Everyone knows that your health is affected by your diet and exercise habits. But it can also be influenced by your apartment. If you’re living in an apartment and you’re feeling unhappy, you might want to take a closer look at your apartment living situation if you can’t identify the cause of your unhappiness.

A poor rental space can hurt your physical and mental health. There are some apartment conditions that you should try and avoid, and also ones that you can improve.

Uninhabitable Conditions

Tenants do have certain rightsin the United States. Landlords must provide tenants with “habitable living conditions.” In other words, tenants are guaranteed a certain of standard of basic comfort in their apartments.

What entails habitable conditions? First, the apartment must be structurally sound. The walls and supports must be in good shape. Second, the apartment should provide privacy and safety. You should be able to close all doors and windows and be able to keep out anyone who’s not living in the unit. Third, the apartment should keep you mildly warm or mildly cool during extreme weather. Insulation doesn’t need to be great, but it needs to be sufficient. Fourth, you should have access to water and working plumbing.

Your apartment may have uninhabitable conditions if the walls are crumbling, if you can’t fully lock a door or window, or if your water sometimes doesn’t turn on or drain properly. These kinds of living conditions are mostly harmful to your mental health. Uncomfortable living can cause you to lose sleep and have higher stress levels. Some of these conditions can cause you physical harm. Faulty plumbing can cause sanitary issues in your bathroom and kitchen. Bad HVAC systems can make you more likely to suffer colds or heatstroke in extreme weather.

If you’re living in uninhabitable conditions, you’re legally allowed to withhold rent payments until such conditions are fixed by your landlord. So long as you didn’t break whatever it is that’s broken, your landlord is legally obligated to hire contractors to fix maintenance issues in your apartment.

Uncertain Rental Agreements

Sometimes, renters are burdened by their rental agreement more than the rent itself. There are two types of rental situations in the United States: a lease and a rental agreement. A lease is set for a longer amount of time (usually 6 months to 2 years) and maintains conditions agreed to by the landlord and the tenant. A rental agreement is a month-to-month lease that automatically renews unless opted out of by the tenant (read this helpful post on the differences between a lease vs. a rental agreementfor more information).

Some tenants feel trapped by a full lease, especially when they’re employment situation is unstable. If a tenant loses her job, changes jobs, or relocates to a new area, they’ll be tremendously hindered by their lease and may have to jump through hoops to get out of it.

On the contrary, some tenants are greatly stressed by rental agreements. Rental agreements allow the landlord to raise the rent at the beginning of any given month. Typically, the landlord must inform the tenant of a rent increase a several weeks before the rent increase takes effect. But sometimes this is not enough time for a tenant to seek out a new living situation if they’re unable to afford the rent increase (especially in that there’s currently a low supply of available housing units).

This is a difficult situation to remedy. The only solution is for the market to provide a larger quantity of available units. It’s best to budget for your apartmentbefore you go apartment hunting, so you’re able to seek out a lease agreement that’s right for you.

 How Your Apartment Could Be Affecting Your Health

Apartment is Too Small

This is a common problem in the United States, especially for families of 3 or more who can only afford to rent a small space. An apartment that’s too small for the tenant is likely to cause mental health problems. Tenants may feel that they have no privacy, or that they feel claustrophobic; these may cause tenants to lose sleep or experience higher stress. Small apartments also squeeze communal spaces in close proximity to hygienical spaces (for example, the living room may sit uncomfortably close to the bathroom).

There are some solutions for this problem. First, if an apartment is too small to accommodate excess belongings, you must take it upon yourself to keep your apartment free from clutter.  Second, you can improve the atmosphere of a small apartment by decorating your apartment with glass shelves, to create the illusion of more space.

You could also use ottoman furniture to get extra storage space. The only real solution to the “bathroom next to living room” problem is to give the bathroom a stylish renovationso that it’s more aesthetic. Of course, that would have to be negotiated by you and your landlord. You could contribute some money to the renovation, perhaps, and then receive a slight discount in your monthly rent.

If you’re unhappy with your apartment, be sure to examine whether or not you’re living in habitable conditions. If you are, consider your rental situation and also the size of the apartment you’re living in. Any of these 3 factors can make you feel uncomfortable, claustrophobic, and financially burdened in your apartment. If you can’t fix any of these problems, it might be time to prepare to move somewhere else.

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