Understanding and fully reading your apartment rental agreement is important. There is legal ease and there is direct language. Here are some things to consider before you sign the lease for your new apartment:
o Check when the rent is due.
o Find out where to go to pay your rent, who to give it to, or where it should be sent.
o What are the late fees for rent not paid on time? -When do these charges begin?
o Exact amount of deposit required.
o When is this deposit returned?
o How can this deposit be lost?
o Is there a pet deposit? If so, how much does it cost? When can it be refunded? Can you get this deposit back if you no longer have your pet?
o How soon after moving out is the deposit returned?
o Can you have roommates and what is the building policy about adding someone to the lease if necessary?
o What exactly does the rental include?
o Does the rent include any utilities? If so, which ones?
o What appliances and/or furniture, if any, are included in the apartment rental rates?
o Is the parking included in the rental of the apartment or does it have an additional cost?
o Are there additional charges for the use of building services, such as the gym or community center? If there are additional fees, what are they and if you do not use the services, will you still be responsible for those fees?
o What repairs are covered in the lease? If something happens and building management needs to make repairs, who should be called? Is there a charge for repairs not covered in the lease? If so, what are those costs? How fast is the turnaround to fix something that is covered in the lease?
o How much notice is needed when your lease is up and you are planning to move?
o If you need to move before the end of your lease term, what fees will you be responsible for?
o Check to see if there are any specific cleaning instructions that need to be followed before you move out. If these are not followed to the letter, part of your deposit may be accessed to cover these cleaning costs.
Most leases have a noise and disturbance clause. This means that the tenant (lessee) and anyone in their apartment will not bother the other tenants in the building or use the apartment for illegal purposes.
Other common regulations include who pays for losses, how notice will be given between tenant and landlord, when subletting is allowed, and if so, when a landlord can enter your apartment.
Depending on your state, there are laws regarding what a landlord may or may not require within your lease, so do some research and find out your rights.
If you need to make a change to your lease, ask to add a provision to your lease. Have the change written in the lease and then both you and the manager initial the change. Never just agree to something verbally, make sure all agreements are put in writing.
If you don’t understand something, ask questions. And he doesn’t feel pressured to sign the lease right there. Take some time with your lease and make sure you understand anything and everything that is covered in it.
And lastly, don’t forget to get a copy of your lease for your records!