Once your rental application has been accepted, and you are ready to sign the lease agreement, it is important to remember that signing a lease is a serious matter. Leases are legal documents, so it is important that the agreement is clear and complete. In order to be complete, the agreement should include the provisions detailed in this article.
The Rental Payment
The lease agreement must clearly state the rental payment, when you are to make it, and how you are to make it. Some landlords require payment by check. Other landlords may accept credit cards or e-checks. It is important to pay your rent in the proper form. It is also important to deliver it properly. Many apartment complexes have drop boxes, and others may require the rent be mailed or sent to a lock box. Also make sure the lease contains information on when the rent is due if the due date falls on a Sunday or holiday.
The Lease Term
Make sure that the lease contains the lease term, and details on renewal. For example, if the lease is for a two year term, does it then go month to month after the two years?
The Security Deposit
The lease agreement should contain a provision for the security deposit. Before signing the lease, you should educate yourself on your state’s laws regarding security deposits. How much can the landlord charge by law? What are the legal requirements for holding the security deposit and returning the security deposit? Each state, and even different locales can differ. Read carefully, and be aware of the charges the landlord can make on your security deposit upon move-out.
We are all human, and we all forget things. Consequently, it is important that your lease agreement be clear on the penalites or fees should your rent payment be received late. The lease may also stipulate a penalty for a returned check, or insufficient funds.
The Pet Policy
Before signing a new lease agreement, you should make sure it contains a provision on the pet policy. If you are a pet owner, this is obviously important, but even if you’re not, it is good to know. What if in the future, you want a dog or cat, or a friend asks you to pet sit? It is important that the lease be clear on the pet policy so that you know what you can and cannot do.
Alterations & Improvements
It is important that the lease agreement contain a provision on alterations. Apartments are usually delivered to tenants painted white, and most people would like to change this. Make sure the lease explains the types of alterations you are allowed to make, and any required process to have them approved.
The lease agreement should contain a provision for lease termination. It should provide information regarding early termination, such as notice, and penalties. It should also provide information on timely lease terminations. How much notice are you required to give that you will not be renewing your lease?
The key is to make sure you understand everything in your lease agreement