First of all, understand that you are "approving" the lease - meaning that there is still time to make changes.
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!