What You Need To Check For On Your Rental Lease Before Signing

Thursday, December 19th, 2019
moving into new home

Reviewing a lease before you sign it is vital, especially for first-time renters. A lease is a legally binding document that is an agreement between you and a landlord. There are many important pieces of this agreement that you should look for and understand before you sign.

The basics of a rental lease

Before you look for houses for rent, you should become familiar with the basics of a lease. These include a lease term (the amount of time you will be renting), upfront fees like pet and security deposits, rent terms and due dates, late fee information, and deposit return information.

  • The lease term: This is how long you will be renting the house and the exact dates of the term.
  • Fees: This will include security deposits, pet fees, and any advance rent that must be paid. Not all leases have the same fees.
  • Late fees: This will explain how much you will need to pay in late fees and if you have a grace period.
  • Security deposit returns: This section of the lease details the amount you should get back if all goes well and the timeframe you will receive the returned deposit within.
  • Rent terms and due dates: In this section, you will see the exact monthly rent amount and due dates.

If you do not understand a lease, be sure to ask the landlord about it. You can also ask someone you know who has rented before. The most important thing to remember is that you need to be aware of what you are signing.

Other information and clauses in a rental lease

Besides the basic information listed above, there are some other things you will see in a lease. Most of this will be rules about your occupancy and how you and the landlord will interact.

Occupant clauses

In a lease, you are known as a lessee. An occupant is someone else that resides in your home and can also be a co-lessee. A co-lessee can include your spouse, children, roommates, and others. As the lessee, you are responsible for upholding the lease. This clause may also state how many occupants you can have in the home and when you need to tell the landlord they are living there.

Condition of premises clause

This clause in a rental lease has two parts. The first says that the landlord has rented the property to you in habitable condition. If you move in and find that this is not the case, you can legally terminate the lease. Tip: Do a thorough walk-through of each rent home you visit to prevent this from happening.

The second section of a premises clause states your responsibility. Typically, this will be an agreement that says the rental property must be in the condition that you found it in when you signed the lease, not including normal wear and tear. If your landlord finds that you have not done this, they can use some or all of your security deposit to make repairs.

Alterations clauses

These clauses include information about making changes to the rent house. It should state what you can and cannot do, like paint the walls, add appliances, or do renovations. The landlord may be willing to let you change out the blinds but not paint, for example. Tip: To be safe, always ask the landlord before making any changes.

Information about renting with pets

Many renters have pets and will not rent a house that does not allow them. If you are a first-time renter and have a pet, it is vital to understand this portion of a lease. It should include information like pet fee amounts, how many animals you can have, and more. If there is a not a pet clause, don’t disregard the rent home yet. Just ask the landlord to add one in if they are willing and do not sign if they do not allow pets.

Addendums (extra clauses)

These are sections of a lease that go beyond the basics. This could include who is responsible for maintenance, how long visitors can stay, parking information, noise level information, and more. If you are confused or concerned about anything in an addendum, speak with someone who is familiar with leases.

Termination of the lease

This may sound intimidating, but it simply states how the end of the lease will go. It should have information about the end date of the agreement and how soon you must tell the landlord you are moving out. It can also include an automatic renewal clause that resets the lease for another term. Be careful to look for this, as you may owe early termination fees for breaking a lease you didn’t know you agreed to.

Would you like to learn more about leasing a rent house in Amarillo?

If you are looking for a rent home as a first-time renter, the process can seem overwhelming. But, it can go smoothly. To learn more about renting a house, contact Highland Park Village in Amarillo, Texas today. We offer a unique rental experience at great prices! You can reach us at (806) 335-1451 or Contact Us by email for more information. Don’t forget to check out our available Floor Plans, Specials, and Gallery.