As young adults decide to move out of their parent’s house or to move off campus for the first time, they’ll most likely be tasked with renting an apartment. A lease is a legally binding agreement between the tenant and the landlord; its significance should not be overlooked. The most important part of signing a lease or rental agreement is reading it beforehand. Some of the key provisions that should be included are: how much the rent is, how much the security deposit is and how the tenant can get it back, the length of the tenancy, the consequences of terminating the lease early, where and how rent is paid and any late fee provisions, what utilities are the tenant’s responsibility, what alterations the tenant is allowed to make to the apartment if there are any, who is responsible for minor repairs and who to contact for major repairs, if pets are allowed and any associated pet fees. Before signing the agreement the tenant should have a good understanding of their responsibilities as well as the landlord’s responsibilities for the length of the agreement.
Tips for Signing a Housing Lease or Rental Agreement:
- Budget Carefully – Finding housing can come with many costs including: first month’s rent, security deposit, application fee, and utility deposits and fees. Make sure you have enough money to cover all of these costs comfortably.
- Ask Questions – Make sure you note anything you find disagreeable while reading the lease or rental agreement and ask the landlord to modify them before signing. Once you agree to the terms you’ll have to follow them for the duration of the agreement.
- Promises Should Be Made in Writing – Anything agreed upon verbally between the tenant and landlord should be put in writing in the lease or rental agreement. Verbal agreements are usually not legally binding.
If you believe you have been victimized by a rental scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.