Reviewing your Lease
Leases are contracts that will legally bind you to a property, so you need to understand the exact terms of the lease. Since they are contracts, you will be able to negotiate to your benefit and not get stuck with a lease that heavily favors the landlord's interests instead of your own. During the review of your lease here is what you should look out for:
- The length of the lease. Is it month-to-month or multiple years? Consider how long you plan on staying in the area and whether your job may make you move before signing.
- Home business clauses. If you’re running your own business from the property, make sure that it’s not prohibited to do so.
- Animal terms. Some leases don’t allow pets. Check the lease and talk to the landlord there may be exceptions for smaller animals.
- Liquidated damages clause. The lease may state that you will have to pay a sum of money if you break the lease. Try to negotiate this because if you do accidentally break the lease the landlord will be getting more money with this clause.
- When rent is due and late fees. See how much you will be getting charged for paying rent late. Make sure you have an easy way to pay your landlord and it can be recorded.
- Utility responsibilities. Find out what utility bills you will be paying and make sure you factor them into your budget.
- Liens. If a clause says that if you do not pay rent the landlord can have a lien on your property that means that if you do not pay they have a claim to your property for the losses.
- Security deposit. Will your security deposit will be returned after the lease expires? Make sure you and the landlord are aware of any damages before you begin your lease.