What to Review in your Property Lease Agreement
When signing a property rental agreement, it’s highly advised that you read through all of the lease terms thoroughly. However, with some apartment leases consisting of 30 pages or more, we’re breaking down some of the most important lease terms to keep your eye out for.
Rent Amount. This may seem obvious, but always be sure your lease clearly states the amount you owe each month in rent—as well as what utilities are included in that amount. In addition to that, it’s also important to make clear in the lease terms when exactly rent is due and how rent is to be paid, such as by check or online.
Lease Term. Often times, apartment lease terms are discussed prior to lease signing and in most cases refers to a fixed lease term rather than a month-to-month rental agreement. When reviewing the property’s lease, it’s important to double check that the lease term indicated is in line with your verbal agreement. Simple human error can sometimes have you vacating a few days, or even weeks, early or later than you intended.
Deposits & Fees. On top of rent and application costs, you may hear a landlord refer to any of the following: move-in fees, building fees, processing fees, security deposits, etc. It’s extremely important to discuss any additional fees associated with your move upfront, but even more important to get them in writing in your lease terms. In most states, there are very strict rules regarding the handling of a security deposit (such as where it should be held, when it can be used and when it must be returned) so having this in print can be very valuable.
Tenants. Another no-brainer right? Not always. You’d be surprised by how often one or more tenants is left off of a lease. While it may not seem like a big deal, it could really hurt you down the line. In order to make each tenant legally responsible for all apartment lease terms, their name has to be on the lease and they need to sign/initial where applicable. Without clearly stating this in writing, someone occupying the apartment that is not on the property rental agreement can up and leave at a moment’s notice without any repercussions, leaving the remaining occupants to pick up the pieces or face eviction. So always make sure to look out for your own interest above the convenience of others.