Learning to Decipher an Apartment Lease Agreement

Learning to Decipher an Apartment Lease AgreementIt can always be a stressful experience – finding an apartment to rent, going over the apartment lease agreement to determine that all is as it should be, and actually establishing a positive business relationship with the landlord. It can take quite a lot out of you. For those going through their first rental, being presented with a 35-page document that your typical apartment lease rental is, can be a stressful experience all on its own. Most people get so put off with this fat document with pages of dense print that they just wish they could get to the part where they are asked to sign and get on with it. It could help your peace of mind though to really familiarize yourself with what exactly it is that they talk about in such detail in all those pages.

You are only going to be presented an apartment lease agreement if you make the cut and are accepted out of a group of applicants. About the best tool that your landlord has in weeding through the applications he has received is the good old background check. The only problem there is that background checks cost money. If you are applying to lease an apartment, be sure that you’re ready to put down a $50 background check fee. It isn’t something that is paid back, and it’s just something you have to chalk up to the cost of renting. Once you do get to the stage where you are presented with a lease agreement, you do have to read everything in it, as much as every instinct in your body screams at you to skim through and pretend you understand. While most of it may be boilerplate that’s standard language for all such contracts, a landlord can easily insert something nonstandard in there. If they do this, you’d want to know about it. Most of the time, you aren’t given the opportunity read through it at your own leisure. You have to do it right there if you are to not lose your chance at renting the apartment. There’s a little pressure, but not much.

Not only do you want to know about everything that’s in the apartment lease agreement, you also want to know about the stuff that’s left out. If the landlord’s been careless drafting that agreement, remember, you’re the one who’s in the vulnerable position; it would be in your best interests to bring up the missing points and have them included. In large cities, landlords will often use a standard contract drawn up by the city’s Rental Housing Association. They’ll present it to you along with a list of added-on conditions and rules. The problem with this is that you’ll find a lot of stuff on the contract that doesn’t apply to you at all. Whatever you find doesn’t apply to you, you should really take the time to cross out. If there is a problem down the line, you don’t want these things brought up to muddy the issue.

Whatever you do, make sure that you completely get what the apartment lease agreement says in the matter of the rent you must pay, what to do about the utility bills, and what the rules are about how many people are allowed to stay. You also want to know how much notice you stand to be given if you are asked to leave. It’s also important to make sure that the contract spells out in detail everything about who is responsible for all repairs and damage and how quickly the landlord is obligated to respond to any complaints. People hoping to be given an apartment lease are often in a position where they feel really grateful for the chance they have. This is not the time to hang back and try to not be seen as demanding. It’s a business agreement that you need to live with for good long time.