Apartment Rental Lease: Items To Be Aware Of When Reviewing It

Apartment rental leases may contain fine print that you should be very aware of. Here are some tips, to make sure you aren't unpleasantly suprised during the lease.

Apartment leases are a legally binding, contractual obligation between a landlord and a tenant. The landlord essentially gives you permission to occupy his or her land for a period of time in exchantge for your payment of rent. Once you sign the lease, however, you are bound by its terms, so it is adviseable to be cautious when signing it. You can save yourself money and frustration by reading it carefully and looking especially close at certain items.

Initially, check to see how much the landlord is asking you for a security deposit. Ideally, it should be no higher than a one-month payment of rent. The security deposit itself is not rent, but a sum of money the landlord may use to gurantee your performance of the lease. He or she may also use it to fix damages left in the apartment by you when your lease expires, among other items. Nevertheless, ask if the landlord will reduce the security deposit to the equivalent of one month's rent.

Pay attention to the duration of the lease term. Although the typical lease of an apartment is for 12 months, some leases may on ly last for six or eight months. Be sure to ask your landlord whether or not you can pay your rent on a month to month basis when your initial lease term is through. If you wish to remain, the landlord may ask you to sign a lease which binds you for another entire term of 12 months. However, if you can have a month to month tenancy after your initial term, ask the landlord to include it in the lease.

The majority of the time, previous tenants will have moved out of the premises by the time you sign the lease. However, in the event they are still occupying the apartment, ask the landlord to guarantee that they will be out by the day your lease commences. Otherwise, ask for your rent to be stopped until the holdover tenants move out.

Your lease may include a "damages check-in" sheet. As part of it, you will be required to go through your apartment and assess any damages done by previous tenants. Mark down any damages you see, no matter how minor they appear to be. If you fail to note them, the landlord will presume you caused them and will charge you for the repairs when your lease expires.

Most residential leases will clearly outline th responsibilities of both parties concerning repairs and maintenance of the apartment. Examine your lease to determine who must take care of routine repairs. Ideally, the landlord should because it is his or her property. If you as a tenant are responsible, check to see if the landlord will reimburse you for money you spend on supplies for repairs. As an alternative, as for a deduction in rent.

The most effective way to make a change to a lease is to add an addition, or "amendment" to the end of it. Simply type your changes on an additional sheet of paper and attach it to your lease. Make sure both you and your landlord sign it.

Above all, always read carefully, and do not be afraid to speak up and negotiate if you feel somehting is wrong with your lease. You will be glad you did.

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