Have You Read Your Lease?

read your rental lease and agreement

Finding a good place to live is difficult, but when you find the right home and set your heart on it, it feels like ‘this is it, this is the house I want.” While people may be subject to emotional bias, they might forget to look at some essential aspects of the lease.

Learn some of the essential things you must see in your rental lease before signing it.

Terminal and Renewable options

The typical lease arrangement is 12 months, although yours can differ based on what you or your landlord decides on. Some co-living companies offer flexible leases, anywhere from 3 to 18 months. Choose what fits your lifestyle best.

Most of the agreements begin by giving the landlord 30 to 90 days’ notice if you plan to renew the contract once they reach out to you, with 60 days notice being the norm. When the time comes to renew, many variables will affect your decision. Decide what’s best for you quickly and let your landlord know.

Grace Period of the Rent

Grace period refers to how many days you are given before having to incur a late fine for rent payments, and it differs by country. In many cases, the grace period is on the 5th day of the month, and if you haven’t paid rent by then, you will have to pay a late fee — which may be either a flat fee or a portion of the monthly rent.

Fixtures Available

Permanent household items (such as a stove, oven or dishwasher) are usually inclusive on your rent. Nevertheless, if you ever see a unit with interchangeable fixtures — window shades, pool appliances, plug-in microwave — you’ll want to double-check precisely what the landlord is going to offer you in your lease. In certain situations, you can rent furniture for an additional charge, or you can negotiate with the former occupant if they are leaving any equipment behind.

A good way to outfit your home when you move-in is to check sites like craigslist.com and Facebook Marketplace, among others, where students moving home or young professionals moving in may be selling household items.

Remodelling and Reconstruction

Most lease arrangements allow you to seek approval from the landlord before you make improvements to the property — including cosmetic adjustments. Painting a wall might sound harmless, but if you spray paint on a carpet or leave stud holes everywhere, you’re going to be responsible for it. If you make significant changes to the apartment without any of the permission of the landlord, they may use your security deposit to pay for making the property how it was.

Number of People Who Can Stay

Many metropolitan areas have fire codes which restrict the number of people who are allowed to sleep in one room. A rental apartment or homeowner association may also limit how many individuals can live in a rental property. It impacts how you will be able to add individuals to the lease later. For instance, if you want to transform the living room into an extra bedroom for a new roommate within six months, you may not be able to do so because you have already exceeded the most number of people permitted to stay in the unit as per the lease.

This also plays into renting out your room on rental websites like AirBnb and Apartments.com. There is likely a clause in your rental agreement that disallows from doing this, as making money off your rental property (not as the landlord) is not covered with liability insurance, etc.

Guest Policy

Most lease contracts limit how many days a person can remain at the property if the individual is not on the lease. We can say that you must know how long somebody can crash on your sofa before you sign — or extend a request.

Ask yourself, did you know you had to look for all these things in the lease before signing it? Next, you sign a lease make sure you take all these in the account before signing. You’ll be better off to know the terminology of the lease if anything arises.

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