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HOW TO READ A LEASE

A lease is a rental agreement put forth by the landlord and signed by the tenant. Most leases have several clauses which can be confusing and hard to understand. While you may want to sign the piece of paper and move into your new home it is critical that you read your lease properly before signing on the dotted line. Take some time to read through every single clause and ask questions if you are unsure what is meant before you sign a lease.

What to Expect on a Lease

Regardless of how many leases you have signed and how many places you have rented, every single lease is different. Even if you believe you have seen it all, you need to read over every single detail thoroughly.

A lease will discuss the rules and regulations of renting that house or apartment including things like rental price and length of the lease. Lease agreements also outline specific details of living in that complex or unit such as rules for common areas, restrictions in occupancy, repair and replacement costs and damage deposits. Some of the main clauses on a lease include a pet clause, which will outline whether or not you are allowed animals in the home, an event of termination clause, which will discuss what will happen if you need to break the lease ahead of time, a loss/damage clause, which will explain what happens in the event of damage to the building and a repair clause, which will explain the rules in the event of a repair that needs to be done. Other clauses on leases include a notice clause, a right of entry clause, a subletting clause and a regulations clause. Your lease may include different wordings, phrases and different clauses depending on where you live.

Lease Provisions

Discussing a lease with your landlord can be fairly boring but it is critical that you listen to what he is saying. In some instances you will be asked to go over the lease there with your landlord while in other instances you will be able to take the lease home, read through it and bring it back signed or not.

If you are unhappy with anything outlined in the lease, bring it up with your landlord now, before you sign anything. You may be able to bargain with your landlord to change the rent amount or the length of time in some instances. You and your landlord may want to add a deal, such as you will mow the lawn each month in exchange for $50 off your rent, which needs to be written into the lease before you sign it.

When reading your lease, make sure you pay attention to every clause. Some of the biggest concerns for tenants include the repair clause as well as the utility bills clause. A landlord is required to pay for all repairs to ensure that the building is up to code standards. The only time a tenant should be responsible for paying for any repairs is if he broke it. For example, if you threw a house party and put a hole through the window, then you will most likely need to pay for it.

In terms of your utility bills, if you are living in an apartment it is standard that the landlord pays for the gas and electricity unless each unit is individually metered. It is against the law for a landlord to require you to pay utility bills that are not split up between each renter. When you read your lease agreement, check out every single clause and bring up any concerns now, before it's too late.

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