No two lease agreements are exactly alike. Each tenant has a unique situation which requires a negotiation of the terms or the addition of more terms. Knowing the different terms of a typical agreement will help you negotiate the best agreement possible.
This clause in your lease agreement is straightforward. It lists how long you’ll rent the apartment for. Typical lease terms are month-to-month, three months, six months or one year. You’ll want to negotiate the shortest term possible, while the landlord will want you to agree to the longest term. This term will also include how (or if) the lease gets renewed and for how long.
When you sign a lease, your landlord wants assurance that you are the one who will actually live in the apartment. The term in a lease agreement that covers that is known as a limit of occupancy. This restricts who can live in the apartment at any given time. If this term is violated, the landlord has legal grounds to evict you.
How much you’ll pay in rent is probably the most important term in the lease agreement. You want the rent to be as low as you can get it, while your landlord wants it to be as high as he can while keeping the apartment marketable. This term will include the amount, plus the specific due date. Some lease agreements will allow you to pay up to the fifth day of the month. Late fees, place of payment and other related information to your rent will be included here as well.
When you sign your lease agreement, you’ll need to pay your first month’s rent plus a security deposit. The deposit is collected by the landlord to pay for any damages to the apartment that remain after you leave. State laws vary on the maximum amount that your landlord can collect, usually ranging from one month to two months rent. You cannot count on the deposit as your last month’s rent because it’s not collected for that purpose. This term will also spell out whether any portion of the deposit is non-refundable.
You have a right to live in your apartment free from worries that your landlord will use his keys to inspect your place at any time. This term prevents random visits to your apartment by your landlord. It will state how much advance notice they’ll need to give you, and for what purposes, such as to make repairs.
One of the implied jobs of your landlord is to manage neighbor conflicts. They will usually try to prevent conflicts in your lease agreement by including a nuisance clause. This will include restrictions on what you can or cannot do in relation to how your actions might affect your neighbor’s ability to live comfortably. For instance, it may state that you can’t have loud music or run a business where customers will visit your apartment. This clause also benefits you, because it helps to prevent the other tenants from becoming a nuisance to you. However, this clause should not overly attempt to restrict your activities.
There are different terms for different lease agreements, and therefore you need to understand typical terms going in. This will help you to better negotiate terms that are right for you.