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5 Things to Look for When Signing a Lease

Unsigned Searcy Rental Agreement ContractAmong the greatest oversights a Searcy tenant can make is not thoroughly reading the lease previous to signing it. This is a considerably huge problem owing to the fact that no two leases are identical, and numerous landlords may have things in the lease that you most likely shouldn’t agree to. A lease is a binding legal contract, so providing a certain clause violates state law, you could find yourself basically responsible for anything from unauthorized guests to tree removal. Before you sign anything at all, read the entire lease conscientiously. And, as you read through the lease, watch out for these five things in particular.

1.   Documentation of Property Condition

Prior to signing a lease or moving into a new home, it’s necessary to find out carefully if your landlord has a system for documenting the property’s condition. This is seriously important; if you don’t have some means to document the property’s condition before you move in, you could pay the price. To protect yourself, make sure to ask clearly regarding your landlord’s documentation process and take initiative to report any existing damage before you move in.

2.   Termination Policy and Fees

Some leases cover a specific time period, but as it happens, others may renew on a month-to-month basis. Doesn’t matter which strategy your lease makes use of, it’s significant to grasp well the stated policy concerning terminating or canceling the lease and what fees might be involved. Quite a lot of leases may require advance notice that you’re leaving, often 30-60 days. However, others may demand serious penalties for terminating a lease. For instance, if you sign a 12-month lease but then need to move after six months, your lease may require you to pay a cancellation fee, the remaining rent on the contract, or both. You may, as well, forfeit some or all of your security deposit. Since every lease is different, it’s vital to read these policies attentively and, if you have any concerns or questions, ask and discuss them before you sign.

3.   Roommates and Subletting

One typical misperception about renting a home is that a renter has the right to sublet all or part of their home to others. Although most leases include clauses that strictly forbid renters from doing so. If you had been seriously planning to sublet your home during an extended absence or get a roommate to help you with the rent, you’d need to ascertain your lease thoroughly to be assured that it is authorized. The last thing you need is to be found out illegally subletting your place – that can cause you to be evicted or held financially responsible for any damage your illegal tenant made while staying in the residence.

4.   Pet Policy and Pet Fees

If you are inquiring about a new home for not only yourself but also for a cherished pet, it’s relevant to check out your lease meticulously for your landlord’s pet policy. Striving to hide a pet from a landlord that doesn’t allow them on the property is not a perfect plan–several tenants who try this wind up getting busted. If pets are permitted, there may be additional fees or a deposit required. You should as well figure out if that deposit is refundable if your pet doesn’t cause any property damage. The only exception is if your pet is a service or emotional support animal. In that instance, your landlord must authorize the animal on the property and cannot charge you additional fees. If such is your case, converse honestly with your landlord to prevent any issues in the future.

5.   Cleaning and Other Responsibilities

As you read through the lease, take note of which responsibilities are assigned to whom. In various leases, the landlord will offer quite a few services while obliging you to do others. A few of the common duties mostly (but not always) designated to a tenant include lawn maintenance, light bulb replacement, utilities, and cleaning. Several landlords choose to provide these services and have the property cleaned professionally between tenants. Others want the tenant to do it themselves or work with their own professional cleaning company to get the job accomplished. Either way, you need to know full well what your tasks are and make up your mind whether you are comfortable doing them before you sign the lease.

Finally, it’s vital to take the time to read your lease carefully. Be certain that you have a full grasp of anything, and ask for clarification, whenever necessary. Certain parts of your lease may be negotiable, so if it involves things you don’t prefer or like to do, consider asking your landlord for revisions. You are the one who has to accept the lease terms, in the end, and the more you know, the fewer surprises you’ll run into over time.

Are you in the market for a new rental home? Real Property Management Delta can help! Check out our rental listings online.

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