What to Look for Before Signing a Lease Agreement

May 7, 2021

Finding a new place to live can be a real challenge. There’s the location, amenities, and layout of the apartment to consider. Once you find one you like, there’s still more work to do since you’ll need to apply. If your application is accepted, you still aren’t done. There are things you’ll want to make sure you understand before you sign the lease.

Inspection and Maintenance Policy

It’s pretty normal for landlords to want to inspect their property periodically. After all, it’s their source of income. It’s only natural they would want to make sure it’s taken care of. That said, for the sake of maintaining a good relationship with your landlord, it’s important to understand what their policies and expectations are when they conduct inspections. Similarly, it’s important to understand who is responsible for what maintenance tasks. You probably won’t need to call your landlord to have a light bulb changed. If you are unable to unclog a toilet, on the other hand, that’s probably something they should know about.

Fees and Rent

Paying rent is an expected part of being a renter. What you may not expect, and what may change from place to place, are the fees and other financial responsibilities you have. Make sure you know what things your landlord could fine you for ahead of time. Property damage and late rent often result in fees of some sort. Some places require a security deposit as well as an amount equalling the first and last month of rent upfront before allowing you to finalize the agreement. You can save money by paying prorated rent if you move in mid-month. Be sure to discuss that option with your landlord if it makes sense for you.

Terminating the Lease

You may have initially intended to stay the course for the entirety of your lease. The future isn’t set in stone, however. Your circumstances may change such that you may need to move before the lease is over. Before you sign the agreement, make sure you’re familiar with the landlord’s policies on terminating the lease. Make sure you know how much of your security deposit you can expect to get back, how much notice you need to give, and if subletting your apartment is an option for honoring the lease agreement.

Before you sign the lease, there are things you need to make sure are in order. You need to make sure you understand the inspection and maintenance policy, the fees and rent you’re responsible for, and how to terminate the lease if need be. Once you’re sure you fully understand the terms and conditions for renting that apartment, you can feel confident that you’ve done your part to get the landlord-tenant relationship off to a good start.

Read this next: How to Get Comfortable in Your New Home

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