What to Look Out for in an Apartment Lease

July 24, 2023
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An apartment lease is a legally binding contract that outlines the renter’s and the landlord’s rights and responsibilities. When on the hunt for the perfect apartment, you need to understand what you’re signing to avoid surprises. No one wants to sign a lease only to realize that you can’t have a pet or need to lock into a specific term!

Whether you’re a first-time apartment renter or a seasoned tenant, stay prepared with our checklist of what to look out for in an apartment lease:

  • Lease Term
  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Lease Breaching and Termination
  • Renewing a Lease
  • Subletting
  • Pets
  • Maintenance Responsibilities
  • Property Alterations
  • Renter’s Insurance

Have questions about your lease agreement with Autumn Park? Contact our leasing office for expert guidance and clarification!

LEASE TERM

The apartment lease duration defines your occupancy terms, so it’s vital to review this section carefully. There are two basic types of leases: an apartment lease is a fixed-term lease typically ranging from six months to a year, while a rental lease agreement automatically renews month-to-month.

There are benefits to both. An apartment lease will lock in your monthly rate long-term, which is great if you know you won’t be moving for some time. In contrast, a rental lease agreement gives you more freedom in case your living situation changes. But your rent rate is subject to change more frequently. Ensure that the lease duration aligns with your long-term housing needs.

RENTAL AMOUNT AND DUE DATE

When going over the rent, you’ll need to confirm how much you owe per month, the due date, and acceptable payment methods. Some apartments may charge an additional fee for paying via credit vs through your bank account. You should also confirm the penalties for late payments.

On top of that, check for additional starting or monthly fees. Understand if you need to pay a security deposit or if it can be waived through lease agreement specials like veteran benefits. See if utilities (e.g., water, electricity, internet) are included in your monthly rent or must be paid separately.

LEASE BREACHING AND TERMINATION

Life comes at your fast! Sometimes you might find that you need to break your lease before you finish the full term. Review your lease agreement for the notice period required to end the lease early and any associated fees or penalties. You should also look over the list of circumstances that allow your landlord to terminate the lease.

RENEWING A LEASE

Like at many places, Autumn Park requires renters to sign a one-year lease upon moving in, after which renters can choose to renew month-to-month or select another termed lease.

Read through the lease agreement for renewal policies, noting the time frame when you need to give renewal notice (typically at least two months prior to the end of the lease). You may find that some leases renew automatically unless notified otherwise.

This is also a great opportunity to ask your leasing agent about rent increase policies to ensure they’re reasonable and in line with local regulations.

SUBLETTING

Subletting refers to renting out your apartment to another person for a specified period within your lease term. If you anticipate the need to sublet your apartment in the future, it’s essential to review the subletting policies outlined in the lease agreement. Some properties will require written notice with stipulations while others will ban it outright.

If subletting is allowed, ensure that the lease provides guidelines on creating a sublet agreement. This agreement should clearly outline the responsibilities of all parties involved, including the original tenant, the subtenant, and the landlord. It may include details such as rent payment, duration, and any additional terms specific to the sublet.

PETS

The modern apartment lease often includes pet policies that outline monthly fees and requirements. These differ between properties. Check your lease agreement to see if there are breed or size restrictions for dogs or cats. There may also be limitations on pet species such as birds, reptiles, and more. If none are mentioned, it’s best to confirm with the leasing agent or landlord.

MAINTENANCE RESPONSIBILITIES

The lease agreement should specify both the tenant’s and landlord’s responsibilities regarding maintenance and repairs. A good tenant will notify the landlord of any issues as soon as possible to ensure a safe solution. Understand the procedure for reporting maintenance issues and how promptly they will be addressed. Familiarize yourself with any limitations or restrictions on making alterations to the apartment.

PROPERTY ALTERATIONS

Most rentals do not allow any permanent alterations to the apartment without written approval from the landlord. Some properties may allow wall alterations such as TV mounts, photo mounts, sconces, and even paint. However, you need to review your lease and check with your landlord if you have any out-of-lease requests.

When in doubt, stick to non-permanent alternatives to prevent any property damage and increase your chances of getting back your security deposit.

RENTER’S INSURANCE

Many properties require tenants to purchase renter’s insurance to cover their personal property. If you don’t have your own, check the lease or ask the leasing agent if the property has a preferred renter’s insurance provider you could use. Some leases will require you to purchase renter’s insurance from a specific provider.

READY FOR YOUR NEXT RENTAL

Going over your apartment lease doesn’t have to be daunting—it’s a necessary step to understanding your rights and responsibilities. Of course, if you have any questions regarding legal or miscellaneous clauses, you can always consult the leasing agent for more information.

Now that you understand what to look out for in an apartment lease, plan for your next move! Stop endlessly searching for “apartments for lease near me” and find out why so many tenants love living at Autumn Park at Medford, NJ!

Autumn Park is designed with luxury and ease in mind, servicing you with high-end amenities. Chic apartment appliances and fixtures coupled with an upscale outdoor courtyard and pool make for an unforgettable living experience.

Explore our available units and schedule a tour to see your next home in person!