Relocation Tips: What's in a Lease?

It’s pretty easy to get carried away in the excitement of signing a lease and breeze over its actual contents. Don’t make this mistake. When you’re signing a lease, there are a lot of things being thrown at you at once, you might be overwhelmed, and usually, the last thing you’ll want to do is read through a long lease agreement full of legal speak and technical terms. Do it anyway. Every Lease Should State

  • Rent amount
  • Repair & modification responsibilities
  • Utility responsibilities

Always Read Your Lease Agreement

Seriously, you’re going to be living under these guidelines for the length of the agreement, make absolutely certain that you agree with everything. The most important details are your rent amount, your repair responsibilities, and your utilities.

Rent: You’re obviously not going to sign a lease unless you know how much you’ll be paying each month, but also make sure you pay attention to penalties for late payments. Also check if there is a clause that says your rent may be increased before the lease is up.

Repair and Modifications: Your lease will dictate who handles any repairs to your apartment, whether it’s you or your landlord. This can turn into a pretty big deal, especially if you are required to pay for all damages personally, but you aren’t responsible to handling the repairs. You also need to see if you are allowed to make modifications to the property, like painting, carpeting, or adding fixtures.

Utilities: Always check what utilities are included in your lease agreement. A seemingly inexpensive apartment can become a financial weight if you didn’t know you’d be paying for electric, gas, or water. Factor these things into your budget before signing your lease.

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Resigning Your Current Lease

Just because you’ve already lived in your apartment for a year or more doesn’t mean you can skip reading the lease agreement when you resign. There’s no guarantee that your lease terms will stay the same.

Most importantly, your rent might increase. Your landlord doesn’t necessarily have to tell you in person if your rent is increasing with your new lease. They also don’t have to tell you if other details change, like repair responsibilities or utilities. Your landlord cannot raise your rent during your lease agreement without notifying you, but a new lease is considered adequate notification.

Signing a lease is a big deal. Even though it’s a temporary living situation, it will have a significant impact on you financially. Always read through your lease agreement carefully before signing it, and you’ll avoid most unexpected costs.

Human Resources Today