Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Survive Winter in Your Apartment




Winter can be an incredibly trying time of year, with its sub-zero temperatures, salt stains, and frozen fingers.  However, winter also gives you the chance to get outside and embrace the snow, or to say in and really enjoy your space.  By following these simple guidelines you can ensure that whether you are cuddled up on the couch, or dashing through the snow, you and your apartment will survive winter.    

Prepare Yourself

One way to ready yourself for the cold is to ensure that your outdoor space is winter-ready.  Stack and stow all of your outdoor furniture, bikes, and barbecue, and, if you can, wrap them in a tarpaulin.  Also, have a sturdy shovel, salt or kitty litter handy, to ensure your outdoor space is free from ice and snow.  By keeping your outdoor space clear, little tasks, like taking out the garbage, or popping outside for a nip of fresh winter air, are less bothersome, and make you feel like less of a shut-in.  Another way to keep the winter blues at bay is to embrace the weather through skiing, sledding, or skating.  In order to make this easier, clear some space at your entrance to accommodate the bulky outdoor equipment you might need.  It is also worth your while to invest in a good floor mat for your entrance to catch dripping snow from your skates, skis, or boots.

Stay Cozy

If the cold is too much for you, then cozy up indoors.  Winter can be a wonderful time to have friends and family over, or to flake out on the couch with a good book or movie.  To better facilitate this, dust off your cookbooks and harness your inner chef.  There is no better time of year to make soups, and stews, or to bake bread or sweets than the winter.  Nothing warms you up more than homemade food, and the heat from the oven is an added bonus.  It also helps to make your living space cozy with blankets or throws, low lighting or candles.

Beat the Cold (or the Heat)

Depending on your unit or building, your apartment can either be extremely cold or unbearably hot in the winter.  If your place gets chilly in the winter, be sure to spend some time finding and blocking drafts.  There are window-sealing kits that can be quite effective, but thick curtains do the trick, and give your apartment a wonderfully cozy feeling.  Another option is to pick up a small space heater.  These little heaters, some of which come as imitation fireplaces, can really do a lot to warm your body and your heart on those frigid days.  If you have radiators, there is a good chance you might be too warm.  If your unit is too hot, and you do not have a thermostat, talk to your property owner about turning down the heat slightly, if your radiators are too old and stubborn for you to turn them down on your own.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

How to Find the Perfect Roommate



As the cost of living continues to rise, more and more single people are opting for roommates and housemates to make renting more manageable.  Not only do roommates allow you to find a more spacious and amenity-rich apartment, by sharing out the costs, they also provide you with someone to share your space and time.  However, selecting the wrong roommate can be a real nightmare.  Here are some tips to help you ensure that you make the right pick when you sign your next lease.

Know What You Want

The first tip to finding an awesome roommate is determining what sort of living arrangement best suits your needs.  Do you require a more formal agreement governed by clear guidelines and house rules? Or, are you looking for a looser, and more social and shared living arrangement?  Remember, this goes both ways, so be honest as you figure this out.  Your tuba practicing, messy bathroom habits, or slightly obnoxious friend who drops by a little too often, are all things to consider in establishing your own best-case roommate scenario.

Proceed with Clarity (and Caution)

Once you know what kind of living situation you require, you need to be sure that you ask the right questions to prospective roommates.  Be sure to ask: what their work situation is, what their credit situation is, what their social life is like, what their thoughts on overnight guests are, what their standards for cleanliness are, what their cooking and kitchen habits are, and what their TV and music habits are. These questions might seem overly personal, and might be difficult to ask, but a good, frank conversation ahead of time can save you both a lot of headaches down the road.

Read Between the Lines

After you verify that your prospective roommate’s expectations are in sync with yours, you need to make sure they are telling the truth!  Sometimes people cannot own up to their own shortcomings, so you need to be a bit ruthless in vetting them.  Did they drop any stories about leaving a job, friend, or old roommate in the lurch?  Did they mention any strained relationships, or any issues from their past that might come back to haunt you?  In spite of what they say, do they seem as if they are always out partying, or generally messy?  Crosscheck what they have told you, and listen to your gut.

Finding a great roommate demands honesty, clarity, and scrutiny.  It is great if you can ultimately become friends, but that can only happen after you’ve established a mutually beneficial living arrangement.

Friday, February 9, 2018

How to give a notice to your landlord?

How to give landlord Notice?

To move out of your rental unit you need to notify the landlord that you will be terminating the lease and moving out. The notice time and form is different from province to another in

Ontario,

In Ontario, the noticed is called N9 Tenant's Notice to End the TenancyThe notice should including the following information:
  • Your name and full rental unit address.
  • The exact date you are moving out. 
  • Date and sign the notice.
Click here to download N9 from
http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb/Notices%20of%20Termination%20&%20Instructions/N9.pdf

The notice is not legal unless you give it to your landlord at the right time and determine your proper move out date. In Ontario, you must give the landlord 60 days notice before you move out. You have by then completed your annual or 1 year lease rent or have already switched to a month to month lease. If you have moved in a rental unit on Jan 1st and wanted to move out after 1 year of the lease is up. You need to notify your landlord by no later than Oct 30 that you will be moving out on Dec 31st.


In 

Alberta,

it is called Notice to End a Periodic Tenancy. So now when do you give this notice and how? For short term weekly rental, you give the landlord one week notice
For monthly or month to month lease you give the landlord 30 days minimum or 1 month notice. 
Example if you rent ends on March 31st you have to give notice on the last day of the prior month Feb 28.


How do you deliver the notice?
- Personally 
- By Fax
- You can't deliver it by email. It has to result in a printed copy on the landlord side.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Tips for Renting with Pets




Pets can be a wonderful addition to your home.  Whether it is a dog or cat, goldfish or parakeet, pets offer companionship and keep you connected to what is most important in life.  However, living in an apartment or condo can pose challenges for pet-owners.  Limited space and close proximity to neighbours means renters need to take extra care when considering whether or not to get a pet.  By keeping a few things in mind you can enjoy the benefits of pet-ownership, and dodge the pitfalls.    

Choose Wisely

The first thing to consider is what pet best fits your life, and your space.  Fish are a wonderful and lower-maintenance pet option.  They bring both colour and a soothing sense of calm to your space.  Other less-hands-on pet options are birds, and small rodents, such as guinea pigs, hamsters, or gerbils.  These more independent creatures give you a little more interaction than fish, but mostly keep to themselves. Cats and dogs are, of course, delightful companions, but they demand more care and attention.  Cats and dogs love to spend time with their owners and eagerly await your return, but be sure to pick a cat or dog that suits your space.  Cats, for the most part, are pretty conducive to apartment living, but some are a little more rambunctious than others, so it might help to do a bit of research.  Dogs, on the other hand vary significantly between breeds.  When selecting a dog, choose a breed that is better matched to smaller, less active living, such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, or Shih Tzus.

Be Responsible

Once you have chosen the right pet, be sure to consider whether or not you are up for the responsibility.  First, be sure you are able to keep the noise your pet makes down to a minimum.  Dogs, cats, and some birds can make quite a racket, so opt for quieter animals or breeds, and do your best to train and discourage loud calls.  Secondly, be sure to keep it clean.  Aquariums, cat litter boxes, bird and rodent cages can become quite smelly if you do not actively clean them, so stay on top of their daily maintenance.  The same goes for dog waste outside—remember to clean up after your dog, so as not to become the building litterbug.  Also, be sure to give your pet the care it needs.  Behaviour problems usually result from insufficient exercise and inattention, so remember to play with your pets as often as you can, and be sure to give dogs the walks and exercise they need.  Last, if you opt for a dog, ensure that it behaves properly in the building’s shared space.  Not everyone loves dogs, so keep yours well behaved, heeled, and on a leash when in the elevator and hallways.

Remember, it is crucial that you verify that pet ownership is authorized in your building, and be sure that you follow the guidelines set out by the property owners regarding pets.  With clearance from the property owner, and by taking the proper responsibility, pet-ownership in an apartment can be tremendously rewarding.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Simple Tricks to Soundproof Your Pad



Living in an apartment or condo can be downright loud.  The density of apartment living offers a bustling vibrancy, but it can also bring a lot of unwanted noise.   Whether it’s a neighbor down the hall who watches movies at deafening levels, or the wailing of sirens outside, or the chattering of voices from the hallway or the sidewalk below, noise is part and parcel of denser living.  However, there are ways you can prevent the noise from getting in, and keep the noise you make, from getting out.

Keep the Noise Out

By adding some additional blockage to your doors and windows you can greatly reduce the amount of ambient noise that drifts into your unit.  Door sweeps—rubber seals that easily fasten on to the bottom of doors—are an excellent way to prevent the conversations and echoing footsteps of a busy hallway from flowing into your apartment.  Door sweeps provide the added bonus of keeping drafts and roaming insects out as well.  Another way to keep out the noise is by adding thick curtains in front of windows, sliding doors, and front doors.  Thick curtains muffle sound, but they also keep your apartment nice and warm in the colder months, and provide a stylish and dramatic flare to your living space.

Muffle the Noise Within

Noise can be greatly increased by the acoustics of your apartment, as well.  This is especially the case in newer buildings where open concept apartments with high ceilings really allow noise to bounce off the ceiling, floor, and walls.  You can significantly diminish this echoing by adding rugs and carpets to your apartment.  The effectiveness of rugs can be improved further by inserting rug pads underneath them.  Not only do the pads keep your rugs from sliding all over the place, their thickness muffles sound as well.  Another option is to hang rugs or carpets on your walls.  Some rugs are too beautiful to simply go underfoot, and by showcasing their design on the wall you greatly decrease the echoing of internal apartment noise.  Also, consider placing a wall length bookcase against any walls that are thin and noise-porous.  Nothing stifles unwanted sound like books, and you get some much needed storage space as well.

Go Pro

If you are less interested in the DIY approach there are also numerous noise-canceling products available to buy.  Items like complete window inserts, sound-proof panels for walls and ceilings, and acoustic window/door blankets and sealing kits are all solid solutions to cutting down the noise in your apartment.  If you do plan on going with a more installation-heavy approach, be sure you check with the property owner first. 

By taking a few small steps to stop the flow of outside noise, and to soften and neutralize the noise inside your unit, you can have all the benefits of urban density without all of the racket.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Keeping Pests out of your Apartment





Whether its ants, spiders, moths, mice, squirrels, or raccoons, chances are you will end up sharing your living space with some unwelcome pests at some point in your life.  Pests are unpleasant to say the least, but worse still, they can be destructive, unsanitary, and even carry the risk of disease.  It might not be possible to live entirely pest-free, especially for those of us who are renting in older buildings or in basements, but by following a few straightforward rules, you can lower the chances of pests setting up shop in your abode.

Mind the Gaps

The best way to keep pests out of your apartment is to guarantee they have no means of entering your home.  This means ensuring that any and all cracks, gaps, space or holes (in the siding, in the window or door frame, or around pipes, electrical outlets, or air conditioner units) are completely sealed off. 
Some of these might be quick fixes, like adding steel wool or a stain-free removable caulking around small gaps or cracks, but if you locate more sizable holes be sure to contact and consult with the property owner to see how best to proceed.

Keep it Clean

Pests are attracted to food, so if you keep your apartment tidy and litter free you eliminate their food source, and send them packing.  You can accomplish this inside your unit, by properly rinsing your recycling materials, and by making sure that your recycling, garbage and compost bins are clean and well-sealed at all times.  This is also true of your food.  By storing dry goods, like rice, beans, grains, sugars, and flours, in glass or plastic sealable containers, and by ensuring that vinegar and oil bottles are wiped clean, you can keep your food free from pests, and leave the pests with nothing to eat.

An Orderly Outdoors

Keeping things clean and tidy outside can also force pests to look elsewhere.  Do whatever you can to keep your recycling, garbage, and compost bins tightly sealed.  Larger pests, like squirrels and raccoons, are incredibly resourceful so if you cannot keep your bins out of their reach, or if you cannot seal the lids, ensure that there is no way for pests to climb upon the bins or push them over.  If a pest views your building as a reliable food source it will continue to return, so cut them off at the source by keeping your bins unavailable, and by keeping your deck, balcony, or patio clear of any and all garbage and debris.

Pests are a fact of life, but by preventing their access to your space, and by keeping tidy, you can limit their damage, and encourage them to move along.