You’ve found the right apartment and are excited to move in. Wait! Have you read the lease and do you understand it?
Everyone tells you to read the lease, but it’s long, not the most interesting read, and sometimes difficult to understand. However, it IS a legal document that binds you to certain obligations. You should understand what you are signing.
These are some of the important questions you need to ask.
1. When is the rent due? Are there late fees?
It is vital to understand when the rent must be paid, as you could be assessed late fees. Find out how much late fees are in the rare case you pay late.
2. What are the notice requirements?
You love your apartment now, but you may relocate or decide to upgrade at the end of your lease. Determine what type of notice is accepted. Many companies require it to be provided in writing. It is also important to understand the time frame required. Do they ask for 60 days? Or two full months? There is a difference, and knowing those details up front will help you prepare and avoid any penalties.
3. What is the process for breaking my lease?
Life presents many changes – job transfers, roommates move out, even the loss of employment. You may be required or desire to move to a new home before your lease ends. Know what steps you need to take and if there are any penalties to breaking your lease agreement. Ask about fees, re-renting your home, and how the process will work.
4. What is the Pet Policy?
If you have or plan to have a pet, it is important to know what type of pets are allowed and any fees associated with them. You also want to be aware of your community’s position on the number of pets and any other restrictions. Inquire about your property’s policy on visitors’ pets as well.
5. Where are my incentives or special terms documented?
Make sure any incentives or special terms you have discussed are put in writing. You may have discussed new carpeting or a rental incentive with the leasing specialist, but when you come in to sign the lease or move in, you may be dealing with a different person who is unaware of your prior discussion.
Once you have answered these questions, you can sign the lease for your new apartment knowing you have a more thorough understanding of the lease and your responsibilities. Remember, your leasing specialist is a great resource for you. They can assist you with any questions during the leasing process and with your new home.