Looking for a new home? Check out Alvern Gardens!

Alvern Gardens is currently offering a special on pet friendly three bedroom apartments: second month’s free rent and no pet fee! There are only a few three bedroom apartments available, so if you’re interested, call 412-561-4663 today for a tour.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for planting their own small gardens.

The on-site leasing office is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays. Walk-ins are welcome during these hours. If you’d like to schedule a tour outside of these hours, agents are available by appointment on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The rent for the 822 sq ft three bedrooms is $815/month plus electric, all other utilities are included in rent, including heat, cooking gas, and hot water. All apartments are cable and internet ready (Comcast is the provider).

The spacious layout features separate living and dining rooms, a coat closet by the front door, and a linen closet by the bathroom. The apartments are equipped with brand new wall-to-wall carpeting, a full-size gas stove and refrigerator, ample cabinet space in the kitchen, and a ceiling fan in the dining room. Additional storage is included with each apartment.

Residents have full control over the radiator heat and are welcome to install as many window air conditioning units as they desire. All windows come with screens, locks, and stays, and are designed for easy ac installation.

Coin-operated laundry facilities are located in the basement. Four apartments share one facility, and there is a change machine in the on-site leasing office for the convenience of our residents.

The on-site dog park is open to residents and their pups during daylight hours. Plus, with pool season fast approaching, it’s worth noting that Alvern Gardens has a pool.

pool

Parking is on street, first come, first serve, with permit-only off street parking included with certain units. Garages are available for rent for $55/month.

Alvern Gardens is situated just a five minute walk from the St. Anne’s T stop, where both the Red and Blue Lines stop every five to twenty minutes. This quiet residential neighborhood is just minutes from shopping, restaurants and recreational areas such as the Ice Castle skating rink and South Park.

If Alvern Gardens sounds like the place for you, please call us at 412-561-4663 to inquire about the application process.

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Why you should take out your window ac in winter

Window air conditioning units work wonders in summer, but in winter, they should be removed and put in storage. Why? Because energy conservation, that’s why.

First of all, no matter how snugly your ac fits in the window—and let’s face it, it probably doesn’t fit very well at all—there’s still a draft coming through. Only a fully shut and locked window is truly sealed against the elements. Ask anyone who’s sensitive to drafts and they’ll tell you they feel one when they stand in front of a window with an ac in it.

window air conditioning unit
At Alvern Gardens Apartments, residents are allowed to install as many window a/c units as they’d like, but it’s important that they remove them all before winter sets in.

Any sort of draft causes the energy output of your heating system to skyrocket because it’s constantly trying to compensate for that continuous flow of cold air. Taking out your window ac is the fastest, easiest, and most obvious way to stop drafts.

The more energy your heating system uses, the more money it costs to run it (obviously), but if you’re renting an apartment where “heat is included in rent,” you don’t notice that money blowing away in the winter breeze. But it absolutely is. When your lease renewal runs around, you’ll see that money again in the form of raised rent. When utilities are included in rent, the amount of rent reflects that. So if you’re causing your landlord to pay high utility bills for your unit by wasting energy, you can bet that your landlord will pass those costs onto you by raising your rent.

Now, there is another important reason to remove your window ac that applies only to those with radiator heat who have their ac installed directly above a radiator (which, if you have radiator heat, is probably exactly where you ac is… it’s more or less unavoidable). Radiators are made of cast iron and they can withstand a great deal, but one thing that is definitely a danger to them is the frigid cold air of deep winter in Pittsburgh. During extreme cold you should never open a window directly above a running radiator because that radiator can crack and leak. An ac inside a window directly above a radiator is pretty much the same thing as an open window above a radiator. If it gets cold enough, that little draft is going to crack your already overworked radiator.

Radiators are not easy to replace because, firstly they’re getting harder and harder to come by, and secondly the entire heating system has to be shut down to do the work. Then there’s the matter of repairing the damage from the leak. A single radiator can leak a whole lot of water and that water will not only destroy your flooring, it will destroy the ceiling in the apartment below yours. You can bet that if your radiator cracks because you opened the window, your landlord will charge for the full cost of repairs, and that’s going to add up to hundreds of dollars.

So when we say you should remove your window ac because it will allow you to conserve energy, what we mean is, you should remove your window ac because it will save you money.

Know the rules, don’t get burned

When you rent an apartment, you enter into a contract with your landlord, so it’s important that you understand all the terms and conditions of that contract.

Your landlord or an agent of your landlord will likely go over your lease with you at the time of your signing or have you read it before you sign. This is the best time to ask for clarification if there’s anything you’re not sure about. But this should not be the last time you ever look at your lease.

security deposit, lease
Knowing the ins and outs of your lease is key to saving you money and aggravation if any issues should arise.

You will receive a copy of your lease that, of course, you should keep on file in a safe place. When you first receive that copy, you should look it over and refresh yourself on the important points:

  • The amount of your rent, when it’s due, and how you are to pay and where you should send/bring it
  • Late fees, fees for bad checks, and other charges you could incur
  • What utilities are included in rent and what you need to pay yourself
  • The duration of the lease, especially the exact end date
  • Rules about renewing your lease and when you can expect to receive a renewal notice
  • Rules about ending your lease early in the event of a job transfer or other situation
  • Parking regulations
  • How to report maintenance issues and other concerns
  • What, if anything, your are responsible for by way of repairs (most commonly, renters are responsible for changing light bulbs and batteries in smoke detectors)
  • Your landlord’s contact information
  • Your exact address
  • Stipulations regarding your security deposit (when will it be returned, and what do you have to do when you move out to ensure its return)

Yes, some of these points are basic, but you’d be surprised what can slip your mind amidst the chaos of moving. Plus, if you give everything a second look right away, you’ll be more likely to remember it later on when things like renewing your lease become a more immediate concern. When you come across phone numbers for maintenance and your landlord’s office, save them in your phone and also write them down in an address book or save them in some other secondary location.

If you have a question for your landlord about something, take a moment to pull your lease out of its safe spot and see if anything written in it answers your question. If not, call your landlord and ask. If you’re even the least bit unsure about what your lease states about a certain issue, such as under what conditions you would be allowed to end the lease early, call your landlord for clarification and write yourself a note to attach to the lease for future reference. When you’re done, remember to put the lease back in its safe spot.

Knowing your lease is the key to having a good experience renting, so if it’s been a while since you looked at yours and you’re fuzzy on the terms, pull it out and give it a read.

Easy ways to conserve energy and save money

Two weeks ago, we shared some ways to stay warm and safe in extreme cold. In that post, we missed one key method of optimizing your heat: move your furniture away from radiators and air vents so the hot air doesn’t get trapped. So now that we’re on the subject again, why not talk about conserving and saving with the rest of your utilities?

Water

  • Report any leaks, dripping faucets, malfunctioning toilets, etc. to maintenance immediately if you rent or call a plumber if you own. You wouldn’t believe the amount of water wasted by a broken toilet.
  • Turn off the tap when you’re not using water, like while brushing your teeth. Yes, this one is old hat, but it’s an important one to remember.
  • Recycle old water for other things. When your cat’s water bowl needs a change, don’t dump the old stuff down the drain, use it to water your plants. Don’t have a cat? Put a bucket in the shower to collect the water as it heats up. Even just-boiled water from cooking pasta can be used as an herbicide on weeds.
  • A short shower actually saves more water than a bath, another tried and true water conservation tip.
  • If you don’t have a double basin sink, get a rinsing tub to set into your basin, turning it into a double sink. When washing dishes, fill the tub for soaking and run the faucet in the other half of the sink only when rinsing.

Electricity

  • Charge devices conservatively. Your cell phone likely tells you when it’s fully charged and recommends that you unplug it and the charger to conserve energy. Listen to that prompt. Do the same with your tablets, digital cameras, laptops, and other devices.
  • Know your device and how to conserve its charge so you don’t have to plug in as often. A darker screen uses less energy, so dim your screen and set wallpapers and color themes to darker hues. You can use Google-powered blackle.com to save wattage while searching.
  • Because laptops run on battery, they use less electricity than a desktop, so if you’re on the market, consider the portable option.
  • Turn out the lights when you leave a room, and rely on natural light as much as possible to extend the life of light bulbs and conserve electricity. The same goes for your TV, fan, and other electrical appliances.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs. Even though they’re initially more expensive, fluorescents and LEDs pay off in the long-run by saving money on your electric bill and lasting longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Contact Prudential Realty Company to find out about what utilities are included in rent as well as our current availability.

Pittsburgh’s cold winter calls for special precautions

We’ve just had a serious cold snap here in the Pittsburgh area, and since winter’s nowhere close to over, now is a good time to talk about conserving energy while staying warm.

Whether or not your rent includes utilities like gas, electricity, or heat, conserving energy is good for the planet as well as your wallet (exorbitant utility bills can drive rent up from year to year).

Pittsburgh winter
Even in the cold and snow, Pittsburgh is a pretty city.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Make sure all windows and doors are properly insulated. A rolled up towel against the base of a drafty door is great in a pinch. Window insulation kits are cheap, easy to use, and work miracles.
  2. Take out all window air conditioning units and make sure all windows are fully closed.
  3. Keep all the doors inside your home open so the air can circulate and heat everything evenly.
  4. Never use your oven to heat your home, this is dangerous, especially with gas stoves.
  5. Contact maintenance if your heat isn’t working properly, a good maintenance service will take care of any issues—both too hot and too cold—in a timely manner and even provide space heaters in emergencies.
  6. Never open a window over a radiator in cold weather: this can crack the radiator and flood your home, and you will likely be charged for the water damage as well as the replacement of the radiator.
  7. When moving, find a home with new windows and doors, and check for drafts when touring rentals if possible.
  8. Never forget the tried and true practice of layering up with cozy sweaters and socks. Hot beverages warm you from the inside out, so while you wait for maintenance, have a cup of tea or hot cocoa.

As long as we’re on the subject of winter and heat, be sure to take precautions for your pipes during extreme cold. Open the cupboard and vanity doors under all sinks so warm air can circulate to them. Keep your water dripping so it doesn’t freeze inside the pipes.

Contact Prudential Realty Company for our current availability and to get information on the heating systems on our properties as well as what’s included in rent.