Hazards of Renting an Old Home
The charm of an old home can be nostalgic for many people, but is it worth your time to consider moving into a home that is from the 19th century? Renters in particular may have issues with renting an older home, especially if their lease has penalties for moving out early. Keeping in mind the following information can help save you money and heartache when looking for an old house to rent.
Old Cables and Electrical Wiring
As you tour your potential rental home, make sure to ask questions about the cables and electrical wiring. If you are able to look at the electrical cables, take note of whether the insulation is brittle or flaking off. There may be some exposed wires in the walls, and you should ask your potential landlord to have all cables checked for safety’s sake. The last thing you want is to live in a house with electrical problems, or worse, in a house that may burst into flames at any given moment because cables are exposed and brittle.
Back in the old times, wires were run in the walls without any sheathing around them. This is incredibly dangerous, and should definitely be addressed before signing any leasing papers or paying any money. The landlord should have this taken care of, and should allow you to see the work done, before you move in.
Make sure to ask questions about the type of paint on the walls. Chances are that, if the home was built prior to 1978, it may have lead paint. This is not a hazard unless the paint is in bad condition. If you notice that the paint on the walls is peeling or chipping, you should consider it hazardous, especially for children. Check the window sills for paint dust as well, because this will be a very good indicator of the quality of the paint. Lead paint causes neurological problems in children, but does not affect adults in the same way because our brains are fully developed and we weigh more.
Mold and Leaking Ceilings
While there may not be current leaks in the ceiling, especially if there is a new roof, it is very possible that the old roof could have leaked in the past. If this did happen, the plaster in the house may have gotten damp and caused mold to grow in the walls. Mold can be very dangerous and must be taken care of immediately. Be on the lookout for any discoloration on the walls or any areas on the walls that may look damp. Insist that the landlord have the house checked for mold prior to you signing the lease.
The best thing you can do for yourself when signing a lease on an older home is to purchase renter’s insurance. Knowing the aforementioned concerns with older houses, you should also be sure to consider whether this house would be a good candidate for renting to own. Make sure you read your lease in its entirety, and make your concerns clear with the landlord so you have no surprises when you finally move in.