Signing a Lease

Signing a lease for an apartment is a significant financial commitment.

It is not as simple as finding a place you like that is in your budget and moving in. Not only do you have to worry about making monthly rent payments. You must make sure that the apartment is clean and safe and that all of the appliances work correctly. Before you sign a lease, there are several steps you must first complete. From checking to see if utilities, like water, cable, and electricity are included in the monthly price, to finding out how to get out of your lease agreement.

Neglecting to ask your new landlord generic questions, such as the number of allocated parking spaces and if there are pet fees, can cause your monthly apartment budget to skyrocket. It is essential that you ask all of your questions before you write your name on the dotted line on the lease agreement or risk unexpected expenses. If you would like to learn further about what to do before you sign a lease, then continue to read the following pages.

Things to Check Before Signing an Apartment Lease When you find an apartment that you love, you may be ready to sign for the apartment then and there, even before you have asked many critical questions. Before you sign a lease, you need to make sure that you agree to all of the terms and conditions so that you are not surprised when you show up for signing.

You may have a strict budget that you must adhere to each month, but have you factored in every new expense that comes with your new apartment? It is common for landlords and property managers to ask tenants to purchase rental insurance. While monthly payments may be affordable, not correctly budgeting can put you in hot water. Before you sign a lease, make sure to ask if you need renter’s insurance. You should also ask if utilities like electricity, water, and cable are included, and if there are maintenance, pet and parking fees. When you vocalize your questions and concerns, make sure that you get everything in writing so you will not be surprised by any hidden fees or conditions when you sign your lease.

How to Get Out of Your Lease

There are many reasons that a tenant may need to get out of a lease, but is it something that tenants can do? A rental contract is a legally binding contract. So, even if you need to pack up your life and move because of a new job, school, or other personal matters, you need to first speak with your landlord. You also need to find a copy of your lease. If you do not have specific clauses in your lease agreement about early termination, you may be stuck paying rent until a new renter is found, or you may be responsible for paying off the remaining months before your landlord lets you out of your lease.

If your landlord does not allow you out of your contract, you may think that you can pack up and move and that they will never find you. But when you sign a lease, your landlord obtains your personal information, such as your social security number and date of birth. With this information, they are legally allowed to contact a debt collector or creditor to track you down. To prevent yourself from getting into any costly and messy financial and legal trouble, find a way to break your lease legally. By sitting down and talking with your landlord, and addressing specific clauses in your contract, you may be able to break your lease without having to pay large sums of money.

What to Bring to a Lease Signing

Most landlords ask potential candidates for specific information and paperwork before they hand over the keys. Landlords make money off of the apartments that they rent. But if they rent to people who have bad credit, are unemployed, and have an unfortunate history with previous landlords, they would never find stable candidates. Signing a lease does not require a simple signature. Lease agreements are legally binding contracts between the renter and the landlord, and you will need to submit many documents.

Documents you need to present may range from your proof of identity to employment history and financial status. But they all attest to your character and help determine if you are an ideal candidate or not. So, it is essential that you show up to your lease looking professional. If you show up to a signing prepared, it shows that you respect your new landlord and that you are a responsible tenant.

How to Inspect Your New Apartment

After the lease has been reviewed and signed, you will get the keys to your new apartment. But there is one more crucial task you must conduct, which is to inspect the apartment. When you examine an apartment, you are not only looking for walls with chipped paint or floors with scuff marks. You are also looking for safety hazards, like doors and windows not correctly opening, closing and locking. You should also check if appliances are leaking water, emitting gases, or generally not working.

When you inspect an apartment, your landlord should be with you. Ideally, you will walk through every room of the apartment, looking over every detail from the ceiling to the floor. Make sure to check electrical outlets, ceiling fans, and running water. That way, you can point out damages together that will prevent you from being held responsible. To make sure that you are not held accountable come move-out for damages that you did not do, it is crucial that you inspect the new apartment thoroughly.

Learn More about Signing a Lease

Signing the lease to your dream home should be a reason to celebrate, but it is also something that should not be taken lightly. Renting an apartment is a serious financial obligation. But if you know the documents you need to bring with you to the signing and how to inspect your new apartment, you can enjoy the process. Also, you will not get overwhelmed or upset uncovering hidden terms in your lease or fees that you suddenly need to pay. You may save yourself from renting an apartment that has significant safety and health concerns or finding a way out of your lease that you did not think of before.

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