It's been a very long time since I've lived in an apartment but with college age daughters, I've had to re-live a few of the processes and struggles in addition to the excitement of a new place to live. One thing that I've realized is just how important the lease happens to be. If you're reading this and wondering if it's something I've just discovered, no, I'm very aware myself, but since dealing with a younger generation of renters I've found that they may be lacking in information and what to expect when signing a new lease.
The lease signing experience varies, of course, depending on what type of rental you're dealing with...is the landlord an independent person or a property management company? Are you relying on a rental agent to find your new home or are you using your own research tactics? Every situation is different.
Signing the Lease
Most of the time, an application is the first step in renting a new apartment. It usually takes two to three business days for the application to clear. The landlord or property management company is doing their own research on you to find out if you have a criminal record and if you have good credit in addition to your employment and income verification. Above all, if you cannot afford the apartment with a stable source of income, they are less likely to approve your rental application. Some landlords will ask for proof of income directly from the prospective tenant and others will enlist the help of specialized companies that do the work for them, such as Tenantify.
Before signing a new lease, be sure to do a walk-through of the apartment and document the condition of the apartment. It's always a good idea to bring a camera to take pictures just in case there is anything broken or missing, otherwise you may be held responsible as you are expected to leave the apartment in the same condition when you move out.
Included in the Lease
The lease you receive may seem overwhelming, but be sure that there are certain things listed within the document. One of the most important items in a lease is the correct amount of rent. If the lease lists one amount but you understood an different amount, that discrepancy will cause you major headaches. The lease is a legal document and will be upheld regardless of what was verbally agreed upon. Other important items include when the rent is due, which utilities are included, who is authorized to live in the apartment, the pet policy, the property rules and guidelines and the contact information for the landlord. If you think of something that is not included within the lease, be sure to ask before signing. It will save you from a future misunderstanding.
Once again, every lease will vary as will the landlord and employment verification process, but ultimately, the renter should keep a copy of all paperwork included with signing the lease and refer to these documents if any questions arise. Happy signing!