If you live in a renter's market, you owe it to yourself to get the most out of your experience. According to census data, there are more than 20 million rental properties in the United States today. It means that there are plenty of property managers available that can offer you a renters agreement.
Renting a home or apartment is a big commitment, so it's essential to understand your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
What should you know about a tenant agreement before signing? These tips will give you a head start on the information that'll help your decision.
The Length of the Lease Agreement
Start by getting to know the lease length that you're signing up for.
Landlords might offer month-to-month leases, year-long leases, or other terms. But, of course, once you sign the lease, you're locked into the terms, so never bite off more than you can chew.
Landlords typically offer a default length but may be open to negotiation or other options if you ask.
The Rent Price
Before renting an apartment, determine how much you will pay each month. There's typically a baseline rent price, but the property manager might also include additional fees for parking, pets, or other fees required by the municipality.
Knowing your total price will help you budget and take care of all your household expenses and bills.
When Rent Is Considered Late
The lease agreement will also spell out when your rent is considered late. Property managers generally make rent due on the 1st, which is due on the first of the month most of the time, but there's typically a grace period of a few days.
Typically, you will have until the 3rd or the 5th to pay your rent. After these dates, you might be responsible for a $50 or more late fee. Find out the cost of the late fee that you're on the hook for if you pay it after this date.
Accepted Forms of Payment
Next, learn the forms of payment allowed for your monthly rent payments. For example, your property manager might allow online payments with debit cards, credit cards, and checking accounts.
They may also allow other forms of payment like personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders, and other digital transactions. Consider whether there are any fees for certain forms of payment, and make sure you know who checked and money orders should be made out.
Learn About Subletting
Subletting refers to renting your property to someone else while you're locked into a lease. People do this for several reasons, such as moving while the lease is up but not wanting to break the contract.
Many renter's agreements include subletting clauses, which determine whether you can rent the property to someone else or if it's forbidden.
Review these clauses thoroughly to avoid any unexpected consequences should you bring in tenants of your own.
Find Out What Utilities and Repairs Are Included
Learn who is responsible for utilities like electricity, natural gas, and water. The property will pay some or all of the utilities in many cases. In other cases, the tenant is responsible for everything.
Make sure to find out who is responsible for necessary repairs and maintenance. The law typically requires property managers to cover important repairs, and they will have a certain amount of time to take care of them.
How You Can End Your Lease
Ask the property manager about any early termination policies. It's always best to have an out clause so you're not tied to a property you can no longer live in because you're moving or taking a job opportunity elsewhere.
The property might require you to pay a fee to get out of the agreement, so find out exactly what it takes.
Details Related to the Property
Each property may also have information in the lease related to its amenities, property structure, or other specific details. For instance, the property might have a pool, fitness center, or other amenities open to tenants.
Misusing these amenities may be grounds for a lease violation, so find out what the agreement says about it. You may also have some obligations about how you're expected to take care of your balcony or patio or other points of information related to the rental.
Find out upfront so that you can avoid some costly mistakes.
Check the Deposit
You will typically have to pay a deposit before moving into a rental property. It is generally at least a month's rent. The property manager will hold onto your deposit so they can use it if you fall behind on rent, break the lease, damage anything, or incur other costs.
Check the deposit amount and also find out what you must do to receive it back at the end of the lease when you move out.
Learn Your Renters Agreement Before Signing
When you sign a renters agreement, it's not just the rental figure that matters. Make sure to read through the whole agreement from start to finish, including any special conditions of the tenancy.
Pay attention to any clauses and ask your landlord about anything you need help understanding so there are no surprises down the line. It will help you be a responsible and informed tenant, so you can enjoy your new home without reservations.
You can also rely on Safe Butler for all of your renter's insurance needs. Reach out to get a quote on a policy today.
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