There’s a lot of things that are best rented, not bought.
You like going on the mountain once a year so you rent skiing equipment, it makes no sense to buy it when used so rarely. You like to get your car seats deeply cleaned, rent an upholstery machine. You go to a wedding every few years - rent a tux.
You’re still not settled to a location, don’t know what you want in your forever home, or still waiting for who to get a larger home with - rent!
What all these things have in common is that you’re borrowing something for your use, be it a tool, something you wear or something you stay in. All in all they all need to be returned in the same condition they were in when you got it.
It’s easy to know what to do in case of a rented tuxedo. There’s more that can go wrong with upkeep of your home. Here’s some tips about the most likely things to avoid doing so you don’t need to worry about paying for damages.
Cleaning seems like a no-brainer, you’re taking care of the home entrusted to your care and making it nice for you to live in. Right? But cleaning can go wrong and end up causing damage you need to pay for.
So take care to pay attention to avoid these common errors in cleaning:
- Using one purpose harsh cleaner for everything.
The problem with this is that while it gets everything clean, sometimes it gets things too clean. You can take paint off the walls, scratch ceramic surfaces, bleach off colour from furniture etc. Use gentle cleaning supplies.
- Same goes for abrasive sponges, brushes etc. It’s good at getting dirt out, but it’s also good at scratching things. Use microfibre.
- Spraying cleaning liquids onto electronics can cause permanent damage. Just use a little water on a microfibre cloth instead. Spraying cleaning supplies on the cloth when cleaning normal furniture is also more cost effective as well as better for your health.
- Scrubbing out carpet spills will push the dirt in deeper. Instead blot out the liquid.
- Washing wooden floors with a lot of water can cause damage to the wood. Less (liquid) is more.
- Not cleaning the bathroom often enough and not letting it air out and dry. This can end up with mould that you’ll not be able to remove when moving out.
The easiest way to avoid damaging something with enthusiastic cleaning - ask the landlord for any special instructions to pay in mind.
Maintenance - should be easy? They don’t teach you this in school. Who hasn’t got extra lightbulbs hanging around because they’ve got the wrong type of socket.
Here’s a list of things to pay in mind and make your life better with proper maintenance:
- Lightbulbs. Take out the old one before buying a new one. It may look like every other lightbulb, but the socket beneath is a rare one. Don’t waste money on lightbulbs that you never use.
- Kitchen hood filters. Kitchen hoods are the things that suck up the air so your whole home doesn’t smell like fried onions. Those things stop working after a while, the air keeps getting sucked up, but the smell doesn’t. No, you don’t need to call a repairman. Just clean the filters. If you left them much too long you may need to replace them, but that’s doable without hiring a professional, just buy new filters at the local hardware store.
- All sorts of other filters - air conditioners, water cleaning, faucets. Cars have filters, vacuum cleaners have filters. Whenever something isn’t working one of the questions you can ask is “does it have a filter that needs changing?” Talk things through with your landlord when moving in. What can you change on your own, what should you let the landlord know about.
You’re not gonna call in the landlord to change the vacuum filter and dust bag, but maybe you should when you need to open up the ceiling to change a filter.
- Filters really are a big thing. Did you know that you don’t need a plumber and a new faucet when it starts spraying water in every direction. Just clean the filter.
- You start noticing pests. Take immediate action! Call a specialist, call your landlord. The longer you wait the worse it will get.
- First time using gas? First time with electric? Be it stoves or boilers - as about how to use it and what to do in case it stops working. Something that works with most things - “have you tried turning it off and on again?” Just ask from the landlord how things work first, sometimes the “turning it on” bit can be more complex.
- Screwdrivers are your best friend. Things break, it happens. Sometimes you get lucky though, you may think you broke something when in reality all you have is a loose screw. If you do accidentally break something - let your landlord know and work out how you’re gonna compensate for it: money, replacement or repair.
- If you rent a party costume and your friend spills red wine on it - you’re still responsible for the cleaning bill. Unless your friend is a good friend. Same applies to your rented home. So be careful when having parties, especially if people you don’t know so well show up. Ultimately it’s still your responsibility. When a guest breaks something, make sure you have their contact information and agreement to pay any damages back to you before they leave. Once you’ve settled things with the landlord you can ask the guest to compensate you for their mistake.
Lastly, walls. The single most common thing that ends up with you needing to pay damages. You’d think walls are cheap and true, most times wall fixes are going to cost you a few hundred euros. Then again some walls can cost you in the thousands to fix it. Sometimes it’s a new coat of paint that’s needed, other times you drilled into an electrical line and you need to pay to have the wall opened, lines changed, wall closed and painted all over - expensive work!
Common issues with walls and how to avoid them:
- Big furniture when moving in. It’s bulky, it’s heavy and you just want to put it down. You’re probably going to scuff some walls.
When moving in furniture, break it into smaller parts before carrying it in - saves both the walls as well as your furniture from damage.
- Hanging stuff. You’re going to take your paintings with you when you leave. And your old home will be left with random screws, holes and tape that won’t come off.
Easiest to use desks and shelves instead. If you need to make use of wall space with holes - talk it through with the landlord instead of paying to fix things when moving out.
- Animal dandruff. Yes, in this section on walls. You love your fluffy friend, there’s no question. But what happens when the next tenant is extremely allergic to animals? You can wash floors, get soft furniture deep-cleaned, but are you really going to tear down the wallpaper and secretly change it for a new identical one that’s free from dandruff? There’s no point in keeping pets secret, you get desensitised to the scents and hair, but anyone new walking in can tell immediately. And if the next tenant is very sensitive you could end up causing serious harm to their health. Check with the landlord, agree about cleaning plans when you move out and then the landlord can also be in the know and make sure the next person calling the place home can live there.
- Bicycles kept indoors. Most walls are light to give you a nice roomy and homey feeling. Most bikes have a lot of black rubber and dirt on them. You keep it inside - those walls are going to get repainted.
To avoid this, ask the landlord about bike hold options, there may be a separate room in the garage, basement box or an outdoor bike shed.
- Smells of all kind. You get used to it so you stop noticing. And it will stick to the walls and then you’ll end up needing to pay for more painting or cleaning. Cooking creates smells, animals do, smoking, incense - the last two also change wall colour. Cleaning and repainting will get costly so it’s easier to avoid, take it outside or in the case of cooking to not forget to vent.
- You got permission to drill? To make sure you don’t have stuff fall down with part of the wall later - use the right kind of wall anchors. Wooden wall - wood anchors, concrete wall - concrete anchors etc.
- Something happens with no cause? Notify the landlord immediately, they can then investigate with neighbours or notify insurance. The longer you wait the worse it can get and then you end up needing to move out because of a flood.
For example the wall randomly gets a crack - maybe the neighbours drilled too deep. Get it checked out so you don’t need to bear responsibility for something like that?
There’s a little drip, a few drops a day, from the ceiling. Get on that right away, let your landlord now. There could be a leaky pipe that’ll burst and completely flood everything. Too late then, great time to fix it now.