod ApartmentsTod Apartments

Tod Apartments feature furnished studio spaces steps from the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. Residents can enjoy jogging or relaxing at the nearby Cal Anderson Park or can take a stroll to the Jimi Hendrix Statue.

Seattle Central College is also blocks away, making Tod Apartments an attractive spot for students.

24. The Perry

The PerryThe Perry

The Perry overlooks the tree-lined First Hill neighborhood. Its studios to two-bedroom apartments each include quartz countertops, an in-unit washer and dryer and smart home features. Plus, residents can enjoy breathtaking views from its rooftop longing area.

There’s also no shortage of entertainment and dining options, as plenty of bars and restaurants are within walking distance. For commuters, I-5 is only four blocks away.

23. Helios

HeliosHelios

Helios is a 40-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle that features studios to two-bedroom spaces. Each unit comes with skyline views, a washer and dryer, a balcony and stainless steel appliances.

Helios offers a theater room, yoga room and three rooftop lounges. Four-legged friends also get a pet wash facility, dog lounge and outdoor dog running area. But residents and their pets alike have ample opportunity to walk to pretty much anything nearby.

Pike Place Market is two blocks away. The Seattle Aquarium, Westlake Park and Seattle Great Wheel are also a short walk away.

22. Broadstone Sky

Broadstone SkyBroadstone Sky

Broadstone Sky is located in West Seattle with the beaches of Puget Sound minutes away and The Junction nearby. Residents can choose a loft, one- or two-bedroom unit in 20 different floor plans complete with a fully equipped kitchen, dual-pane windows and a washer and dryer.

There’s a fitness center, rooftop deck and courtyard, plus shuttle service to and from The Junction to Alki Beach. Residents can also walk to the nearby eclectic shop and The Junction’s weekend farmer’s market or hop on a West Seattle Water Taxi to get to the city’s center.

21. Green Lake Village

Green Lake VillageGreen Lake Village

Green Lake Village provides residents one- and two-bedroom apartments with luxe, modern amenities, including stainless steel appliances, large windows, a patio and an in-unit washer and dryer.

The community is situated between I-5 and Green Lake, so residents have the best of both worlds: access to downtown and the relaxing East Green Lake Beach nearby.

20. Westlake Step & Marina SLU

Green Lake VillageGreen Lake Village

Located on the Queen Anne side of Lake Union, Westlake Steps & Marina SLU serves as a colorful backdrop to waterfront views. Residents can choose between one- and two-bedroom apartments complete with an island kitchen and large closets.

The building also has a fitness center and rooftop activities area. But, those who live here will have plenty to see and do with Lake Union Park, which host festivals, fireworks shows and boating events, at their doorsteps.

19. Eastlake 2851

Eastlake 2851Eastlake 2851

Eastlake 2851 features studios to two-bedroom apartment homes on Seattle’s Lake Union. The waterfront views and quick access to downtown, UW and Amazon’s headquarters make this spot an attractive place to call home.

Residents can enjoy the fitness center or access the nearby trails along the lake. This community is also close to I-5 so getting to other parts of town is a short drive away.

18. 111 East Olive

111 East Olive111 East Olive

111 East Olive offers open-concept studios to two-bedroom spaces with oversized closets, hardwood floors and in-unit washer/dryers. Pets are also welcome at this community.

It’s across from Cal Anderson Park and close to Seattle University, as well as walking distance to dining and entertainment options. The building is also just blocks away from the Broadway and East Pine Street LINK light rail station.

17. North Park Villa Apartments

North Park Villa ApartmentsNorth Park Villa Apartments

North Park Villa Apartments feature newly constructed one-bedroom units north of downtown and across the street from a greenbelt where you can relax and get some air.

Located in the up-and-coming Aurora Village area, North Park Villa offers eight floor plans to choose from and have an open, airy feel in the midst of this bustling area of town.

16. Cambridge Park Villa Apartments

Cambridge Park Villa ApartmentsCambridge Park Villa Apartments

Gorgeous grounds and a meticulously groomed landscape greet you at the Cambridge Park Villa apartments. This pet-friendly property is near I-405 just blocks from Westfield Mall, restaurants and entertainment.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom units feature modern appliances. Residents can also enjoy an indoor pool and gym.

15. CityLine Apartments

CityLine ApartmentsCityLine Apartments

CityLine Apartments offers studio through three-bedroom apartments in plenty of different floor plans in Columbia City. Each unit features new appliances, an in-unit washer/dryer and open-concept areas.

The pet-friendly community also features a dog-walking service, a rooftop gathering area, Bocci Ball and a bowling alley. The area itself is filled with local bakeries, coffee houses and artisanal shops. The complex is just off Martin Luther King, Jr. Way so ample shopping and dining are a short distance away.

14. The Kennedy Building

The Kennedy BuildingThe Kennedy Building

Just steps from the University of Washington (UW) Campus, you’ll love the eclectic feel of the UW neighborhood, as shops, bars and restaurants surround this property.

The Kennedy Building offers studio to two-bedroom spaces complete with a private deck. Residents can also enjoy a rooftop grilling area, views of downtown, a built-in fire pit area and 24-hour fitness center and 24-hour cyber café.

13. Thornton Place

Thornton PlaceThornton Place

Thornton Place is located in the Northgate neighborhood along the I-5. Residents can choose from studio to two-bedroom units that include open floor plans and 20-foot ceilings. This building also has a controlled entrance and an easy access 24-hour fitness center.

Plus, this supremely convenient location gives anyone access to shopping and entertainment just a walk away. The community is even close to the Northgate Transit Center, making the commute to downtown a breeze.

12. The Station at Othello Place

The Station at Othello PlaceThe Station at Othello Place

The Station at Othello Place features modern studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and an in-unit washer/dryer.

Located in the Othello neighborhood, this up-and-coming area is surrounded by shopping and restaurants. Additionally, the light rail (of the same name) is right outside the front door, so it’s easy to explore the rest of Seattle, including a trip to the nearby King Country International Airport.

11. The AJ

AJ ApartmentsAJ Apartments

The AJ offers West Seattle living at its finest. These spacious studios through two-bedroom floor plans feature high ceilings, hardwood floors and private patios.

This gated community is just minutes from downtown and walking distance from West Seattle Bowl and Junction Plaza Park.

10. Malloy Apartments

AJ ApartmentsAJ Apartments

Minutes from the University of Washington campus, the Malloy Apartments offers studio and one-bedroom homes ideal for students. The new interiors feature high ceilings and oversized walk-in-closets, plus 24-hour on-site staff to help with all needs.

Residents can step out their front door and enjoy the trendy shops, coffeehouses and plenty of dining and entertainment up and down 15th Avenue.

9. The Enclave

The EnclaveThe Enclave

The Enclave in smack in the middle of the urban Northgate neighborhood. Residents can choose from studio to two-bedroom spaces with stainless steel appliances, gourmet kitchens and oversized closets.

The pet-friendly building also offers a fitness center and shuttle service to UW. It’s even close to I-5, so getting around is a breeze.

8. 101 John Apartments

101 John Apartments101 John Apartments

Seated in the desirable lower Queen Anne neighborhood, 101 John Apartments features 20 studios to two-bedroom luxury apartment homes near some of Seattle’s most tantalizing attractions.

It’s across the street from the Seattle Center, that includes grassy spaces, fountains, restaurants, sports arena, two museums, four theaters and the McCaw Opera House. It’s also near the Seattle Waterfront. The spaces include stainless steel appliances and in-unit washer and dryer.

7. Harbor Steps

Harbor StepsHarbor Steps

Harbor Steps offers access to pretty much everything with its prime downtown location. The modern building features luxury studios to three-bedroom spaces, including penthouses, in more than 20 floor plans.

Residents have access to stunning waterfront views, three fitness centers, a basketball court and an indoor pool. The Seattle Art Museum is across the street and famous Pike Place Market is two blocks away.

6. Chroma SLU

Chroma SLUChroma SLU

A unique sense of style meets one of downtown’s most desirable locations. Chroma SLU offers a pop of color in an otherwise traditional neighborhood.

Located in South Lake Union, these one- and two-bedroom spaces include hardwood floors, large closets and a washer and dryer. Chroma SLU is next to Cascade Park, which has playgrounds and ample green space. It’s also close to I-5 and a short drive from the waterfront.

5. Juxt

JuxtJuxt

Juxt is all about creating that sense of community in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The community offers studios to three-bedrooms surrounded by best-in-class shops and restaurants.

Residents can enjoy a private balcony or the community media center and grilling areas. Lake Union Park is a few blocks away and the N Westlake Ave. and Mercer Street Light Rail station is a short walk away.

4. UDistrict Square Apartments

U-District Square ApartmentsU-District Square Apartments

Originally built in 1923 as a 5-star resort, UDistrict Square Apartments is a seven-story building in the heart of the University District and two blocks from the University of Washington.

The studios to three-bedroom apartments are ideal for students and professionals alike and feature many different floor plan options in two separate buildings. The area also offers access to eclectic, one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants.

3. Brooklyn 65

The Brooklyn 65The Brooklyn 65

Brooklyn 65 sits in the heart of the sought-after Roosevelt neighborhood, steps from beloved Green Lake Park. This trendy and quiet area of Seattle is perfect for singles or couples looking for studio spaces.

The units include above-standard ceiling heights, spa-like bathrooms, built-in wall beds and barn-door style room separators. And, short-term leases are available. Locals can also enjoy artisan shops and cafes, top-notch restaurants and the nearby Cowen and Ravenna Parks.

2. The Blake Apartments

The Blake ApartmentsThe Blake Apartments

The Blake Apartments sit in a beautiful south Seattle neighborhood offering stunning views of the Olympic Mountain, Puget Sound and Blake Island.

Resident can choose from a studio to a two-bedroom unit that includes vaulted ceilings, island kitchens and private balconies. The area is also extremely walkable, so everything you need is a quick jaunt away.

1. Westview Apartment Homes

Westview Apartment HomesWestview Apartment Homes

Westview Apartment Homes is located in Beacon Hill and provides views of Olympic Mountain, Puget Sound and downtown Seattle. Its studios to two-bedroom apartment homes are a part of classic Seattle construction, built in the early 1900s.

Amenities include large windows, hardwood-style flooring and a claw foot tub. The pet-friendly community is also close to I-5 and just two blocks away from the Beacon Hill station, so getting around town shouldn’t be a hassle.

Methodology

We looked at all organic entrances from April 2018 to April 2019 to rental property inventory listed on ApartmentGuide.com to determine which properties with a Seattle mailing address are most searched by people on the internet. The information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice, availability or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Comments

comments