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UNDERSTANDING LEASE OBLIGATIONS

There are several aspects of a lease that can appear foreign at the outset to those who have not viewed one in the past. Because individual leases vary widely from one property management team to the next, there is not one solid set of obligations that will universally be spelled out in this important document. Even though that is the case, you may find it very useful to acquaint yourself with some of the more commonly named obligations so that you feel more confident when you review a lease with your potential landlord. Most landlords are straightforward and do not include questionable stipulations in lease agreements, but it is best in any case not to sign a document with lasting implications unless you feel comfortable with your independent knowledge pertinent to it.

One practice that will help you feel more comfortable with leases, and place the obligations contained therein in context, is to compare various ones before signing. This is always a wise idea and should be considered part of your overall process of comparative shopping among apartments, townhomes, duplexes, houses, or another type of rental property. You will have your unique needs and desires when it comes to lease obligations. By checking around, you will ensure you do not agree to a stipulation against your wishes when something more agreeable could be just around the corner.

Time Obligations

The most commonly talked about aspect of a lease agreement is that of the time you agree to live in the residence. There are some rental properties, primarily those owned by a single landlord rather than a property management team, that do not require a written lease agreement. However, in most apartment complexes or townhome communities you contemplate, the lease agreement will be a staple of the living arrangement. One way the landlord or property manager can protect himself or herself is by ensuring that you agree to rent the unit for at least a certain period of time.

Typical time lengths associated with lease agreements include one year and two years. These are satisfactory lengths for many tenants, especially those who are moving to a new area for work and therefore plan on staying for quite a while anyway. At the same time, many renters strongly prefer to go with a shorter lease period, and there can be many practical considerations for this. For instance, college students who live away from home but always move back to their hometowns for the summer may feel very uncomfortable committing to a lease that lasts for an entire year. This is one of many reasons to carefully compare a variety of lease agreements, ensuring that you do not sign a less than ideal one when you do not need to.

Lifestyle Obligations

There are some fairly standard obligations set forth by a lease agreement, such as how to dispose old furniture. These can include stipulations concerning tobacco use indoors, noise level during the day, noise level during the night, ways in which you are permitted to modify the apartment, and much more. Where you are allowed to park, and how many parking spaces are designated to your apartment or other rental unit, are often spelled out in the lease as well.

Understanding lease obligations is achieved primarily through carefully perusing a lease that has been proposed. If you have your heart set on a particular rental unit but feel uncomfortable with a certain obligation, whether it pertains to the length of the lease or another factor, do not hesitate to ask your potential landlord if it is a negotiable stipulation. Doing so will also help you evaluate what your relationship with your landlord may be like.

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