July 11, 2018

Five Quick Tips About Apartment Leases

It's no surprise that summer is the busiest moving season — the nice weather makes transitioning easier and college students are often relocating to or from new rentals. If you're moving into a new home this summer, it's important to be informed before you sign a rental lease.

Here are five things to know before signing:

  1. Lease terms. A lease is a legally–binding contract between a landlord and a tenant, so it's important to confirm that the terms in the lease match what you have been told. Ask questions about what you don't understand. Read the fine print too!
  2. Termination and extension. Understand the lease termination policies and what is and isn't permissible. For example, what happens if you need to move before the lease term expires? What does it cost to break the lease? Will you lose your deposit? Can you sublet or have someone take over your lease?  Does your lease automatically renew at the end of the term or do you need to contact the apartment manager?
  3. The average rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment in the U.S. is about $1,231 each month.

    Repairs and damages. Physically inspect the apartment before you move in. Make sure everything works and note in writing with the leasing agent any damage and ask to have it fixed before you sign the lease or note it in the lease. For example, are there stains in the carpet, scratches on the refrigerator or broken electrical outlets? Damages not noted at the time of move–in may be charged against your security deposit when you move out.
  4. Policies and rules. Read the apartment policies and rules. Are there noise limitations? Where do guests park? Are pets allowed? Where do you take your garbage?
  5. Additional costs.  Sometimes, water or other utilities are included in your monthly rental payment — but this varies. It's important to note which expenses are included and which aren't, so you are able to factor these additional costs into your monthly budget. Additionally, many apartment communities require renters insurance which protects your personal assets.

Visit My Home by Freddie Mac® for more information on renting a home.