To anybody who is unfamiliar with the typical legal jargon that accompanies a sample lease agreement, attempting to read through one of these lengthy documents before signing on the many dotted lines can be a bit overwhelming. So much so that many people simply gloss over these documents, put down their John Hancock, and file the lease away in their paperwork for later use.
While it is understandable why people tend to gloss over these documents, it is folly to do so. There are several key pieces of information that should be gleaned from reviewing the lease agreement, and this information may be very important down the line should any issues ever arise with the apartment.
Here are some pieces of valuable information that you should take note of when reviewing your rental lease agreement:
Some landlords and management companies will require rent to be in on the 1st of every month, others the 15th. There’s even been rare cases of more arbitrary dates (such as the 1st Thursday of the month), so be sure you know exactly when your payment is due.
Occupancy and Subleasing Rules
The rental agreement should state implicitly the rules of occupancy and subleasing. Find out how many days a guest can stay without the landlord or management company considering that person to be a sub-leaser. This is especially important if the agreement does not allow you to sublease the apartment, even with landlord consent. Having a guest for longer than this allotted time will make them an illegal sub-leaser, and possibly be grounds for eviction (or other action taken against you).
It is important to know what you are allowed to do to your apartment, and what you are forbidden from doing. Many owners will not allow painting, wallpapering, changing locks, large nails, or wall fastenings. Be sure you understand what is expected of you as far as maintenance and decoration of your rental property, as this can effect you down the line when it is time to move out.
Security Deposit Policy
Know your security deposit policy inside and out. This is often a subject of contention between building owners and tenants upon the tenant moving out. Everyone wants to get their money back in the end, and some people will struggle for months to get their deposit back, in some cases unsuccessfully. Most lease agreements state that the deposit will be paid back in full as long as it is not being used to cover additional costs such as damage repair, key replacement, or unpaid rent. This is why it is important to know about the rules regarding apartment alterations and maintenance if you wish to receive your deposit back in full.
Lastly, know the specific rules of the building such as recycling and trash disposal, smoking rules, pet rules, noise rules, parking rules, etc. This will be very important in maintaining a harmonious relationship with your new neighbors, as well as your superintendent and the building owners.