Nothing compares to the excitement of renting your first apartment. However, before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to understand the terms of your lease and what is expected of you as a tenant, and the landlord's responsibilities. Here are a few simple questions you should ask the apartment manager or landlord before signing the lease on your apartment.
What Is the Length of the Lease?
The most common lease is a one-year lease. Meaning that when you sign the lease, you are responsible for paying rent every month for one year. Other leases work on a month-by-month basis. This is ideal for someone who is renting an apartment for a short time, such as less than six months to one year. If you are looking for a more permanent situation, it is best to sign a lease that allows you to remain for at least six months to a year.
What Is Included in My Rent?
Your landlord or property manager will be transparent about what is included in your monthly rent. For example, some properties will include the cost of electricity, garbage and water service, and lawn care. It is important to consider what is included in the monthly rent costs when creating a final budget and determining if you are able to afford the apartment.
How and When Is the Rent Paid?
The monthly rent for the majority of apartments is due on the first of the month. Depending upon the lease agreement, you may be able to have a grace period of a few days if you are having temporary financial issues. The rent can typically be paid by check or credit card, or in some cases, you may have the ability to have the rent electronically taken from your bank account.
Do You Have a Policy About Guests?
This is an important factor that many renters overlook. Some rental companies have a strict policy about how long you are able to have guests in your apartment, such as one to two weekends a month. The rental company has this policy to ensure that you do not have someone living with you who has not signed the rental agreement.
Am I Required to Obtain Renter's Insurance?
Finally, some property owners and landlords require you to show proof of renters insurance before signing the lease. This will not only protect them in the event of a burglary or damage, it will also protect you and allow you to file a claim if your apartment is burglarized or if there is a fire or another natural disaster.
Before you sign on the dotted line, there are several questions you should ask to ensure you understand all the terms of your lease agreement.