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Reviewing your lease

Making sure your lease covers everything

A lease is a legally binding agreement you sign when you agree to become a tenant in an apartment or house. It's created by the landlord and goes over basic rules of the residence, as well as deposits and fees.

Your lease should contain all the following information. Do NOT consider anything your future landlord says to you verbally. If they don't want to put something down in writing, you should run, not walk away.

  • Day rent is due.
  • Where to pay rent and who should receive it.
  • Late charges for rent not being paid on time.
  • When do late charges begin? (Usually 2-3 days)
  • Exact amount of a deposit needed.
  • How soon after you move out is the deposited returned?
  • Under what conditions will the deposit not be returned?
  • Is there a pet deposit? How much? Refundable?
  • Roommates allowed? What's the policy on adding/removing one?
  • Does rent include any utilities?
  • What appliances/furniture are included?
  • Do you have a 24/7 repairman and security?
  • What happens if I terminate the lease early?

If you have any questions about anything in the lease, feel free to ask the landlord. Keep in mind though, verbal commitments made to you by the landlord are worthless unless they are put into writing.