When you’re searching for a new rental apartment, don’t fall victim to only assessing the unit itself. Be sure to consider the building as a whole, and any included amenities. A building’s amenities are going to play a big role in your day to day life, and it’s worth considering everything that’s included in your monthly rental payment. You don’t want to be paying a monthly gym membership fee if you already have access to a gym in your building.
These are the top six amenities you should look for in a rental building. Note the amenities that matter the most to you before you start your rental search on REW.
1. Recreational Facilities
Some buildings come with all the perks, while others have limited recreational facilities. This is one of the most obvious amenities you should know about before signing a lease.
First, find out if the building includes access to a gym, and tour the facility. Having a gym in your building is a major perk, especially if you’ve been paying a monthly fee to a gym. In our experience, close proximity to a gym means you’re more likely to use it, and saving on a gym membership doesn’t hurt either.
Another recreational facility that many Canadians love to have access to is a pool. During the cold winter months, it doesn’t get much better than having the ability to go for a soak in a hot tub or a swim in a heated pool. While this will increase your monthly strata fees, you might find that it’s worth the investment. Buildings with pools will also often have saunas or steam rooms, which can are extremely relaxing. Do a walkthrough of any pool area to see what other amenities are available to you.
Lastly, there are a couple of other indoor or outdoor recreational facilities to look for, especially if you’re into racket sports. Some apartment buildings offer access to outdoor tennis courts or indoor racquetball and squash courts. The latter is a great way to stay in shape year-round, no matter what the temperature is outside.
You don’t know how great it is to have assigned parking spaces until you’ve had them. Searching for street parking is no fun, so be sure to value a rental building with assigned parking. Ask how many spots are assigned to each unit, and see if there’s an option to purchase additional spots and at what price. You never know when you’ll need access to another spot, or what you might be able to rent out your own spot for, so it’s good to know ahead of time.
You’ll want to consider a few other aspects of parking when searching for a rental, including guest parking options, loading zones, and garage security. Guest parking is a great bonus if you have lots of visitors, while a loading zone is sure to help you on trips when you’ll be moving in or out larger items. Don’t forget that trespassers often enter buildings through parking garages, so an unsecured parking area can prove costly. Look for large gates and cameras to ensure your safety.
There’s no question that in-unit laundry is best, but if it’s not an option then be sure to look for a building with on-site laundry machines. In-unit laundry means you have access to a machine right in your apartment, no trips downstairs or to the laundromat necessary. Most newer buildings come with in-unit laundry, but on-site laundry is still common so make a note to ask your potential landlord about the laundry situation. Here are a few other questions to ask a potential landlord before you sign a lease.
First-time renters often overlook storage space, but you won’t be overlooking it when your apartment is full of bikes, boxes, and coolers. First, ask about indoor storage space and understand if your unit has access to a storage unit. You might not think you’ll need the extra space, but once you start to unpack, it’s importance will be evident. Skis, golf clubs, and all of your seasonal items will find a home here.
If you ride your bike to work or to pick up groceries, outdoor storage space is also something to inquire about. Bike racks provide quick access to your transportation and will save you a ton of time.
If the building you’re looking at has dozens of floors with a lot of units, be sure to consider the total number of working elevators on the day you visit. If you step into a building with 40 floors and only four operational elevators, you might be kicking yourself on your morning commute downstairs. New buildings run into fewer issues with elevator operations, so be careful if you’re looking at a top floor apartment unit in an old building. On the plus side, you might not need a gym if you’re hiking up twenty flights of stairs in the evenings!
Most new buildings have a freight elevator, which is great to have when you move in and out. If you have lots of big and heavy furniture pieces, ask how to access the freight elevator ahead of time. Finally, consider trash removal and how you’ll access recycling bins. Some buildings make it easy with trash chutes, while others require trips on multiple elevators to get to a dumpster.
6. Common Areas
Having a shared common area that isn’t always crowded is another fantastic amenity to look for in a rental building. It’s common for new buildings to have indoor spaces such as party rooms or conference rooms where you can gather in larger groups, many even provide access to shared wifi and coffee machines. Outdoor barbecues and picnic tables are also great to have, with many renters using them in the summer months to host gatherings and events. Some of these spaces will have to be booked ahead of time, but that’s part of what makes them great. You’ll be sure to get them to yourself that way.
You might not use your common area daily, but when you need to get together with a large group of people you’ll be glad you have them.
Don’t forget to look for these six amenities when you’re searching for your next rental property. They can be the difference between enjoying your time in a unit and regretting a move. When you’re ready to start looking, start your rental search on REW.