December 12, 2008, Newsletter Issue #119: Before You Sign a Lease

Tip of the Week

Once you have decided on an apartment to move in to, you will want to keep in the mind the following things before signing the lease. The lease is a legal document that binds you to your rental agreement through a rental company or landlord, so it is important that you know everything on that lease and agree to it before signing on the dotted line.

You will want the lease to have a description of every room in the apartment you are renting, it should have written what is working, what isn't, what things look like and if there are any stains on any carpet, counter tops or other appliances. If there are any items in the apartment that need repair, have the landlord put that in the lease along with an agreement on his or her part to fix it before your move in date.

Double check your lease to see what it says about terminating the lease before the allotted time- for example you sign a lease for one year, if you need to move out before that one year, is there a penalty for doing so? What about the deposit you put down? What would be the cause of not receiving your deposit back after your lease expires? What about pets? If you have a pet is there a pet disclosure agreement included in the lease? What does it say about cleaning up after your pet?

Reading over every detail of your lease before signing is crucial and remember to keep a copy of your lease and make sure you get one. You can't do anything without proof that you have a signed and written agreement between the rental company and yourself.

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