The Correct Way to Write an Apartment Address (You’ve Been Doing it All Wrong)

Did you know there’s a proper way to write your apartment address? According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), there’s a correct way to do it, and you’ve likely been doing it wrong this whole time.

Between 2012 and 2013, address corrections cost USPS about $14 million.

Plus, if you fill it out incorrectly, the recipient may have difficulty submitting a claim if lost, so it’s definitely worth your time to learn how to write it down the right way.

Although your mail has probably gotten to you with no problem, there’s a proper way for your address to be written out that will ensure that your mail gets to your mailbox.

Hint: it’s that second line. It turns out the second address line you find on many online and paper address forms isn’t necessary to fill out. Keep reading to find out how to write an apartment address.

How to write an apartment address

When you’re ordering online or sending a postcard to a friend, there’s usually a second line included where many people typically write their apartment or unit number.

However, the USPS says line two doesn’t exist, and you should include all of the information in one line.

You should ignore it when writing an address with an apartment number.

The USPS postal addressing standards say a complete address consists of only three lines as follows:

Recipient Line
Delivery Address Line (Street address)
Last Line (City, State ZIP code)

How to write address with apartment number

If you need to include a unit number for your apartment, you only need to add a comma on the delivery address line with that information. Don’t use the second line for it. For example:

Jane Doe
123 Berry Lane, BLDG A, Unit B (all in the first line)
New York, NY 12345

But what is the second line for?

The second line does have a purpose that most of us won’t need to use.

Things you can include on the second line are secondary addresses, attention designations, C/O (in care of) addresses, company addresses or special instructions for delivery. For example, this lets that person know who the package is for:

Jane Doe
C/O Tiny Tim
123 Berry Lane, APT # 4
New York, NY 12345

If you need to let your delivery driver know how to find your apartment, the second line is the place to do so. You can use abbreviations for building, for example, when writing the address for your apartment.

You should try to adhere to the USPS standards for both deliveries and return addresses so your mail will have a better chance of always getting to you, especially if it bounces back.

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Using abbreviations in your apartment address

If your address or street name ends up being too long, you can use abbreviations approved by USPS and use them as second address designations. For example:

Jane Doe
123 Berry Lane
UNIT B
New York, NY 12345

Common abbreviations that you can use in your apartment address include:

  • Apartment – APT
  • Building – BLDG
  • Floor – FL
  • Suite – STE
  • Room – RM
  • Department – DEPT
  • Unit – Unit (no abbreviation)

Using the pound sign in your apartment address

The second tip is how to use a pound sign when writing your apartment address. USPS requires you to add a space between the pound sign (#) and the apartment number. It’s all in the details. For example:

Jane Doe
123 Berry Lane NW, APT # 4
New York, NY 12345

Make sure you always include the directional information for your street, especially NE, NW, SE, and SW. Skipping the directional information means your package could end up on the wrong side of town as many cities have two different streets with the same name.

Address format for more than one recipient

There are three ways to correctly display the Return and/or recipient name field names if there’s a partner or spouse. You can use ‘The Smith Family,’ Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith. Write it in one single line, for example:

Ms. Recipient 1 and Mr. Recipient 2
Street Address, APT # 4
City, State ZIP Code

If you recently moved and need to change your address

Moving requires you to change your address in many places — from your bank to your streaming services. USPS will forward your mail from your old address (you can sign up on their site), but since you’re a new resident, it’s important to use your legal name when signing up for new services.

Remember, the postal carrier is going by the name in the mailbox in your apartment building. Using a nickname instead of your legal name may cause some of your mail to not make it to you, after a change of address.

Plus, if you ever hold your mail for any reason, you’ll need to show a valid ID at the post office to pick it up. Avoid any headaches by using your legal name.

Apartment address format matters

When writing your address, make sure to pay attention to the details. Use a ballpoint pen and write clearly to avoid any smudges.

Make sure you double-check your unit number, use your legal name and make sure to follow the rules listed above.

These days, our postal carriers need all the help we can give them. Start practicing how to write your apartment correctly after moving and eliminate the second address line to reduce confusion and make deliveries easier.

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How to Write a Holiday Thank You Note

The holidays have come and gone.

Dinner parties were had, gifts were given and everyone was merry.

But even after the last present has been unwrapped and the last piece of silverware washed and put away, there’s still something else that must be done.

You need to plan how you’ll show your gratitude to those who share in the holiday season with you.

The lost art of saying thanks

Long before text messages and Instagram posts conveyed the innermost thoughts of people, cards sharing best wishes and kind appreciation were handwritten and mailed as thank you notes.

Receiving an actual letter in the mail amidst all the junk that still comes through can bring more joy to someone than whatever you’re actually thanking them for doing. The importance of taking a few minutes to jot down a special message for the people you appreciate, especially during the holidays, isn’t as common anymore, but it’s an easy gesture with a big impact.

Where to start

Before you begin thinking about the message you want to write, you need to have the right materials. Put aside blank sheets of printer paper and ripped off pages from notepads. They only convey a lazy sentiment and that you rushed to get this note written.

Instead, invest in a pack of nice cards to have on hand when needed. You don’t have to spend a lot of money at a stationary store in order to be prepared – just about every drug store sells them. If you’re in a situation where you’ll be thanking the same person more than once in a short time period, consider getting a set of notecards with different designs on the front, for some variety.

The pen you use is important, too. No pencil and no typing. Stick with ink colors that are easy to read and ones that stand out against the color of the notecard. Dark blue, purple or green might be good choices, but stay away from black, especially if your notecard is white. According to color studies, the black and white combination of colors is the hardest to remember.

Pick your handwriting style that’s easiest to read as well. If you can pull off an elegant cursive, go for it. Otherwise, stick to print. Don’t worry if your handwriting isn’t perfect, either. The fact that you’re taking the time to physically write out a note will make a positive impression no matter how neat the handwriting.

Write the right message

A typical thank you note doesn’t have to be long. A short, heartfelt message will do the trick. What’s important is that you speak in your own voice, share a message that’s complimentary and kind, and personalize each note with specific details related to the recipient.

Your purpose is to express gratitude, so make sure that clearly comes across. It’s OK to say thank you more than once in your note, as well. It’s also a nice touch to add a line about when you’ll see them again, or that you hope to see them soon.

Mailing the thank you note

Once the note is complete, it’s time to pop it in the mail. Again, hand write the recipient’s address on the envelope. Don’t print out labels, even if you’re writing quite a few notes. Show off that you’ve put time into this special message.

Consider purchasing holiday themed stamps for a little something extra, and keep return address labels on hand, even if you’re not sending out that much mail these days. Stationary stores also offer return address stamps or embossers if you’re interested in adding a classier element to your mail.

What are you thankful for

Two of the most common reasons to write a thank you note are for gifts you’ve received or to show gratitude toward someone who came to an event you hosted. Sometimes these sentiments are combined in a single note, like at a birthday party, but during the holidays, they’re often separate.

Here are two sample thank you notes which convey the tips already shared.

1. Thank you for coming to my holiday party

Dear Jill,

Thank you for coming to my holiday party this past weekend. It was such a fun night, and I was happy you were able to join in the festivities. It was so thoughtful of you to bring cookies to share with everyone. I appreciated the extra dessert and they were so delicious. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and look forward to seeing you again.

Jane

2. Thank you for the lovely holiday gift

Dear Clark and Lois,

Thank you so much for the wine of the month club subscription. I love trying new wine and it’s exciting to know I’ll be sampling bottles from around the world. I really appreciate you thinking of us during the holidays with such a kind gift. You’ll have to come over one month for a wine tasting! Have a wonderful holiday.

Diana

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Instacart vs. Shopping in Person: Which is Best for You?

You work eight hours a day, get stuck in traffic, hit the gym and somehow, you still need to scrunch up the energy to make a trip to the grocery store before getting home to cook. We’re tired just thinking about it.

Grocery delivery app Instacart aims to save you time by providing you with an on-demand personal shopper that picks up your groceries on the same day you place the order. Your first order is free and all subsequent orders include a small delivery fee when you spend $35 or more.

The catch, however, is the prices you pay for grocery items through Instacart may be slightly higher, often with a markup of up to 20 percent. Those higher prices can be worth it if you lead a busy life. But you also have to take into account the delivery fee (starting at $3.99), the driver tip (20 percent) and the service fee for the order. Each order requires a minimum of $10 on the cart.

To bring perspective into your decision, we’ve put together a list of items available at Publix, one of Instacart’s grocery store offerings, that shows the difference between picking it up at the store or ordering from Instacart.

1. Kashi cereal

Publix’s famous BOGO deal is available both in-store and through the app for Kashi Cereal. However, the buy one, get one free of equal or lesser price is cheaper in store. Most cereals in-store are priced at $4.49, but on the app, it’s 50 cents higher at $4.99.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

2. 4-grain eggs

The 12-count, 4-grain, large brown vegetarian eggs are on sale for $2.25 (regularly $3.35) on Instacart, but the Publix in-store flyer lists an offer of two cartons for $4.00.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

3. Califia Farms almond milk

For those that opt for Instacart, you’ll miss out on Publix’s 3 for $10 Coconut Almondmilk 48 oz. bottle deal. Each bottle on the app is $3.69, only $0.76 off.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

4. Cottonelle 12-roll package

Shoppers at Publix will save nearly 70 cents on top of the current sale of Cottonelle 12-roll package of double rolls if they stop by their local store instead of going the Instacart route.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

5. Romaine hearts

If you’ve got a Caesar salad in the works, romaine hearts are first on your shopping list. A 3-ct bag is 2 for $4, versus $3.29 each on Instacart.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

6. Annie’s mac ‘n cheese

Annie’s Homegrown shells and white cheddar mac ‘n cheese sells for $2.19 in-store, versus Instacart’s $3.09.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

7. Italian parsley

On the other hand, certain produce like Italian parsley are the same price in-store or via the app ($1.69) signaling true time savings since the cost is the same.

Verdict: Same price on both

8. Dove body wash

In the Instacart app, Dove moisturizing body wash (22 oz.) is $6.34 each with the help of an in-app coupon, same as in-store.

Verdict: Same price on both

9. Smithfield bacon

Smithfield’s natural hickory smoked bacon is up for grabs at Publix in-store for $5.58 (or through a BOGO offer). The BOGO offer is also available through the Instacart app, but it’s $6.19 each.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

10. Blueberries

Each pack of blueberries on Instacart is $3.69. That same pack of blueberries is going for 3 for $10 at your local Publix – an offer not available in the on-demand app.

Verdict: Cheaper in person

Adding it all up

There’s no right choice as the on-demand service is meant to be a complement to your busy life. If less stress and more time is worth spending a little extra money, then click away and wait for your order to arrive. If you’d rather save your money, then grab a shopping cart and hit the aisles.

These figures were accurate at the time this article was composed in February 2019. Prices on Instacart and Publix may have fluctuated since that time.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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How Important Should Parking Be in Your Apartment Search?

Parking can be key to your apartment search, especially if you’re expecting a commute. A good parking situation can be a huge bonus when you finally nab the right apartment. The last thing you want is to circle your block hunting for a spot every day. And even if you do get designated parking, it can sometimes be pricey.

At the same time, your lifestyle, location and budget might make parking less relevant. If you’re moving to a new place, how will you figure out if you even need to worry about it? To determine the importance of parking in your search, answer the following questions.

1. Do you own a car?

This is easy. If you own a car, parking should absolutely factor into your apartment search.

Want some less obvious advice? If you don’t have one yet, consider if you might ever own a car. Your set of circumstances is liable to change from year to year. If you stay in the same place long enough, you may just have to purchase your own vehicle.

At the very least, parking is something to consider, even if you currently depend on public transportation. You might end up taking a new job in the middle of your lease at an office located an hour outside the city, for instance. Take stock of your present plans and goals and be considerate of your future needs.

2. Will you pay extra?

Some apartments charge a rent premium for parking garages, an additional cost to consider when weighing your options. You’ll pay more for these residential properties than those without the same amenities, so if you don’t need a space, you should look elsewhere.

The U.S. is a car-friendly nation, and that puts parking costs at a bit of a premium. That means apartments without solid options are likely to charge less. If you’re willing to sacrifice convenience, you might add more flexibility to your monthly budget.

If parking is a premium amenity for you, you can still make sure you know what you’ll pay. Meet with the landlord and have a discussion over what they charge for a space, what kind of security is available and any other concerns you have before you sign a lease.

3. Are there other options?

You have choices in how you get from place to place, and while car ownership is attractive, there are alternatives you can turn to. Dockless bike-sharing programs have seen increasing popularity in many cities, with bicycle commuting up more than 60 percent since the turn of the century.

Many of these cyclists don’t want the additional responsibilities associated with vehicle maintenance, and city traffic is often challenging to navigate. Bike sharing, scooter sharing and ride sharing options provide freedom from these anxieties, and these are friendly on both the environment and the wallet.

These alternatives are usually located in bustling cities, so they might not be available in your area. If they do catch your interest, research different properties and browse around. If living without a car seems freeing, it may even change up where you decide to focus your apartment search.

Parking is always going to be a major concern for most renters, but your situation might be unique. Things are always changing, too, and the next time you’re looking for a place to live, there might be even more transportation options out there. Rethinking your priorities can help you find the apartment that meets all your needs.

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

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The Best Restaurant Neighborhoods in Philadelphia

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The Best Parks and Green Spaces in Philadelphia

From the moment William Penn, founder of the Colony of Pennsylvania, set aside Philadelphia’s Five Great Public Squares as part of his “Greene Countrie Towne” city plan, Philadelphia has been recognized for its amazing public green spaces and parks, large and small, urban and woodsy. Nearly every neighborhood contains an inviting, safe, inspiring public space. But what are some of the best?

Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park PhiladelphiaFairmount Park Philadelphia
Fairmount Park

Every discussion of Philadelphia parks must start with Fairmount Park, the largest space within the world’s largest urban park system.

Stretching from the Strawberry Mansion to the Spring Garden neighborhoods, the East Park half of Fairmount Park lies on the Schuylkill River’s east bank. This side features scenic running and biking trails that wind past historic sites such as The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boathouse Row, with its famous light display, large plateaus near Brewerytown, which include the Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course and Strawberry Green Driving Range and the vast Fairmount Park Athletic Field, where you can hop into a pickup hoops game or join an organized sports league. For a quieter outing, the recently renovated East Park Reservoir is one of the best bird-watching enclaves in the city.

Across the river, though still in Fairmount Park, the West Park runs from the Wynnefield neighborhood down to Mantua. Here you can take the kids to the first-in-the-nation Philadelphia Zoo, the Please Touch Museum or the John B. Kelly Pool right next door.

For a more adult excursion, take in a concert and an amazing view at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts or fling a Frisbee at the Edgely Ultimate Fields. In the winter, Philadelphians of all ages take to Belmont Plateau for the city’s best sledding hills.

Wooded parks

Wissahickon Valley ParkWissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park

For everything Fairmount Park has to offer, other city parks boast their own perks. The expansive Wissahickon Valley Park extends from Chestnut Hill through East Falls in North Philly. There you’ll find people on mountain bikes and on foot traveling the winding gravel paths of forested Forbidden Drive, youngsters learning while having fun at the Wissahickon Environmental Center Tree House and anglers casting into the trout-stocked Wissahickon Creek.

Running from Bustleton to the Delaware River in Northeast Philly’s Holmesburg section, Pennypack Park is a 1,300-acre wooded creekside hiking and biking oasis that provides nature programs at Pennypack Environmental Center, a full working farmstead with cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens at Friends of Fox Chase Farm, and King’s Highway Bridge, the oldest in-use stone bridge in America.

In extreme South Philly, you’ll find Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, adjacent to the professional sports complex, which contains a full 18-hole golf course, a nationally-celebrated skateboard park and the Meadow Lake Gazebo, long a popular spot for wedding photos.

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, a little farther south in Eastwick next to the Philadelphia International Airport, is a top hiking, canoeing and fishing spot within a stunning environmentally-protected tidal marsh.

Urban parks

Spruce Street Harbor ParkSpruce Street Harbor Park
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Photo courtesy of Anastasia Navickas

If you prefer parks that feel part of the city rather than those that feel like you left the city, Philadelphia won’t disappoint.

Atop the Circa Centre South Garage in University City is Cira Green, a new rooftop greenspace boasting seasonal coffee carts, summer movies and some of the best views of downtown.

Named by Jetsetter Magazine as one of the “World’s Best Urban Beaches,” Spruce Street Harbor Park at Penn’s Landing is an eclectic recreational sanctuary along the Delaware River with seasonal food and beer trucks, a riverside boardwalk and a cluster of more than 50 cozy hammocks, which hang under spectacular LED lights strung amongst the trees.

From biking to basketball to bird-watching, Philadelphia’s city parks and green spaces offer unlimited means of escape from the bustle of urban life.

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Picking the Best Air Conditioner for Your Apartment

Looking to cool down your apartment? With spring and summer approaching soon, it’s important to start thinking about how to prepare for those hotter months and stay cool. While many apartments come with built-in air conditioning (AC) units, many do not. So what are your options for cooling down your space? In this article, we’ll go into detail about how to decide what is the best air conditioner for your apartment.

How do air conditioners work to keep your apartment cool?

Air conditioners have been around for a very long time, in fact, the first air conditioning system was developed in 1902.The basics of how air conditioners work are similar to how a fridge works. Air conditioners use an internal refrigerating system to take in hot air and cool it. The hot air, absorbed by the AC unit through various coils and systems, turns into a gas. From there, the unit converts it back into a liquid.

Next, the hot air pushes out the back through vents or a window and the cool air pushes into your apartment. The website HowStuffWorks.com puts it very simply: “Think of it as an endless, elegant cycle: liquid refrigerant, phase conversion to a gas/heat absorption, compression and phase transition back to a liquid again.”

air conditioningair conditioning

Important things to understand when selecting your AC unit

There are a couple of other things to consider when picking which type of AC unit to use for your apartment. You’ll want to consider things such as cooling capacity, BTUs, energy efficiency and costs.

BTUs

BTU or British thermal units is the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool one pound of water. For air conditioners specifically, the BTU refers to the amount of heat your unit can remove in an hour. Some units take more than others. For instance, a window unit takes anywhere from 3,000 to 25,000 BTUs, whereas a portable system can use anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 BTUs. Make sure to take the time to research this before deciding on which unit is best for you. Learn Metrics has created a more in-depth chart for understanding different BTUs for different sized apartments.

Cooling capacity

When picking out your AC unit keep in mind its cooling capacity. The size of the area you want to cool will greatly impact your choice. Different units cool different area sizes. Take portable units for example — these are usually only able to cool the area they sit in. Window units on the other hand are a better option if you are looking to cool down an entire apartment.

Energy costs

The cost that it takes to run an AC unit is something else to consider. The price can greatly change depending on how big your unit is and how big of an area you’re trying to cool. On average it can cost anywhere from $14.40 per month to $211.20 to run different types of AC units.

Best air conditioner options for your apartment

Now you know how air conditioners work, how do you know which type is right for your apartment? Here are a couple of different options that you can choose from.

1. Portable air conditioner

Portable units are one option when looking for an AC unit. They come in various sizes and work in many different rooms. Often referred to as “portable swamp coolers” or “evaporated cooling” these two systems work similarly to other AC units but primarily rely on water. Another difference is their setup. For instance, some require their own voltage plug and most require you the ability to vent the hot air out of a window.

Another great question to ask when thinking about portable units is, “Can you use a portable air conditioner in an apartment?” The answer depends on your apartment complex and its rules. In certain apartments they are not allowed, so make sure to check with your apartment before you invest in one. Here are some pros and cons of portable AC units.

Pros:

  • Move room-to-room
  • Cost-efficient
  • Come in various sizes
  • Great if you have a strict HOA or landlord and can’t install a window unit

Cons:

  • Sometimes are less energy efficient
  • Can be noisy

AC unit in a window against a brick wall AC unit in a window against a brick wall

2. Window units

Window units are very popular throughout Europe and make another great option for your apartment AC unit. Set in a window, they function much like other AC units and are capable of cooling medium-sized spaces. Here are some of their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Come in various sizes to fit your windows
  • Can come with a heating system

Cons:

  • Not portable and stay in the window you place them in
  • Not energy efficient

3. Wall-mounted

Wall-mounted units are a great option for people who are living in older buildings that tend to get very hot during summer. Here are the pros and cons of these AC units.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Don’t take up a window or block the view
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Don’t cool the whole space
  • Must be cleaned and maintained regularly

Happy woman holding a remote under an air conditioning unit Happy woman holding a remote under an air conditioning unit

4. Personal AC unit

Personal AC units are great for cooling down a single person in a smaller space. They are typically very small — meant for bed stands or desks and are not meant to cool the entire space down. These typically only need a plug and water, however, they do not cool as well as bigger units. Here are their pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Great for personal use
  • Move from room-to-room
  • Easy to use and install

Cons:

  • Not energy efficient
  • Need cleaning after each use to avoid germ growth

Man with his face in front of a fan Man with his face in front of a fan

How to keep your apartment cool without an AC unit

If none of these options work for you, there are other ways to keep yourself cool this summer. Here is a list of other options to consider:

  • Installing fans
  • Purchasing dark blinds to block the sun
  • Putting cooling sheets on your bed
  • Switching out your light bulbs to ones that produce less heat
  • Opening your windows at night
  • Cooking outside

Stay cool as a cucumber

While the summer heat is great for outdoor activities and vacations, it’s not so great for your apartment. Keeping your place cool throughout these hot months is essential. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable in your own living space. The good news is there are many different options to consider when thinking about the best air conditioner for your apartment.

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Can You Rent an Apartment if You’re Not a U.S. Citizen?

Many Americans are interested in living abroad and experiencing cultures different from their own, so it’s not surprising that many people from elsewhere want to come to America, as well. In fact, according to American Community Survey (ACS) data, more than 43 million immigrants resided in the U.S. in 2016. And many of them rent.

Renting as a non-citizen is absolutely plausible, but just like an American-born renter, you’ll be similarly scrutinized before signing a lease. Read on for a quick rundown of what you’ll likely need to provide and what to expect overall.

Proof of income

That charming accent you bring to the table won’t get you out of paying rent, and your landlord wants to know that you’ll pay on time each month. As such, part of your rental application will ask for information about your job or employment history.

In the United States, the general rule of thumb dictates you should spend about 30 percent of your income on rent. Do the math beforehand to see if you (and your roommate or roommates) can collectively afford the place in which you’re interested, because your landlord’s going to do it for you, as well.

Rent, of course, won’t be your only housing-related expense, so do research (you can even ask the landlord or property manager) to get an estimate of utilities such as water, gas and electricity. Some power companies even have online calculators you can use, plugging in things like square footage to determine what it will cost to heat or cool the place.

Deposits

Most apartment communities will require a security deposit when you sign a lease. If you have a pet, a pet deposit may be required, as well. These fees serve as financial insurance for the landlord should you fail to pay your rent, break your lease or damage the property in any way.

What’s more, when renting as a non-citizen, you may be asked for a larger deposit in the event the property management company is unable to thoroughly check your credit.

Proof of immigration status

While there are federal laws in place that expressly prohibit landlords or property management companies from discriminating against or excluding prospective tenants on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability, familial status or (and for our purposes here, especially) national origin, it is 100 percent legal to ask rental applicants to provide documentation regarding their immigration status.

Why?

Simply put, business is business. Your status is directly connected to whether your landlord can expect you to remain in the United States for the full term of your lease. If your documentation only permits you to stay in the country for another eight months, you won’t be able to fulfill the terms of a 12-month lease. That could be valid grounds for denying your application.

Refusing to rent to a non-citizen solely on the basis of his or her citizenship, however (assuming their citizenship would not prevent them from fulfilling the terms of the lease) is prohibited by law.

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This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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Wants vs. Needs: Which Apartment Amenities are Essential

When you begin apartment hunting, a wish list starts to form in your head. Comprised of all the things you think you want and what you really need, this list can get long, but what do you actually have to have versus what you can do without?

Think about it like this, you want a big kitchen, but you need two bedrooms. You want in-apartment laundry hookups, but you need easy access to public transportation for work. Getting all the wants and needs on your wish list while staying within your budget sometimes presents a challenge.

In fact, 74 percent of renters typically make a sacrifice in amenities in order to rent what they can actually afford. Deciding what to knock off your wish list can be tough. Everything can feel like a “need” when most items are simply “wants.” Here’s a little help deciphering between the two.

Let’s start with the wants

Think of these wishlist items as things it would be great to have, but aren’t a must for you to function.

Aesthetics

These are items that help to create the look you want in your new place. Things like hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances all fit into this category. They’d be great to have, but you could always upgrade later.

Technology

As something we all use every day, having an updated apartment with features like USB charging outlets or app-controlled door locks or thermostats may have made it to your wish list. These are great wants and something you can ask a landlord to consider adding after you’ve signed a lease if they’re not there from the start.

However, access to technology – like internet and cable – is a need.

Outdoor space

Often a popular “want” on the wish list, finding an apartment with either a balcony, shared green space, garden area or rooftop access adds space and luxury to your home, but how often will you really use it?

Appliances

Of course, you’ll need a refrigerator, stove and oven. But other appliances might be more of a want.

If there’s not a washer/dryer in your unit, or hookups to add you own, is there a laundry room in the building? It’s a little less convenient, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Same can be said for central air. A window unit will work just fine.

Services

Looking at these as bonus items for your wish list can help you cross them off if your perfect place is lacking in amenities like a fitness center, pool, concierge or even a shuttle to public transportation.

Now onto the needs

Needs vary from person to person, but there are standard items most people require in their home.

Location

Sure, you may want to live in a specific area of town because you like the vibe and what’s close by. However, you need to live in a certain neighborhood in order to get to work easily or be in the right school district.

Parking

You’ve got to put that car somewhere. While you need a spot, try being flexible on whether it’s a covered spot, one in a garage or out in the open.

Pet-friendly

There’s no way you’re getting rid of Fido. So, if you have a pet, you’ll need to find pet-friendly apartments to bring your animals with you.

We all make compromises when on the hunt for our next home, but knowing what you really need in your new place versus what you’d like to have can make the search easier and less stressful.

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Sample Letter: Letter of Complaint

There are currently more than 113 million people renting apartments or homes in the U.S. – almost 34 percent of the population. That’s a lot of people living in spaces where they aren’t necessarily required to address every issue that arises themselves.

Problems will come up, and when they do, you expect your landlord or management company to take care of them. But how do you tell them what’s going on in a way that gets results?

Why your neighbor might be bothering you

There’s always the potential for issues to arise when living in an apartment building with other tenants. Each resident has their own style of living, their own habits, and they might not all mesh with yours.

While you can’t expect everyone to live life the same way you do, you can require those around you to act respectfully. As a result, you may encounter certain situations, like these, which you might not be able to reconcile on your own.

Noise

Loud neighbors can often complicate your peaceful evening at home or interrupt that movie you’re watching as their booming base seeps through your walls. Common noise complaints can come from music, the television, a barking dog and of course, that wild party that just won’t quit.

Oftentimes, tenants aren’t aware they’re being too noisy, so it’s a good idea to alert them to the issue before you write a formal complaint. If that doesn’t help, or the noise goes on late into the night, it’s time to take more serious action and let your landlord know what’s going on.

Inconsiderate behavior

Anything your neighbor does that affects your space or the common areas that demonstrates a lack of consideration for others fits into this category. Leaving trash outside in the hall, dropping empty cans onto your balcony from above, taking up half of your parking space with their oversized car – these are all behaviors that don’t demonstrate care for the comfort of others.

Again, they may not realize what they’re doing, so it’s a good idea to bring it to their attention. They also may just be inconsiderate people, which is why a landlord can step in to help.

Questionable odors

What people do in their own apartment is their own business until the smell of it invades your unit. When offensive odors begin to drift through the walls, it’s time to take action. Realistically, this could be a one-time offense, where a neighbor burned dinner and you get stuck with the smell.

But if it’s something reoccurring, like odors from trash, pets, or even illegal substances, a letter of complaint will help notify your landlord to take action.

Put it in writing

Alerting management to an issue with your neighbors through a formal, written letter automatically gives you proof you’ve tried to handle the problem. Should the issue escalate, you can show you took every action possible because you’ll have a paper trail to prove it.

In order to submit a complaint letter that will get results, make sure you’re clear about the issue and your expectations. Detail the problem, how it’s affecting you and what steps you think can resolve it. Make sure to put in a reasonable deadline for action, as well. And don’t forget to follow up at least once, but often is better.

To further guarantee your complaint gets the attention it deserves, make sure you’re in good standing with your landlord. If you’re not up-to-date on your rent, send in that rent check. Additionally, double-check your lease to ensure the issue you’re filing a complaint about is actually management’s responsibility.

Your sample letter

We’ve taken the time to put together a sample letter for a letter of complaint that you can download here. Fill in the information for sections in parentheses ( ).

Download Word doc of sample letter

Download PDF of sample letter


(Your Name)
(Current Address of Your Apartment, Unit #)
(City, State, Zip Code)

(Date)

(Landlord or Apartment Company’s Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)

Re: (Short statement of the issue, such as Noise Complaint; Trash in the Hallway; etc.)

Dear (Name of landlord or manager),

I’m writing to formally request your help in dealing with an issue that (has arisen/has been ongoing) with my neighbors in (neighbor’s apartment number). To date, the following actions have been taken:

  • (Create a bulleted list, in chronological order, that lists actions taken so far including whether you’ve already contacted your neighbors or landlord/apartment company and what you may have done to address the issue.)

These previous attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful, and this issue is directly affecting me by (state the impact this situation is having on you). To resolve this issue, I’d like you to get in touch with (neighbor’s name/the residents of unit XX) and facilitate a resolution.

I’m hoping we can resolve this issue on or before (set a specific date that’s reasonable, maybe a week out).

Should you need to reach me to discuss this further, please (call/email) at (insert phone or email based on preference for communication). I appreciate your attention to this issue.

Kindly,

(Your Name and Signature)
(Apartment Number)
(Phone Number or Email Address)


If your complaint isn’t addressed

What do you do if nothing happens after you’ve submitted your formal complaint letter and regularly followed-up? There are other options to consider if your landlord or apartment company isn’t responding.

  • Report the problem to the local tenant’s association, if there is one
  • Consult with an attorney

Make sure you let your landlord know you’re prepared to take these alternative steps, just be polite when you communicate.

Going through this easy process to report a neighbor complaint to your landlord or management company can help move you to a quick resolution of your issue.

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