So you found the apartment or rental home of your dreams and you’re just itching to sign the lease? We don’t blame you, finding the perfect property is exciting, however, when it comes to legal papers, you have to be meticulous. Signing your lease may seem straightforward; read the print, the fine print, and then sign. However, you have to be aware, as soon as you sign, you are locked in. So let’s talk about a few things you should know before you sign a lease.

1) Does the lease match what you’ve been told?

Before signing your lease make sure that nothing goes against what you’ve discussed with the landlord. If there are conflicts or the landlord has told you that they will make exceptions for a certain need of yours, have them write it down and attach it to the lease. Doing this will ensure that there are no discrepancies between you and the landlord down the road.

2) Are there additional fees?

Aside from paying rent each month, utilities such as (water/sewer/garbage/electricity) are a huge cost as well. You’ll want to check with your landlord to see if they are included or not before you sign a lease. Make sure to ask and budget so that you are prepared before move-in day! Be sure to reference your landlord’s rent collection policy so you know exactly when rent is due, how to pay your rent, and what fees they charge for late payments.

3) Ask questions and do research!

Is subletting an option or are you bound into the rental agreement for the full lease? Can you paint? Are there quiet hours?

Just because you’ve found an aesthetically pleasing or affordably priced place to live does not mean you should be sold on it. Make sure you know lease termination policies, reasons for eviction, and more. Most importantly, read the whole lease, it may seem redundant and can be full of confusing legal terms, but it is worth it. Moral of the story, always ask before you sign a lease, so you can find a place that will accommodate your needs.

Finding a place that suits all your needs can be hard but it’s worth it to cover all your bases, ask questions, and research. Knowing your lease will save both you and your landlord time and money.  So, take these three steps and go conquer that lease for your dream rental!

PayRent is on a mission to build a rent collection app that fosters a positive and productive relationship between renters and landlords. We focus less on transactions and more on the people behind them.