Leasing Tips

Read Before You Sign

Many landlords will require you to sign a lease for a specific length of time. Before you sign the lease, read the document carefully. Make certain the following items are correct on the lease:

  • Date the lease is to begin.
  • Date the lease expires.
  • The correct rental rate.
  • Information regarding the return of your deposit
  • Grounds for termination of the lease agreement.
  • Penalty for terminating the lease prior to the end of the lease period

Consider the Following Before Renting

Determine what features are most important to you Before you start looking for an apartment.  Keep the following in mind:

  • Convenience comes at a cost.  You will pay more for amenities or close proximity to campus.
  • Your monthly housing budget includes more than just the rent.  Factor in utilties (electricity, heat, water/sewage, gas, trash), internet and parking.
Below are some sample questions to ask when looking for an apartment:
  • Are there fees to pay before move in? (e.g. application fee, security deposit)?
  • When is rent due? Is there a grace period? How are payments made? Are there late fees?
  • How far away is the apartment from campus?
  • Is off-site parking available? Does it cost anything?
  • What utilities (heat, water/sewage, electricity, gas, trash) included in the rent?
  • What the average utility bill has been for the apartment?
  • Are there laundry facilities in the unit, in the building or close to the apartment?
  • Is the apartment air-conditioned?
  • What kind of flooring is included in the apartment?
  • How close it is to the grocery or convenience store?
  • Are there rules about guests?
  • Is renters insurance required?
  • What is the renewal process? Will I need to give notice before moving out?

Do the Following Before Leasing

  • View the apartment if you are able to do so.
  • Visit the neighborhood at various times of the day, night, and weekend.
  • Read the lease and make sure you understand it.
  • Obtain a copy of any rules and regulations in addition to the lease, before signing.
  • Have all promised repairs written into the lease and signed by landlord.
  • Keep a copy of the lease along with any additional rules.
  • Know the rules about pets, if you will be bringing one.
  • Check maintenance responsibilities, when renting a house.
  • Know the penalties for breaking a lease if applicable.

Don't Do the Following Before Leasing

  • Assume you will be able to get out of your lease if you plan to stay less than the lease term.
  • Presume that you can sublease or change our roommates.
  • Sign a lease with an automatic renewal clause if this would not apply to your situation.
  • Sign a lease that gives the landlord unlimited access without giving notification, an exception to this rule would be "in cases of emergency."