College Housing for the Arcata and McKinelyville Area
Moving In

If you fail to document the initial condition of your apartment before moving in, or don't get your landlord to acknowledge existing damages, you could be billed for these damages when you move out. Here is how to stay on top of things when moving into your new unit.

Download Our Move In/Out Checklist

The Tea Gardens
(707) 839-3233
11th & F Streets
Arcata CA, 95519
Office Hours
09:00 am - 03:00 pm
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Click Here For Details
2 Bedroom / 1 Bath : $1,285/month

Before you decide to rent, carefully inspect the rental unit with the landlord or the landlord's agent. Make sure that the unit has been maintained well. Use this inventory checklist as an inspection guide. When you inspect the rental unit, look for the following problems:
  • Cracks or holes in the floor, walls, or ceiling.
  • Signs of leaking water or water damage in the floor, walls, or ceiling.
  • Signs of rust in water from the taps.
  • Leaks in bathroom or kitchen fixtures.
  • Lack of hot water.
  • Inadequate lighting or insufficient electrical outlets.
  • Inadequate heating or air conditioning.
  • Inadequate ventilation or offensive odors.
  • Defects in electrical wiring and fixtures.
  • Damaged flooring.
  • Damaged furnishings (if it's a furnished unit).
  • Signs of insects, vermin, or rodents.
  • Accumulated dirt and debris.
  • Inadequate trash and garbage receptacles.
  • Chipping paint in older buildings.
  • Also, look at the exterior of the building and any common areas, such as hallways and courtyards. Does the building appear to be well-maintained? Are the common areas clean and well-kept?
The quality of rental units can vary greatly. You should understand the unit's good points and shortcomings, and consider them all when deciding whether to rent, and whether the rental price is reasonable.

Ask the landlord who will be responsible for paying for utilities (gas, electric, water, and trash collection). You will probably be responsible for some, and possibly all of them. Try to find out how much the previous tenant paid for utilities. This will help you be certain that you can afford the total amount of the rent and utilities each month. With increasing energy costs, it's important to consider whether the rental unit and its appliances are energy efficient.

Tea Garden Four Plex
(707) 839-3233
1120/1140 F Street
Arcata CA, 95521
Office Hours
09:00 am - 02:30 pm
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Click Here For Details
2 Bedroom / 2 Bath
1 Bedroom / 1 Bath : $890/month

If the rental unit is a house or duplex with a yard, ask the landlord who will be responsible for taking care of the yard. If this falls to you, ask whether the landlord will supply necessary equipment, such as a lawn mower and a hose.

During this initial walk-through of the rental unit, you will have the chance to see how your potential landlord reacts to your concerns about it. At the same time, the landlord will learn how you handle potential problems. You may not be able to reach an agreement on every point, or you may not be able to agree on anything. Nonetheless, how you get along will help both of you decide whether you will become a tenant.

1009 Lewis Avenue
(707) 498-9698
1009 Lewis Avenue
Arcata CA, 95521
 House Room For Rent
Click Here For Details
1 Bedroom / 1 Bath : $500/month

If you find problems like the ones listed above, discuss them with the landlord. If the problems are ones that the law requires the landlord to repair, find out when the landlord intends to make the repairs. If you agree to rent the unit, it's a good idea to get these promises in writing, including the date by which the repairs will be completed.

If the landlord isn't required by law to make the repairs, you should still write down a description of any problems if you are going to rent the property. It's a good idea to ask the landlord to sign and date the written description. Also, take photographs or a video of the problems. Your signed, written description and photographs or video will document that the problems were there when you moved in, and can help avoid disagreement later about your responsibility for the problems.

Finally, it's a good idea to walk or drive around the neighborhood during the day and again in the evening. Ask neighbors how they like living in the area. If the rental unit is in an apartment complex, ask some of the tenants how they get along with the landlord and the other tenants. If you are concerned about safety, ask neighbors and tenants if there have been any problems, and whether they think that the area is safe.

Download Our Move In/Out Checklist

and....don't forget to call to turn on the utilities!