Leasing terminology for apartment renters
Some of our readers are preparing this year to rent a new apartment, maybe even their first. The To Do list is extensive and takes a lot of time to complete, but it’s as important to make sure the terms of the apartment lease are clearly understood.
Typically, most lease documents are clear and without unexpected surprises, but just for your peace of mind, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and what restrictions you might obey to as a resident of your new apartment.
We recommend you double check the following before signing your lease:
Start and end date of tenancy—also known as the periodic tenancy, means to check that your move in and move out dates correspond with the time frame expected/requested.
Rental price and deposit amount—check to see that the dollar amounts match up to what you’ve discussed with the leasing agent.
Contingencies for post-lease continuance—simply put, in some apartments you’ll be able to rent month to month after you have completed your first year of residency; in others you will be asked to sign another year-long lease or a shorter term lease, such as six months.
Terms of anticipated increases—most likely this won’t pertain to your first year of tenancy because you agree to rent the apartment at the monthly price stated in the agreement. However, read thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any situations or causes in which the landlord has the right to raise the rent. Look for a standard second-year increase in the lease agreement.
Reasons for termination—this section has to be detailed and very specific. Be on the lookout for vague loopholes under which a landlord could evict you for some cause or without violation of the lease terms.
Move-out penalties—in the event that you need to leave the apartment before the lease is up, will you be subjected to an additional fee?
Tenant-responsible repairs—in the lease is should be clear who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the residence, and it should not be the tenant.
Renters Insurance—there are apartment complexes that mandate renters insurance. It’s a wise thing to have because it offers you protection, but it may be required by your lease as well.
Policies about subletting or visitors—before you move in and start having guests over, make sure you know what rules you’ve agreed to abide by.