What to Review Before Signing Your Apartment Lease

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As a prospective tenant, you always want a stress-free experience in the apartment-hunting process. When you think you’ve found the one that’s right for you, make sure to follow a few simple steps before you sign on the dotted line. This means learning some hard facts about your prospective lease, apartment and landlord/property management firm.

To help you get organized, we’ve compiled a common-sense guide for new tenants. Understanding the many facets of a lease will ensure that everything is in proper order before you sign the document.

Learn About Your Responsibilities

Sitting down in a quiet environment and carefully reading the fine print on a lease agreement is extremely important. The only sure-fire way to understand your responsibilities as a tenant is to read the lease agreement thoroughly. In verbal transactions, people may gloss over certain things or unknowingly provide the wrong information. This is why a careful reading of the lease agreement is so important. Look for:

Length of contract: A lease will stipulate how long you will occupy the apartment, and what the procedure is for giving notice should you decide to move out at any time.

Inclusion of utilities: It will also outline how much you need to pay in rent each month and whether or not certain amenities are included.

Renter’s Insurance: The lease may also confirm any requirements associated with renter’s insurance. This is an extra expense, although it can be advantageous to purchase as an extra fail-safe. It will offer a level of protection if something goes wrong (ie: water damage, fire, etc.). Many properties require tenants to purchase renters insurance with certain terms, so it’s in your best interest to do your research before purchasing from any insurance company.

Security Deposit: Before you move in to your new apartment, you’ll have to put down a security deposit. The landlord collects this in the event that repairs need to be made after you move out or if you move out early. Some landlords stipulate that if you break certain rules, the security deposit will not be returned to you at the end of your lease. If these rules are broken, you should know that your landlord is justified in keeping your deposit.

Understand Your Lease Before Signing

If the language in a lease isn’t completely clear, ask your prospective landlord for simple and clear answers or consult with a lawyer. The staff at Stoneledge is happy to thoroughly review your lease with you upon signing and explain any questions you may have.

Everything that you need to know should be laid out in your lease agreement. Once you’ve read it carefully, you’ll be ready to decide if the lease terms meet your approval.

Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be an empowered tenant. Happy (apartment) hunting!

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