Leasing Tips

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.