Renting a new apartment is a long process. From the search to the move to the finances involved, it’s easy to get bogged down by everything else that you forget to actually double-check the lease you’re signing and committing to! When I rented my first apartment, I was so quick to sign the lease and move in that I wasn’t aware of the charges for being late on rent or that I needed to purchase renters insurance as part of my lease agreement.
While most leases are pretty standard and won’t contain any unexpected surprises, it’s still important to know what exactly you are committing to. When you read your lease, here are some things to double-check and make sure you’re familiar with:
The rental price and deposit amount: Make sure the price of the apartment and the security deposit matches up with that you discusses with the landlord or leasing agent. Some people can be sneaky and try to add extra fees. Watch out for that!
Maintenance & Repairs: Most apartment leases state that maintenance and repairs are covered and are not the responsibility of the tenant. But make sure what that entails, who to contact about repairs, and express any concerns with the landlord.
Renters Insurance: Is renter’s insurance required by your lease agreement? If not, it is still a good thing to get.
Guests/Parties/Noise Violations: I almost signed a lease that only permitted me to have 2 guests at the apartment at a time and all guests had to leave by 10pm. Luckily I read that part in the lease before I committed to such stipulations. Some landlord/property managers have strict rules for guests, parties, and fees associated with noise violations and cleanup. Make sure you read the lease so you know where they stand on such issues.
Utilities & Fees: What utilities are covered by the building/landlord and which are your responsibilities? The lease will outline this for you. It will also detail extra fees you might have to pay for such as garbage pickup, late fees, etc.
Reasons for Eviction: Check to see if there is an eviction clause in the lease so that you know the reasons for a possible eviction in order to avoid it.