Should I move into an apartment or house where there are problems? What if the landlord promises to fix them?
Generally, the answer is no. You should try to find a place that does not need significant repairs. Even if the landlord promises to make the repairs once you move in, there is no guarantee that the landlord will do so. If the repairs are minor ones (new light bulbs or shower curtain), then it might not make a big difference because you could fix these problems yourself. If the repairs are major (no smoke alarms, broken windows, no heat), you should not move into the apartment.
Many people do move into places with bad conditions because the rent is cheap, the landlord promises to make the repairs and they need a place right away. Make sure that you get the landlord to sign a written agreement added to the lease stating the date the repairs will be completed. If you agree to do some of the work in exchange for a reduction in rent, get that in writing or it will be difficult to prove later.
You should also take pictures of the repairs that are needed. If the landlord doesn’t make repairs and you need to sue him to try to get the repairs made, you will then have the pictures and signed agreement as proof of the conditions and the landlord’s promise to make the repairs. Remember to keep a copy of the agreement signed by your landlord.