Top 10 Things You Need To Review in a Residential Lease
Should I have to Read the Entire Residential Lease? We all have received that big 20 page contract to sign our lease for a new apartment or house to live in. The question is should I read the entire thing? The short answer is NO ! Listed below are the Top 10 things to look for in your residential
Top 10 Things You Need To Review in a Residential LeaseDefine the rental/lease term: How long is the lease for 1 year, 2 years, etc.? When is the exact start date? 2.Notice Period: Do you have to give a notice that you are not going to renew your lease? This is done so that landlord can make proper arrangements to rent the apartment again. 3.Security deposits: Does your lease define the exact amount of the security deposit, state how the the deposit can be used, list any non-refundable fees (such as cleaning fees), and state how long the landlord has to return the security deposit? 4.Tenant's List: Anyone living in the apartment full time needs to be on same rental agreements, this protects the landlord because each tenant becomes fully responsible for all of the terms of the lease. It could also protect each individual tenant in case of individual negligence or violation of the lease. 5.Amount of Rent Due: Besides spelling out exactly how much rent is due, don't forget to ask what forms of payment are accepted. If multiple people are living in the same unit does there need to be one check and if not and one person does not pay do the others become responsible? (In most cases the Landlord can go after rent from all the tenants). Check to see if there are grace period for when the rent is due so that you do not potentially incur late fees. 6.Maintenance and repairs: Both the landlord and the tenant have responsibilities to maintain the premises, find out what are the obligations of both parties. The tenant upon leaving the apartment needs to return it in the same condition as it was given (typically clean). Landlord needs to make sure common areas are safe, well lit and clean. It is typically the duty of the landlord to make sure there is hot water, heat, lack of insects/rodents, and AC depending on where you live. 7.Ending the Lease Early/Subletting? What happens if you have to end your lease early? Is there a lease breaking fee and if so how much? Are you allowed sublet and if so how what are the requirements for subleasing? 8.Utilities/Trash/Pets- Majority of Tenants are responsible for the electric bill and landlords could be responsible for water and heat bills depending on the where you live. Pets- Are you allowed to bring your dog or cat and if so is there an extra charge ("pet deposit fee" or "higher rent")?. 9.Renter's Insurance - Does the landlord require tenants to get Renters insurance? If so who is the company? Can you use your own? Tip: If you have car insurance most companies offer renters insurance for only a few dollars more on your bill. 10.Airbnb Clause/Posting Rental: This is something new but check if your lease has Airbnb clause that will not allow you to rent your apartment on Airbnb or any other similar online website for short-term stays
Miscellaneous Clauses:State law will define many other terms that should be included in your lease or rental agreement such as: flood, fire, and other safety items such chemical disclosures and antidiscrimination notices. Other items such as parking spots, use of common areas (gym, pool, BBQ/Patio Areas) and whether tenants can run a business from the property, may apply to your particular living situation and should be reviewed before signing.