Leasing contracts: what to consider
When it comes to leases, they can sometimes be difficult to read, especially if you don’t know what to look for. The landlord makes a lease, and then the tenant (you) signs it. You will see that most leases are for one year. You may find some that are short-term leases, but this is not common. Regardless of the length of the lease you are signing, you need to make sure you read it very carefully to make sure there is nothing illegal.
For most people, reading a lease can be a daunting and somewhat confusing task. But this step must be taken because you have to read the different clauses that are included in the lease. For example, there could be a pet, maintenance, or sublease clause. Be sure to read each clause in the lease carefully and feel free to ask questions or get clarification on anything you are unsure about.
Things to keep in mind when reading a lease
One of the most important things to look for is any clause that tells you that you must pay for all damages or repairs to the property. No matter what state you live in, this is illegal. The property owner is responsible for all damages and repairs to the property. Some examples of the things you are responsible for are structural repairs, appliances that come with the property, and anything to do with heating and plumbing.
Another really important thing to keep in mind when reading your lease is to make sure your security deposit is not part of your rent. Your security deposit is given to the landlord when you move in, and when you move in and the house is still in good condition, the deposit will be returned to you.
You should be sure to review the part of the lease that talks about your utility bills. If you are moving into a house, it is normal that you have to pay for all the utilities. Now this clause can cause some problems. If you are asked to pay for your own electricity and water and you move into a building that only has one meter for the entire building, then this is illegal.
The landlord cannot ask you and the other tenants to split the cost of water and electricity. In this case, you have to pay for those utilities. Now if the building has a separate meter for each unit, then it is perfectly legal for the landlord to ask you to pay for these utilities. Just be careful and be sure to check the status of the meter before signing your lease.
By making sure you are reading your lease, you are ultimately protecting yourself. If at any time you are reading the lease and are feeling concerned or unhappy about something, be sure to speak with the landlord. When both parties are satisfied with the lease, you can sign. A lease is given to protect all parties involved and to make sure there are no misunderstandings along the way.