1. Look for mathmatical errors or omissions. The date on the lease should reflect the terms you and your landlord agreed upon. Once you have the lease end date, check for requirements for ending the lease early or giving notice to move out.
2. Check the security deposit amount and the amount of rent they are expecting - what does that include (water, sewer, trash and so on). Is the deposit refundable? What date is rent due each month and is there a grace period?
3. Are there utilities included in the rent that will be seperated out in your monthly bill or what can you expect from the company directly.
4. Late and NSF fees are next, also make sure to ask about NSF and if you get one are you also considered late (which is like double dipping on the fees).
5. Pet addendums will vary - so if you do have a pet, make sure you understand how to be a good neighbor. Also understand that City Ordinances will be in affect in the community.
6. Before you sign, you have the right to look at the apartment home and I would suggest doing so - it is always better to note things that you want fixed or don't want to be charged for once you move out before you get the keys. Test drive!
7. Get renters insurance - it is VERY affordable and you may have a landlord that requires it.
8. Enjoy your time in the community - go to events that they hold and ge to know your neighbors!
1. Read the lease in its entirety. If you do not understand a clause ask the landlord or manager. The lease is a contract and you are bound by its terms for the duration. Make sure the things you care about are fair to both you and the landlord. Pay particular attention to what your obligations are if you need to move out of the unit before the end of the lease.
2. Ask if there are rules and regulations governing the residence. If there are, ask for a copy and read them thoroughly. Just for one example, some properties have restrictions on pets. You do not want to be in violation of the rules the minute you move into the property.
3. Don't forget that the lease needs to be fair to both you and the landlord. You are more likely to obtain a concession on one or two items that are really important to you if you are not asking for wholesale changes in the lease document. If you are asking for a change be sure to state your case clearly in a manner that the landlord can understand.
Loan Officer and Realtor
ERA Buy America Real Estate Services
Verify that the landlord you meet is the real owner. There are lots of scams to take your rent money and deposit.
Verify that the home is not in pre-foreclosure. Some owners who know they are going to lose their home, decide to collect rent and deposit and let the new tenant deal with the foreclosure.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I help renters find places and there is no charge for that service.
Barbara Robbins-Olexa, Broker
L B Brokerage
Also, just because it says something on the lease, it does not mean it is necessarily legal or enforceable. For example, a generic lease may say something that is not enforceable in a rent controlled city like Santa Monica.
Tip 1: Know what you are looking for and why.
Tip 2: If you are planning on purchasing in the future...don't spend all of you money on rent. Right now, you most likely will be able to purchase a home for less (or near equal) to what you may pay in rent.
Tip 3: See Tip 1 and Tip 2