Signing a lease can be a very exciting time, it can also be a little scary, especially if you don't understand what you are reading. Here are some quick tips on what should to look for in a typical rental/lease agreement.
Usually a rental agreement/lease should include the phone number & address for the management company and/or landlord. It will also define which property is being rented. The rent amount, late fees, fines, as well as length of the lease will all be explained.
It is important to understand what type of notice should be given in different circumstances. The lease will define how much, or what kind, of notice needs to be given for things such as moving out, terminating the lease, management entry, showings, etc.
Who pays for what?
The lease will explain who is responsible for repairs and their expenses. It is important to pay attention to additional expenses that you may be responsible for such as inspection fees, lightbulbs, filters. Additional fees, such as utility charges, pet fees, etc. will be identified.
Who is in charge of paying for what utilities? Do they need to be in your name? Is the owner paying any of them? What can happen if you don't pay for one of the utility bills. All this will all be defined within the lease.
Who Signs it?
Anyone who signs the lease is equally liable for the lease agreement. This means that the full amount of the lease must be paid. If one person on a lease (multiple signers on one lease) decides not to pay their portion, everyone on the lease is still liable for the whole amount.
There is a lot more detail that goes into your lease agreement. If you don't understand something, be sure to ask the manager about it.
Take time to thoroughly read your lease carefully because, once you sign, you are legally bound to the terms set within it.