What to Consider Before Signing a Lease

Signing the lease of a house or apartment for rent is an agreement that needs to be carefully reviewed before you make the leap.

  • Read the lease thoroughly before you sign it. Not all leases are the same, so it is important to look over each section of the lease every time you rent and have a new lease. Review the most important dates, amounts, expectations, and terms, for example whether subleasing is allowed or not.
  • Be clear about how much money you will have to pay in advance. Many homeowners require a security deposit, which can amount to a month’s rent or more. In addition, if you work alongside a real estate broker, you must pay fees to them as well.
  • Know all possible penalties. A lease usually details the penalties that the landlord can charge you for damages, late payment of the lease or early termination.
  • Determine which utilities are left to you. The payment of electricity, gas, water, garbage collection and other bills varies by owner, so find out what you must pay. Also, know who the providers are available for each service and then look into which offers the best cost.
  • Know how far in advance you must report the termination of the lease. The amount of time required varies by state and may depend on the owner or the leasing company. There may also be charges related to early termination, so it is important that you know your obligations before signing the lease.
  • Identify all associated costs. Before signing a lease, make sure you know how much rent with any necessary utilities you can afford.
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