Common Apartment Misconceptions Get Smashed

A lot of people have a misconception that you just simply cannot do anything in an apartment that you can do in a house. Yes. There are certain, obvious things that you can’t do, like a full on bathroom remodel, but for the most part you can do quite a bit.  It’s just a matter of finding a way that makes it work in an apartment.

Seven years of working with people who are looking for housing, can make you feel like you have a PhD in what most people think they cannot do in their new apartment, especially if they are moving from a house. So I’m here to turn those common misconceptions upside down and smash them to bits and pieces.  I’m also going to smash the ones you may not have necessarily thought of pre-move but might worry about after you move in. You know, for good measure and all.

1) Paint the Walls

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Yes! More often than not, apartment communities WILL allow you to paint or offer some sort of Accent Wall program themselves. The one caveat is that you will need to paint it back to its original color or at least prime it before you move out. But in the grand scheme of things…getting to paint your apartment and make it as much of a home while you are there is a pretty awesome trade-off for having to paint it back. Plus, you could always have a paint party with some friends. It’s a great excuse for a cocktail. What goes better with a paintbrush than a glass of wine or a beer?

2) Become a Pet Owner

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Can we all pause for just one moment and swoon over that face? Okay. Focus, Jen, focus. Moving into an apartment does not necessarily mean you have to give up all life long dreams of owning a pet. According to a landlord survey conducted by PetFinder, about half of all apartment communities are pet friendly with only about 9% of them having limits on weight or breed restrictions. That means there are literally thousands of communities that allow pets. It is up to you to make sure you contact the leasing office first to understand their pet policy. Another thing that goes through someone’s head might be, “Well that is all fine and dandy, but what about potty training a puppy in an apartment? I’ll be charged if they mess up the carpet.” Yes, but you would also have to pay for it in a home you own as well at some point.  Here is a great link to a website about potty training a puppy in an apartment. Now, go look at that face one last time.

3) Have an Herb Garden

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 One of the great things about having a home is that nine times out of ten you have some sort of a yard. For all the green thumbs out there that love to get all up in the dirt and garden either a little or a lot, all is not lost. If you have a balcony or patio, there is no reason you should not be able to have an herb garden (just be mindful with the watering if you are above anyone) and if you don’t have a suitable outdoor area, you can have an indoor herb garden. It’s that simple and it’s truly easy.

4) Wall Mount Your TV

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Oh yes. You read that right. Not only do some newer, more modern communities already have pre-installed wall mounts for tenants, but you can definitely mount your own in probably 99% of communities. You just have to know what you are doing or hire someone who does. You can find out how to wall mount your TV here or here (if you are super desperate and can’t the normal way. Do note, however,  that if you damage the walls because you thought you were Ty Pennington and you were really Paris Hilton with a nail file, you will ultimately be responsible for those repair charges.

5) Hang Pictures & Curtain Rods

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The number of people who believe they won’t be able to hang family photos, pictures or curtain rods in their new apartments astound me. While you do have to patch up excessive amount of holes most likely, the majority of  landlords do not mind you hanging these things. We want you to feel like you have made it your own while you are living there. What better way to do this than by hanging some pictures up from that time in 1995 or putting your design flare on the space by adding some funky fabric curtains? Go for it. If you need help finding a stud for curtain rods, call the office and see if maintenance can help.

 6) Grill Out

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Photo Credit : (Camden Lake Pine)

Ok. You can’t grill on your patio or balcony because of fire codes BUT you can still grill out. 99.9% of apartments have a grill of some sort either at the pool or in a common area. That means if it is open, you can grill. Some places may require a sign up for it, so just check with the office first to be sure. A lot of communities also allow you to bring your own charcoal grill as long as you use it no less than 20 or more feet away from any structure. So worry not. Your grilling days are not over.

7) Recycle

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Recycling is huge right now. People want to leave less of a carbon footprint and going green is in. What that means for you is that most apartment communities either offer a Valet Waste service with recyclable pickup and/or have recycling areas for you to use. So recycle on.

8) Have Family & Friends Over

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Want to have guests over? No problem! There may be a limit as to how many, so ask the front office to be sure. Some things to make sure of: that you are following guidelines for guest parking so cars aren’t towed and that you realize a guest is usually someone that is there less than 7 consecutive days and for no longer than 14 days in a 30 day period. If they are not considered a guest, you will most likely need to add them to the lease.

Moral of the story? Apartments rule and “can’t” never did anything.

(*as with anything , please check with your apartment leasing office for any concerns or questions. i can’t reiterate that enough. better safe than sorry.)

6 thoughts

  1. Can you change the locks?

    I worry about people who work for the apartment, and/or prior residents, either of whose backgrounds haven’t been checked, prior residents, and/or anyone who may commit a crime.

    Even if an apt. complex is careful, there could be someone who is dangerous that could get or have a key that could enter the apt., like without my knowledge or prior consent and/or while I’m sleeping.

    Also, it’s my understanding that residents are supposed to get notice of a need to enter by an employee or contractor, and can choose to schedule a different time if needed. Is this true?

    What are the laws on all these things? What are Camden’s policies on them?


  2. Thank you for your question, Patty.

    Some apartment communities do allow you to change your locks as long as you provide them with a key. Usually that is at the discretion of management if it is not outlined in the lease already. The reason you would still need to proivde them with a key is that management always needs to be able to access your apartment for emergency situations.

    With Camden, you have an option of requesting appointments only or calling before entry for any work orders you place with us. We also try to make sure that at least 24 hours notice is given if we will be accessing your apartment for any reason such as Preventative Maintenance, although it is not always 100% possible to do so. If you wish to be home during work orders or if an outside vendor is needing access to your apartment for any reason, you can certainly request that. It is your right as a tenant.

    The only time we may need to access a tenants apartment without permission is for emergencies, such as a leak from the apartment above. We of course try and notify you beforehand but if we cannot reach you, we will still enter. Most leases include some sort of stipulation that Management has the right to access your apartment at any time.

    For key security, our apartment community and I would assume all others besides Camden, use key boxes with code entry only or other key storage devices that only employees have access to. Another measure taken is that locks are changed as soon as a previous tenant moves out.

    I hope this answers all of your questions. If I missed something or you wish for further explanation, just let me know.

  3. Thank you so much for that important information. To clarify, are you saying that employees have to use a code for key access and use? So, would it be known that they took it or do they have to give a reason and let it be known or do they have free access when no one is present to just get a key?

    I felt concerned about this issue, because my daughter and I will be getting our own apartments soon and I am considering Camden for me and a different apartment for her. Her dad lives at an apartment where employees access freely, often don’t give notice, and his crucial id and documents were stolen.

    Thank you in advance for your response. I appreciate your feedback.

  4. You are so welcome. I know with the system we use, it tracks every single time a key is scanned out and in and tracks who did it based on our personal codes. They can get it at any time but you punch in a code number for the reason. With that being said, since it logs each time someone goes in and out of it, you can’t keep it a secret that you went into the key box. It even tell us when a certain apartment key is even looked up and not scanned out.

    If there is anything else you have questions about, please don’t hesitate to ask at all. Hope this helped 🙂

  5. That’s great and comforting information to know. Thanks for your patience, detail, good nature, and I’m grateful for those measures.

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