Holiday Gifts for Your Landlord or Property Manager

You like your apartment. It's in great shape, it's fairly priced, and if there's a problem, it's always fixed quickly. Not only that, but your landlord or property manager is always ready with a smile and a kind word.

It's the holiday season, so naturally you'd like to tell her 'thank you.' Here are some ideas:

  • Drop off flowers or a plant. They don't cost much, and your landlord or property manager can use them to brighten up the office.
  • Send a gift card. You might not know much about her taste, but most people love a little help with groceries, gas, or alcohol.
  • Donate to charity in her name. If you know her favorite cause, fantastic; if not, go for big charities like UNICEF or the Red Cross. Make sure to send her a card confirming the donation.
  • Make something. Do you knit? Paint? Draw? Cook? Make jewelry? Nothing beats a gift made from scratch.

Renting for Pet Lovers

Locating a pet-friendly apartment takes time, organization and negotiating skills. Here are some tips to make the process easier.

Check Out Pet-Friendly Places. If a community doesn't allow pets, don't bother trying to convert them. Stick to animal lovers!

Smaller May Be Better. Individual home or condo owners may be easier to persuade than big management companies.

Be Honest. Don't risk an eviction notice: the property manager or landlord will find out about your pet, so always disclose it.

Get References. Have your previous landlord, friends, or family vouch for your pet's behavior. Get a letter from the vet certifying your pet's health and vaccinations.

Introduce Your Pet. A cute face is hard to refuse!

Get it in Writing. Be sure that terms like increased security deposit, pet rent, etc. are clearly spelled out in your lease.

The Humane Society can help guide you to pet-friendly places across the country.

The Latest Decorating Trends

Decorating is simpler than you think. These trends will save you money and help your apartment look great.

Go 'Green.' Don't just look good; feel good about it! Try to stick with low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, organic fabrics, and sustainable materials.

Multipurpose Decor. Clutter is out, so look for pieces that are beautiful and functional, like bookshelves, baskets, and storage ottomans.

If you've got a decorating secret, let us know below.

How to Un-Clutter Your Apartment

Try a little experiment with us. Get up, walk to the kitchen, then come back. We'll wait.

Get back unscathed? Good. But if all the boxes, bags and bric-a-brac in your path made you feel like an Amazonian explorer, try these tips for reducing clutter in your apartment.

Reduce. Then reduce some more.
Every weekend, choose a room. Go through its contents and decide what to keep, store, donate, or throw away. You might be tempted to get sentimental, but stay tough — do you really use that Rubik's Cube?

If possible, store it.
If it can go in a box or on a shelf, put it there. If you can't find a place for it, maybe you don't need it.

Use it? Put it back.
Is everything in its place? Survey your apartment every day to make sure things aren’t getting out of control.

Spread the word.
You’ll never stay on top of cleanliness if you’re always picking up after your family or roommates. Give everyone their own organizational tools, assign tasks, and make sure they pick up after themselves.

Pest Control for Tenants and Landlords

Heat, humidity, foul weather, and many other factors can contribute to insect activity in and around a home. However, there are a number of ways that building owners and tenants can prevent insect infestations. Pest control should be a priority for building owners, occupants, and any groundskeepers responsible for the area. More important than pest control, of course, is coordination.

The most difficult part of keeping pests under control is making sure that everyone on the property is aware of the procedure when insects are detected in large numbers. A spider or two is hardly dangerous, but if a carpenter ant nest or colony of crickets is discovered, this could present a serious problem. In addition to inconvenience, stress, and the unsettling proximity of pests, the presence of an insect nest or colony can be a serious biological hazard. Insect feces, eggs, and other unpleasant factors can create a harmful and toxic environment. This is why it is so crucial to coordinate pest inspection.

To begin with, all tenants should speak to the landlord when any sign of pest infestation is discovered. Such signs could include:

  • Insects appearing in unusual places (couch cushions, carpets)
  • Insects congregating in large numbers
  • Strange smells, buzzing sounds or scratching under floorboards

Pest management should be enacted shortly after any of these warning signs are discovered. Landlord and tenants should discuss the situation, identify the kind of pest that is present, and prepare a plan to eradicate the invader. If the pest situation is already out of control, consult a specialist immediately.

If the pest problem is still in its early stages, begin counteracting the pests immediately. While sprays and traps may be effective in industrial buildings, in residential buildings most pesticides can also be a health and living hazard. Therefore, careful methods are required to eradicate the insects in your home. Select only traps that are safe to deploy in peripheral spaces; child-proof traps are preferable.

Of course, prevention is the best form of warfare against troublesome and dangerous pest infestations. To ensure true pest management, prepare your home in advance. For instance, you should check the exterior of your home for overgrowth and excess foliage. A clean lawn helps repel insects by removing cover for their colonies and nests. This task is best left to the landlord or caretakers; ideally, an arrangement should be reached between landlord and tenant. This arrangement could involve the tenant paying extra for pest removal services; alternatively, it could involve the landlord or caretaker cleaning the exterior of the home and checking for insect infestation while the tenant does the same for the inside.

If vigilant cleaning is maintained, it becomes less likely that ants, termites, and crickets will have a chance to settle in your home. Additionally, you should consider the role of moisture in your home. Excess moisture will cause openings and weaknesses in your home's structure that make it easier for insects to nest. Examples of excess moisture include:

  • Rotting, decaying or crumbling sideboards or wood
  • Mold, lichen or moss growing in or around your home

Finally, excess food, crumbs or edible material left in the open around your home will attract ants and flies. Consult your landlord or an expert for best pest inspection.

Author Bio: Rose McMillan is an experienced pest control professional, who now pursues a career in freelance writing with the purpose sharing preventative pest management. Sources: Terminix Pest Library.

How to Get Your Full Security Deposit Back

Your security deposit was probably at least a month's rent — if not more. You want it back when you move, and the solution seems easy: don't trash the place, right?

Yes, but. Accidents happen to the best of us — maybe a glass of red wine was knocked over, or the walls got scratched when you moved furniture. By the time you move out, you may have forgotten about the problem. You might not have noticed in the first place. It's a matter of discretion and your lease terms, of course, but your landlord is allowed to deduct for small damage like this.

Some states, like California, mandate that your landlord walk through your apartment two weeks prior to move-out and provide a list of liable damages, giving you the chance to fix them and receive your full deposit back. Research the law in your state, and if the landlord doesn't offer this service, ask for it. And just to be safe, try to fix damage as it occurs. If you're liable, repair is almost always cheaper than losing a chunk of your security deposit.

Adding Color to Your Apartment

You've signed the lease and hauled the last box through the door. You're moved in. Now you have to make your apartment look like home.

From pictures to plants to creative furniture, a lot of things will give your apartment a personal touch. But look at those white walls: can you do anything about them?

The answer is maybe. Most leases prevent you from painting, but for a fee, some landlords will allow you to paint a wall or room. You choose from a list of pre-approved colors, and they do the work for you.

If you'd like to make things more colorful, ask your landlord if this is an option. Needless to say, however, you must abide by their decision. Never do any painting or alterations yourself, and always know the terms of your lease.

Highpoint at Quincy: Luxury Apartment Living in Quincy, MA

Highpoint at Quincy is a 75-acre master planned community in Quincy, Massachusetts. Located just minutes from 193, Crown Colony, and State Street South, Highpoint offers convenient access to the best of Boston. Highpoint's community amenities include a large clubhouse, health and fitness facility, business center, media room, swimming pool, and tennis courts, along with a dog park, billiard room, on-site laundry facilities, and a sun deck!

Highpoint at Quincy offers apartments in a variety of one- and two-bedroom floorplans. Highpoint apartments offer modern kitchen appliances, air conditioning, spacious closets, wonderful views, washer and dryer hookups, and available high speed internet acces.

Click here for more about Highpoint at Quincy.

Introducing Philly Apartment Living

Our new Philly Apartment Living blog is more than meets the eye.

If you rent an apartment in the Philadelphia area, the blog will help you spruce up your place and plan a night out. And if you need a new home, it'll point you in the right direction, from starter studios in the Northeast to luxury three-bedrooms in Old City. We like to think it'll save you time, money, and a few wrinkles, because it's written by Philly natives who are the funniest people we know.

It's more than that, though. Want a quick peek at the news from down the block? Philly Apartment Living has it. We've got our eye on the Kimmel Center and Citizens Bank Park, from City Line Avenue to the river. The blog is just getting on its feet, but pretty soon we'll have our finger on 'the big story,' as Jim Gardner would say.

We post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and occasionally more often. Check it out, and let us know if there's anything you'd like to see.

Property Spotlight: Sail Cloth Factory Apartments, Baltimore

Baltimore, MD

Make your home at Sail Cloth Factory Apartments in Baltimore and you'll be within walking distance to one of America's most vibrant downtown districts. Sail Cloth Factory Apartments sit in a 19th century building near Baltimore's Inner Harbor, offering modern living in a historic space. At Sail Cloth Factory Apartments, you'll enjoy character, convenience, and comfort.

The Sail Cloth Factory Apartments community features on-site property management, a fitness center, a private interior courtyard, a roof deck with a panoramic view, and 24 hour emergency maintenance. Sail Cloth Factory Apartments are available in several one-bedroom floor plans featuring either lofts or dens. Apartments feature amenities like refrigerators, dishwashers, garbage disposals, microwaves, European-style cabinets, color-coordinated countertops, air conditioning, spacious closets, telephone intercom systems, washers and dryers, and dramatic high ceilings. At Sail Cloth Factory Apartments, you'll experience the best of urban living right in Baltimore!

Learn more about Sail Cloth Factory Apartments in Baltimore