My DH and I have only lived in an apartment once, and it was a disaster. (He rented it w/out my prior approval as we weren't yet engaged and then I paid for his mistake a year later...) The landlord from hell who didn't fix anything at all ever--we got SICK as a result, okay? Neighbors from hell--domestic disturbances, drug busts, etc. Not enough laundry facilities for the size of the complex... I could rant for a while. Anyway... We are in a GREAT duplex, perfect place, month-to-month, love our neighbors, they love us, the landlord loves us (we put a garden in the weed-choked neglected yard & created flower beds)... We have to move; we got laid off and need to find a cheaper place. I guess it must be an apartment... I NEED ADVICE.
DH and I both grew up in houses and lived w/ relatives while in college. This duplex is only the second place either of us has ever rented. I already have some good ideas about what to look for--I will be counting washing machines and scoping the 'hood. But what else? What to look for? I know what neighborhood I want, and we can't afford it. What to do to avoid the landlord from hell? Should I hang around the complex and kinda "grab people" and ask them about the landlord and life in the complex? Is it cool to knock on doors and ask these questions? (I'm in Austin, TX, BTW.) What sorts of things indicate the quality-of-life in the complex? Are prospective tenants ever allowed to pick their exact unit?