You’re all excited about having your own apartment and the freedom you’ll have! But remember what you’re getting yourself into. When you sign a lease, you’re making a contract that comes with rights and responsibilities.
To make sure your experience is a positive one, find out as much as you can before signing the lease.
1. Signing a Lease if You’re Under 18
If you’re under 18, your landlord is allowed to ask for some guarantees to make sure you can pay the rent. For example, your landlord can ask for references and your permission to do a credit check.
Your landlord an also ask your parents or guardian to guarantee that they’ll pay the rent if you don’t.
2. Paying the Rent: Learn the Rules
The law has specific rules about paying rent. There are some things landlords aren’t allowed to do. For example, they can’t ask for a deposit when the lease is signed, except for the first month’s rent. Also, they can’t increase the rent during the lease.
3. Your Responsibilities: Find Out What They Are
When you sign a lease, you take on many responsibilities. These are a few examples:
- Keep the apartment in good condition.
- Allow the landlord access to the apartment in some situations.
- Make small repairs.
- Pay the rent.
4. Pets Are Allowed – Sometimes
Landlords are allowed to prevent you from having a pet in your apartment. They can state this in the lease or in the rules of the building.
Read your lease carefully and ask your landlord’s permission to have a pet in order to avoid problems.
5. Breaking Your Lease: Only in Special Situations
You can only break your lease in special situations. Here are some examples:
- The apartment isn’t fit to live in.
- You’re a victim of spousal or sexual violence.
- You’re moving into low-rent housing.
There are also situations when your landlord can break the lease.
Important! As a general rule, leases are renewed automatically. So if you want to move out, you must give your landlord notice. It’s a good idea to know the steps for renewing a lease.