You’re not entitled to invade a current tenant’s privacy during an apartment tour. As much as you want to look in every nook and cranny, resist the urge. At the same time, you should be able to see enough of the prospective apartment to make a decision as to whether to rent it or not. These guidelines should help you stay within the reasonable guidelines of etiquette, while allowing you to get adequate information during the apartment tour.
Don’t Open Drawers
Going through a current tenant’s drawers is an invasion of privacy. That includes kitchen drawers. There’s not much for you to see anyway. You should be able a gauge the amount of space by looking at the drawers from the outside. If you’re concerned about damage inside the drawers, just ask the landlord. You can also document it during a walk through inspection.
Don’t Open Closets without Permission
There is a reasonable expectation that anyone coming through on an apartment tour is going to want to see the closet. The space inside is much tougher to imagine than the drawers. Even though the expectation exists, it’s still polite to ask first. While you’re examining the closets, make it short and sweet. Don’t go through the clothes, lift up boxes or rummage through other things being stored in the closets. Just take a quick look to determine the space and any closet accessories, such as a peg board. It’s not a time to start thinking through where you’ll put your own things in the closet.
Don’t Ask the Tenant Questions
Direct all of your questions to the landlord and don’t ask the tenant, “What don’t you like about this apartment?” That puts the tenant in a bad position, especially if they don’t have anything good to say at all about the apartment. It’s better to ask the tenant if you’re able to catch them alone, but you’ll have to use tact in how you approach the tenant. For example, a tenant may feel awkward in speaking to a complete stranger who comes back alone to talk to them. There may be a window of opportunity during the apartment tour when the landlord has to handle a phone call and goes outside for a brief moment. Ask them then, but make it short.
Don’t Sit on Furniture Even if the Landlord Does
Some of the apartments on your tours may be furnished apartments. It’s good to keep a checklist of what furniture will be included if you decide to the rent the apartment, but it’s not appropriate to sit on the furniture. How comfortable a couch is will not add to your decision making, and it’s just rude. Resist the temptation if the landlord invites you to sit and review paperwork or answer questions. Imagine if a stranger sat on your couch. You wouldn’t appreciate it and the current tenant won’t either.
The tenant will take note of your etiquette during the apartment tour. He may be more willing to give you the inside scoop on the apartment because of it.