Read Before You Sign
Leases are usually signed for a set period of time. Before you sign a lease, read it carefully. Make sure the following items are correct on the lease:
- Property address
- Lease start date
- Lease end date
- Rental rate
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 costs money. You will pay more if an apartment is close to campus or has features like on-site parking, allows pets or has laundry hookups.
- Think about the extra costs besides rent. This includes electricity, heat, water/sewage, gas, trash, internet and parking.
Sample Questions to Ask
- Are there fees to pay before I move in? (e.g. application fee, security deposit)?
- When is rent due? Is there a grace period? How do I pay rent? Are there late fees?
- How far away is the apartment from campus?
- Is on-site parking available? What does it cost?
- What utilities (heat, water/sewage, electricity, gas, trash) are included in the rent?
- Do you know how much the average monthly electric/gas bill costs?
- 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 in the apartment?
- How close it is to the grocery or convenience store?
- Are there rules about guests?
- Is renters insurance required?
- How do I renew my apartment? Do I need to give notice if I don't want to renew my lease?
- Can I cancel my lease before the end date? If so, how do I do that and how much will it cost?
- Can I sublet my apartment?
Dos and Don'ts Before Leasing
Do the Following
- View the apartment if you can. You may be able to do a virtual tour.
- 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 before you sign.
- 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 are allowed to have them.
- Check if you have maintenance responsibilities like snow shoveling or grass cutting if you are renting a house.
Don't Do the Following
- Assume you will be able to get out of your lease early, sublease or change roommates.
- Sign a lease with an automatic renewal clause if this would not apply to you.
- Sign a lease that gives the landlord unlimited access without giving notification. The exception would be in cases of emergency.