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The importance of reading your lease

Apartment lease
Apartment lease

Renting an apartment can be exciting. You've found, hopefully, the place you want to call home. This experience, however, can turn into a nightmare if you're not careful.

One way to ensure that your rental experience is a good one is to start by reading (and understanding) your lease. There are several parts of the lease that are important: start/end date, when is rent due and where to send the rent payments, pets, things included in the rent, and terminating the lease early. In short, your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

1. Start/end date: Increasingly, many apartment communities and landlords are starting leases on the first day of a month and ending them on the last day of the month. This doesn't mean you have to move in on the first, in fact, you can move in any day that you want; it just means that your lease will start on the first day of the following month. This leads us to when is the rent due.

2. Rent: One of the most important parts of the lease is rent. You want to read your lease to know how much your rent is, when is it due, and where to mail or drop off the payments. Does your landlord offer a grace period? When is rent considered late? How much is the rent fee? That information will be in the lease.

3. Where to pay rent: Not all landlords accept payments in person. Know where, and in what form, to send your rent and make sure to send it out in enough time to avoid a costly late fee. Find out if you can setup automatic rent payments online or through you bank, this way, you can ensure that your rent payment will get to where it needs to go on time, every time.

4. Pets: In general, the lease will state how many and what breed of pet is allowed, and what deposits or pet fees you need to pay.

5. What's included in the rent: Your lease will tell you what, if any, utilities are covered; what amenities, such as gym, pool, business office, etc. are included in the rent.

There are many other sections of the lease, but these are some of the main ones, and if you pay attention to them, you will have a great time in your new apartment home.

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