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Silent enemy

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. You should know that an enemy lurks in your house and is not your mother in law… its corrosion. Let’s learn how to fight it.

Living near the sea has its charms, but there are also invisible enemies to face. For example, corrosion taking hold of chairs, rods, artifacts and everything that is made of metal. This can happen at any place if you leave furniture outside.

So if you own or decided to rent a house, apartment, condominium or duplex near the beach to enjoy its delights, and your house has a bunch of furniture made of metal (for example, umbrellas, beach chairs, games terrace, appliances, etc.) pay attention because at Home Town Rent we’ll tell you how to protect them and deal with corrosion.

Corrosion can be caused by a reaction produced by the natural environment. This reaction is called oxidation and is what causes the metal to weaken and acquire that texture and color, until it’s destroyed.

The oxidation of metals in a house can certainly be considered a disease, since there is no way to reverse it, although you can stop it. Corrosion is metal cancer. As cancer metastasis begins to expand, it’s unstoppable “contaminating” the rest of the metal surface.

If you are renting or living close to the beach or in coastal areas you should be especially alert and protect your furniture from corrosion. You can take the following measures:

Choosing the right metal: for example stainless steel or aluminum. They are metals that hardly corrode.

To remove corrosion in early stages from your furniture you can use a rust remover, it is available at any hardware store. With steel wool, apply deoxidizer in the areas of rusted metal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use hand and eye protection.

Another trick to remove oxidation is to apply white vinegar with a cloth, leave half an hour and then rinse. Employ it especially in appliances.

Baking soda is another excellent metal antioxidant, make a paste with water and apply it on the rusted areas.

Once you have removed corrosion apply a protective layer, which may be a brightener, or a layer of anti-corrosive paint.

With these tips you will prevent oxidation and destruction of metal furniture in your home and you won’t ever have to worry on your days at the beach.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Ring it in: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Stairway to (Rental) Heaven

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers! This week we’re taking you through the ups and downs of rental properties everywhere, literally. That’s right. This week we’re talking steps and stairs and maybe even listening to the Five Stairsteps while we do it.

Stairs are weird. Are they a room? Are they a hall? Are they some combination of the two, or something else entirely? Philosophical speculations abound, but the answer probably lies in the specific staircase, in the specific house, apartment, loft, condo or duplex. Some are outside, some inside, some communal and some personal, and they all have their ups and downs.

As a landlord or property owner, one of the main stair-related things you should keep in mind when preparing a property for rent is the flooring on the stairs. They’re a high-traffic area, and one that’s often forgotten when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Especially if the stairs in your house or duplex are close to a door, you might want to consider wood as opposed to carpeting, since people will more often than not leave their shoes on. If you’re property or properties are in an apartment complex or other space with a communal stairway, make sure those stairs are kept clean and in good repair. Stairs can be dangerous, especially for older people and rowdy children, and the last thing you want is a preventable accident happening in your building.

As a renter, you should know that there are two types of people in this world: vertical and horizontal, city and country, high-rise and ranch-style. You may know which one you are already. If not, you might need to find out. Here’s a quick test: hamburger or hotdog? Hamburgers are vertical, hotdogs are horizontal. Your living space should ideally reflect your preference in the matter, and the distinction here is stairs, or lack thereof.

If you’re more of a sedentary person, if you’re getting older or have a disability that limits your mobility, you’ll obviously want to look for rental properties that are accommodating of that fact, preferably single-stories. Remember too that elevators will sometimes be shut down in case of a fire or another emergency, and if you aren’t capable of making it down the stairs quickly, renting an apartment on an upper floor may even become a safety hazard. But who knows, maybe the view is worth it…

 Is there a bustle in your hedgerow? Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Don’t be alarmed now:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Rant’s Guide to Audiophilia

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. Bob Marley once said that one good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain, but sometimes when you’re a fan of metal and your neighbor is an old lady who likes swing and big band, Bob might be wrong. This week we’re talking music and renting, how to be a responsible audiophile.

As a landlord, property owner or manager, be familiar with the sonic qualities of the property in question. The main factors here are thickness of walls, and proximity of neighbors. If you’re renting out a little cabin in the middle of the woods, you probably don’t have to worry about your tenants disturbing anybody. If you’re renting out an apartment in the city, you might want to notify the applicant who lists his occupation as EDM DJ that it might be a problem if he’s practicing his dubstep drops late into the night.

As a tenant, you want to weigh your options when deciding on a property. If you’re a vinyl collector who likes to stay up late, you might not be able to fit you and all your records in a tiny studio apartment next to people who have to work early in the morning. If you’re a college kid that likes to throw parties on the weekends, you probably shouldn’t rent a house for you and your friends in a neighborhood with a lot of families, or if you do, know that you might be getting visits from the boys in blue, and noise complaint tickets add up quick. Obviously, you won’t always be able to make your choice based on its convenience for listening to the music you like, but it should absolutely be a factor in your decision.

If you’re already in a house, apartment, condo or duplex, there are certain measures you can take to ensure that you’re able to play your music at the volume you so desire, without making your neighbors hate you. The easiest way is probably just to go talk to them. You should be on good enough terms with the people next door that they won’t hesitate to call you and ask you nicely to turn it down if they find it too loud. That being said, if your neighbor asks you to turn it down, do it. They could have just as easily called the cops, and they didn’t out of respect for you. Return that respect, or you probably won’t be shown it in the future.

If you know you’re the kind of person who is going to make a lot of noise, don’t worry! There are steps you can take to minimize your natural tendencies. Wikihow has a good guide that includes a range of steps you can take, some of them more permanent than others. Once you’ve got that set up, check out Crutchfield’s guide to creating a proper listening environment in whatever space you have. Happy Listening!

 

Keys to the Kingdom

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Rant, we’re talking about what gets you in the door, that unique little piece of metal that grants the bearer access to what lies within the walls of the house, apartment, condo or duplex in question, that overtly symbolic image representing ownership, access and freedom: we’re talking, of course, about the key.

After signing a lease, the handing over of the key is usually the final piece of the rental transaction, signifying the assumption of rentership on the part of the tenant, and the temporary relinquishing of the property by the landlord, property owner or manager. Not only is a symbol though, the key is literally the thing that allows you to come and go from the property at will. As such, it deserves care and responsibility.

As a landlord or property owner renting out a property, it’s important to know how many tenants are going to be living there, so you know how many keys to give them when they sign the lease, and how many keys to expect back upon its completion. As you can probably guess, the quantity should stay the same during that time. You don’t really want tenants making a bunch of copies and giving them out to people, nor do you want some of your keys still floating around after the rental period is up.

Depending on how laid back you are and how much you trust your tenants, you might consider getting keys that can’t be copied, so only you as the master keyholder have that power. You’ll have to be more responsible, both in keeping track of the master key and in providing tenants with copies if they lose theirs, but it’ll increase the overall security of your rental property.

As a tenant, your main job regarding the key is to use it but don’t lose it. It’s a pretty easy job, one that you should have on lock. Ok, but seriously, lock your doors people. Even if you think you live in a safe neighborhood, you could be unpleasantly surprised when you come home to find that your house, apartment, condo or duplex has been cleaned out by someone who found the door open. In a situation like that, it’s always better safe than sorry. Not only could you lose your valuables, but their could be damage to the property in the break in that you could be responsible for.

Also, don’t put your address or house or apartment number on your key. If you do lose it, that’ll tell anybody who finds it where you live, and give them unrestricted access to your stuff.  A key is only useful if you know what it unlocks. If you do lose your key and you’re sure it’s not in the couch, contact your landlord or property owner to go about getting a replacement. They may say it’s ok for one of your roommates to make a copy, or they might want to make the copy themselves. If they’re really paranoid, they might even want to change the locks, which you might have to pay for, so don’t lose your key, and if you do, make sure it’s really lost before you do anything.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ve got the key: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Bookin’ It

Hey there all you renters and tenants, landlords and property owners. This week on The Rant we’re taking it back to a bygone age, a time before such silly things as blogs and tweets, a time when people used to read things printed on paper, which is this weird thin stuff made out of mashed up trees. Crazy, right? This week, we’re speaking in hushed voices of that oft-forgotten legend: Books. Books, and how they relate to your rental house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex.

You may be wondering, why books? I already have multiple devices that are able to display way more text, change what text they’re displaying, and take up way less space. Plus they have games. And you’d be right. But most of the text displayed on those devices is drivel leaking out of the cultural cesspool that is the internet. We’re looking at you, twitter. A book is a specifically crafted object meant to display a particular text in the best way possible. Even if you have a dedicated e-reader device loaded with the classics, there’s still something different about reading from the printed page, something nostalgic, something, dare we say, good?

Also, having a bunch of books makes you look educated and well-rounded and smart. And that’s what you really want, isn’t it? Books take up space, and once upon a time they were stored on things called bookshelves that were usually located in offices, dens, living rooms and bedrooms. Most if not all rental properties are going to have at least a few of these types of rooms, and depending on the place, it might even have some built-in bookshelves, ready to be filled.

As a landlord or property owner, you should know whether or not your rental properties have places to store books, and if you don’t already, you should advertise them in your postings. Not only will this make your property look classier, it’ll attract classier tenants, the kind of people who are looking for a space to store their leather-bound first editions. These are the kind of people that still care about physical objects, about preserving things for the future, and that should bode well for how they care for your rental house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex.

Likewise, if you’re a tenant who owns a lot of books, you already know that they take up a lot of space, so when searching for a house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex, you’ll probably be in the market for one that has enough space to hold your collection, ideally in a location that displays your books for all your house-guests, so they know how intelligent and well read you are. Keep these things in mind when searching for a property. Picture where you’d put your comfy reading chair, how the afternoon sun might shine through the window, splaying a golden light across the rainbow of spines and the embossed titles on dust jackets, as dust motes drift lazily through the air. Pretty nice, huh. We think so.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ll read it: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Floorin’ It

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. We all love lil Jon, but here at the Hometown rant, we feel as though he’s got things a little backwards when he says to the window, to the wall, to the sweat drops down on the floor! We also hope he mops up the sweat drops before they stain the finish. This week we’re covering floors and coverings for floors of all types, in all types of houses, condos, lofts and duplexes.

If you’re a property owner, property manager, or landlord, one of the things you should absolutely pay attention to is the condition of the floors in your rental properties. It’s one of the first things savvy renters will look at when deciding whether or not to rent your house, apartment, duplex or condo. Not only that, but replacing the flooring or even the carpeting is an expensive endeavor.

Different types of floors obviously have different properties and different means and ease of maintenance, so choose wisely, both as a property owner putting in a floor, and as a tenant looking to rent a property. Tile is easy to clean and looks nice but can be expensive to put in or repair. Hardwood is always nice, but it can get scratched by furniture or pets and needs to be re-finished every now and then to prevent stains and such. Carpet is nice on the bare feet, but it soaks up all the dirt that comes into the house, and can get so bad that it has to be ripped up and replaced. Figure out which types of floor are right for you.

Tenants, you’re the ones who are going to be living, walking, sitting, jumping, squatting and/or breakdancing on the floor, so it’s mostly your job to keep them clean and in good condition. This means being careful about shoes on carpet, about dragging furniture across wood, and about cleaning up spills promptly and thoroughly. Invest in a decent vacuum and a mop, especially if you have pets who you’re going to be cleaning up after. The cost for both is probably only a fraction of the security deposit you put down on the place, so think of it like insurance.

Also, while you’re at it, pick up some of this stuff. When I was in college, my roommate came back from a shopping trip with a bottle and I asked him what he was thinking since we didn’t have any pets. His logic was infallible: if it’ll take out piss, he said, it’ll take out anything. He was right. Later that night we used it to get half a glass of red wine out of the carpet.

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We can get down:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Gamin on Ya!

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Hometown Rant, we ain’t playin’. Or actually, we are. We’re talking games and gamerooms, their place and function, and how they relate to your house, apartment, condo, duplex or other domicile.

Some of you may be thinking gamerooms? That all sounds a little fancy, a little rich for my blood, but we’re not necessarily talking about full-sized snooker parlors with fully stocked bars. The truth of the matter is that games are egalitarian. The point is to bring people together around a fun activity, playing an invaluable role in any functional household. So don’t worry, the Hometown Rant has the guide for you to be playing in no time, no matter if you’re rent a studio apartment or a party mansion.

As a landlord or property owner looking to rent out a property, think about spaces in said property that you’re not quite sure what to do with, or what to call. In your ad, you might term that space as a potential gameroom. It makes your property seem more classy, and appeals to a broader market of people, people who want something less boring than a regular old study or den. If your rental property has something like a pool table already in it, definitely advertise that, because there’s pretty much no moving one of those things once it’s in place.

As a tenant in a rental property looking to spice the place up, think about the games you like to play and the space that you have to work with. A good multi-purpose game room is really as simple as a good table with a few chairs around it and a deck of cards.

If you’re the poker type, you could look into getting an actual card table or a roll out cover host your weekly game, just make sure your buddies don’t stink up the place with their cigars. If poker isn’t your game, we’ve got some recommendations. If you and your friends all think you’re pretty funny you could go for apples to apples or it’s crass older brother, cards against humanity. If you like making words, scrabble is always great, and if you want scrabble but more freeform, go with bannanagrams. If you really want to get your nerd on, a game like Settlers of Catan is a classic, and has a host of expansions for when you get a bigger table.

If you want a game table that’ll really be the centerpiece of a room, you can always browse craigslist for people selling things like foosball or ping-pong tables, which can often be found for cheap or even free, if you’re willing to get it out of somebody’s life on the double. Just make sure when it comes time to move you’re not the one desperately trying to pawn the foos off on somebody else.

Whatever your game is, play it hard and play it well. We will.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get your head in the game: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

 

 

Snow Fa-sho

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. December is almost over and we’re quickly advancing into the thick of winter. This mean, among other things, snow might be on the horizon. According to the forecast right now, most of the country is yet uncovered, but for a good deal of you, that won’t be the case all winter. Luckily, Hometown Rant has the guide for you when it comes to houses, apartments, condos, duplexes, and snow.

Like we just said, there are marked regional differences in terms of both the probability of snowfall and the preparedness of the citizens in the region to handle the snow. Geographically, people North of the 40th parallel or so tend to be more acquainted with the stuff than their friends on the South side of the line, though there are certainly exceptions. One general rule that does hold true, however, is that the more snow a place gets, the more equipped they are to deal with it. This equipped-ness can manifest itself in many ways.

One of the main ways snow affects cities is in the flow of traffic and ease of getting around town. Renters looking to live and drive in places where it snows often should make sure that their vehicles are equipped to handle the weather, especially if looking at rental properties in hilly neighborhoods. If it does snow and you don’t think your car can take it, that’s fine, just don’t try to drive anyways. You don’t want to be like these people. Stay inside and get your camera. You could make youtube history.

Another way preparedness for snow manifests itself is in the construction of the buildings themselves. Places with lots of precipitation tend to have homes and buildings with pitched roofs, so accumulation doesn’t damage the structure. This guy argues that you can indeed have a flat roof in a snowy place, but there are a lot of things to take into consideration when doing so. Property owners looking to build or remodel should make sure they’re confident in their architects and contractors to design and implement a solution that’ll withstand the weather. Otherwise you or your tenants could have a metrodome-type situation on your hands, though it’ll probably be less spectacular and more immediately frigid.

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast you’re probably doing strange dances and praying to your pagan snow-gods for it, and if not then you’re probably doing the opposite, but Winter means snow and snow means at least a hundred different things in inuit. Or something.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Decoration Nation

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. As we find ourselves in the thick of the holiday season, we’re all thinking the same thing: how do we make our houses, apartments, condos and duplexes appropriately festive. Well have no fear, the Hometown Rant is here to help you with all your wildest decorative desires.

As a tenant looking to decorate your rental property in a seasonally appropriate fashion, you’ll first have to know which of the many holidays you’re celebrating. You probably already know what you personally celebrate, but if you plan on having guests over, especially recent significant others of your extended family, you may want to ask them so you don’t seem insensitive. Say you’re celebrating Christmas, but your cousin’s new girlfriend comes over expecting a kosher Hanukka meal, complete with latkes and a nice menorah. Could be awkward if you’re unprepared. Be a good host and observe the traditions of your guests.

Just as each holiday has its own decorations, it also has its own hazards that go along with said decorations. Christmas, especially American Christmas, has a lot of focus on exterior lumiation, i.e. lots of lights on and around your house. In some neighborhoods it even becomes a competition to see who can create the most elaborate and brilliant display. By all means, participate in a little friendly neighbor vs neighbor light show, but don’t get carried away. You don’t want to spend your holiday in the hospital because you fell off the roof trying to do the red lights for Rudolph’s nose. Also, don’t use that old set of lights with the exposed wiring, or create a massive outlet with a series of power strips. At best, you’ll be blowing a fuse every few minutes, and at worst you’ll be watching your rental property burn down because of an electrical fire. National Lampoon has a classic guide involving what not to do.

Hanukkah, being a celebration of a miraculous surplus of lamp oil, is also big on lights, but these lights are traditionally not electric, but either oil lamps or candles. Kwanzaa also involves a seven-candle lamp called a kinara. While perhaps less dangerous to set up, the menorah or kinara can still cause issues if it isn’t properly made, of if it isn’t put in a good place. A good metal menorah or kinara should be safe to let the candles burn down in, but it’s never a good idea to leave open flames burning unsupervised in your house, apartment, duplex or condo, especially near flammable things like papers or cloth. Always blow out your candles before leaving home or going to bed, otherwise you could come home or wake up to a burning rental property.

As a landlord or property owner during the holidays, now might be a good time to remind your tenants of a few things, one being any neighborhood regulations having to do with lighting or decoration–some areas are more strict than others. Another thing to mention might be your regulations for guests staying in rental properties, and disposal of decorations, particularly christmas trees. Sometimes the municipal garbage will dispose of them, but it might cost extra–let your tenants know who is responsible for this charge or you might have to pick it up, or deal with decomposing douglas firs outside of your properties for rent. That’s not how you want to spend your new years. Make sure it won’t be.

As for us, we’ll be busy performing feats of strength for festivus. Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Air your grievances:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Bath Math, Shower Power

Hey there all you tenants, landlords and ladies, property managers and owners. We’ve tackled bathrooms once before, but this week we’re taking it specific, getting down and, uh, clean in the showers and baths of all the homes, apartments, condos, duplexes and townhouses out there. Do you want to be cleansed? Hometown Rant has the guide for you.

Everybody knows that there are two types of people in this world–the bathers and the shower-ers, and though it’s really more of a gradient scale than a binary one, everybody has their type. Each has its benefits–the shower is quick, efficient and steamy whereas the bath is long, luxurious and bubbly. As you’re reading this, you’ll probably know which one you are. If you don’t, think about it for a minute. It’ll probably answer a lot of questions for you.

Landlords and property owners should already know this, but both the number and the quality of bathtubs and showers will be a big selling point on any rental property, which if made or maintained improperly can cause major damage. Tenants will appreciate and even pay extra for a good shower or bath that doesn’t leak when they use it.  Water pressure is also important, and a lack of it could be cause by a variety of things. Here’s a good wikihow for tenants or owners on troubleshooting water pressure issues.

For all the tenants reading, you’re the ones who really need to look inside yourself and figure out if you’re a bath or a shower person, since you’re the ones who’ll need to make the decision about where you want to eat, sleep and perhaps most importantly, bathe. It’s what separates us from the animals, people.

Besides your personal preferences, you’ll also have to take into account the number of people you’ll be sharing the space with, and what their likes and habits are. If you all work early and like to take long morning showers, you might want to be looking for a place with a couple bathrooms and a big enough hot water heater to accommodate you all. If you have a dog, particularly a larger one, you want to make sure that you could see yourself washing him or her in the tub or shower, and if you’ve never washed your dog, you probably should get on that.

After you get the practical details hashed out, it pretty much comes down to aesthetic preference. Do you like a tub with lots of room and some natural window light for afternoon baths, or do you like a little sauna-box of a shower with a nice wide showerhead. Head over to our listings and start finding the baths and showers you deserve! Afterwards, you’ll feel like Outkast, we promise.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ll be in the shower:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com