Moving into your own place and being on your own is a huge milestone. Your parents are no longer there to hold your hand and you’re financially responsible for yourself. It can be an intimidating process so you need to be more than prepared! Keep the following in mind when signing the lease to your apartment and after moving in.
Signing the Lease
Read the lease agreement carefully and know exactly what’s included. Where is the parking, guest parking and laundry? For how many months is your lease agreement – month to month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year? Are utilities included in your monthly rent payment? Is there a discount if you sign on for a longer lease? Make sure to ask about the security deposit – they can range from a few hundred dollars to the equivalent of 2 month’s rent. If a landlord or management company says “first and last +1 month” that means you need to provide THREE months rent in order to have the privilege of signing the lease! Make sure you know the precise amount of your security deposit and what you need to when you move out to receive your security deposit back at the end of your lease. Understand all this before signing on the dotted line and you will be off in the right direction!
Find Responsible Roommates
If you need financial assistance, then you’ll need to find some roommates to share the rental cost. Make sure your lease allows you to have roommates and choose carefully. Make certain you select roommates that have the ability to pay their rent on time, every month! If they don’t YOU may still be responsible for the entire monthly rental fee. Since this will be a joint lease, you will each be liable for any damage to the apartment that the other makes. Choose wisely!
Find out if there are any additional charges. Don’t assume that everything is covered with your monthly payment. There is usually a parking garage fee or extra charges if you have a pet. Some apartment complexes even charge to pick up your garbage and recycling. Be aware of such fees so that you can factor them into your budget.
Understanding Your Rights
When you rent an apartment, you are entitled to certain things. Each state has a handbook that explains what your rights are as a tenant. Find out what those rights are and be ready to exercise them if necessary.
Breaking Your Lease
Life happens! Sometimes you might have to break the lease. Maybe you and your roommate get into a disagreement or you can no longer afford to make payments. Find out how to get out of the lease if the need arises. Be nice to the landlord and try to keep the landlord or management company on your side. In breaking your lease, you have broken a contract and it could show up on your credit report. Remember that and be professional and courteous with folks who could make life difficult down the road. You could always offer to help them find a new renter!
Ask questions! When in doubt, ask. When you think there is a slight chance that you don’t understand, ask. If you have the ability to sign a longer lease than what they require, ask… For a discount! Just ask! A lease is a legal contract holding you responsible for its terms so before you sign is the time to voice any concerns that you may have.
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The advice on our website and blog is provided as a courtesy and is intended for informational purposes only. It is offered as-is with no warranty expressed or implied. We hope it provides you with helpful information that you can use.