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Signing a Lease What You Should Know HIDDEN TRAPS!! 2. Penalties for Late or Missed Rent

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signing a lease

Signing a Lease

What You Should Know

hidden traps
HIDDEN TRAPS!!

2. Penalties for Late or Missed Rent

[I once had a landlord who insisted that, if his tenants were late on rent even once -- or if the check bounced -- all subsequent rent payments would have to be made with certified checks. This would mean a trip to the bank every month and the bank\'s fee for issuing the check. Fortunately, my roommate and I caught this in the fine print prior to signing and persuaded him to change the proviso to two late payments before dropping the axe, so to speak. You, too, should take note of the penalties for missed and late rent. Is there a fee? Will they report you to the credit bureau? Also, is there a grace period?

1. The Monthly Due Date for Rent Checks

I highly recommend knowing when your landlord expects to receive your rent check. Timely payments ensure a favorable impression -- something which you may need in the future if you apply to an apartment that requires references from previous landlords. It\'s also a good idea to know the due date, so you can avoid------

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3. How to Break the Lease

Sometimes and oftentimes unexpectedly, we need to break the lease. So, always be on the lookout for the clause in the lease that explains any penalties for breaking the lease. Be wary of any conditions that require you to pay rent until the landlord finds a replacement. If your lease has this clause, be sure to find out if your state requires landlords to make all efforts to find a new tenant. And if they don\'t, you\'ll definitely want to know what limitations, if any, there are to finding a new tenant.

4. Subletting

Don\'t assume that you\'re allowed to sublet freely to anyone you want. The building belongs to the landlord, so it\'s ultimately up to him or her whether their tenants can sublease the unit to a third party. If you think you may want to sublet in the next year, then be sure to find out if you\'re allowed to.

5. Unusual Fees

Some landlords charge fees for special circumstances or the use of building facilities. There are pet fees, key deposits, gym fees and parking garage fees. So your budget doesn\'t start blowing up, I recommend finding out about these beforehand and questioning any that seem unreasonable to you.

lease essentials
Lease Essentials

1.Names of all prospective tenants.The lease binds only those whose names are listed. You don\'t want to be stuck taking responsibility for everyone, in case something should happen. So check that all names, including those of your roommates, are listed.

2.Address of the apartment. This means the address and apartment number.

3.Amount of rent.The lease should indicate how often this amount is paid (weekly, monthly, etc.).

4.Security deposit.The amount of the security deposit should be stated

5.Start and end date.This represents the duration of the lease, which means the agreement is only active for this period.For leases — the length of time that the lease will be active, specified as the start and end date. This means you\'re obliged to pay rent and the landlord cannot rent this unit out to another during this period.

For month-to-month rental agreements — the agreement should stipulate that the period is month-to-month and indicate how much notice must be given before moving out. Should the landlord decide to rent to someone else, he or she must also give this same notice to you.

Both the tenant and the landlord must sign the lease. The lease is not valid if only one party signs.

how to sign a lease
How To Sign A Lease
  • Submit an apartment application.
  • Not all landlords use apartment applications. Typically, only property management companies, who lose out if the apartment is taken off the market, require an apartment application.
  • Individual landlords most likely won’t have you submit an application.
  • Pay an application fee (if any).
  • When submitting the application, you’ll also pay a non-refundable application fee (also known as the application deposit). If you decide not to sign the lease, the application fee will not be returned to you. If you do sign the lease, the fee will either be returned or go into your security deposit.
  • Give the landlord the okay to perform a credit check.
  • The purpose of the credit check is to check out whether you pay your bills on time. The landlord will ask you to pay the amount to cover the cost of the credit check and ask for your social security number. Or you can submit a copy of your credit report, which you can obtain prior to looking for apartments. Please note that many landlords consider a tenant with no credit history to be just as undesirable as one with a bad history.
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Review the lease.

  • While the landlord checks your background, you should spend time to review the lease. If the landlord does not give you a copy, ask for one. This is your time to look over this legally-binding document or have an attorney review it.
  • Set the signing date and obtain the checks to pay the rent, security deposit, and broker, if any.
  • As soon as the landlord accepts you, obtain two certified checks or money orders--one for the rent and one for the security deposit.
  • Negotiate and sign the lease.

Tips:

If you have all the necessary information--credit report, reference letters, and cash to pay rent, security deposit and broker fees--you could sign the lease the same day you look at the apartment. Traditionally, such speed-renting is done in competitive markets such as New York City and during times when many people are looking (such as after graduation).

What You Need:

credit report OR social security number and money for the credit check fee

reference letters from previous landlords OR the landlords’ contact information

money for the application fee

money for rent and security deposit

money for the broker, if you use one

bag or folder to carry all of this and to carry your new apartment lease home

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Submitted by:

Justin Dewey

Currier RA 07-08

University of Iowa

Sources:

http://www.about.com

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