Landlords typically want all adults who will live in the rental unit, including both members of a couple, to sign the lease or rental agreement. Doing this makes everyone who signs responsible for all terms, including the full amount of the rent.
The landlord isn’t the only one who benefits when everyone signs on the dotted line. If you have roommates, you’ll want them to understand that they are bound by the landlord’s rules on guests, noise, pets, and so on, and that one roommate’s serious transgression can result in the ouster of everyone.
Before signing, be sure of the following:
•Establish a good relationship
Being polite and professional is the best way to develop a relationship with a prospective landlord and to create a successful rental negotiation. The way you conduct yourself during a property visit and in phone conversations is a reflection of you as a tenant.
•Think of your first visit as an inspection
Before signing a lease, make sure you really put it to the test. It’s important that your new home meets all of your criteria for function, safety and comfort.
The goal of the inspection is to identify all potential issues before signing the lease so that you can address these with the landlord.
•Document any existing damage prior to moving in
Once the landlord has given you the option to rent the apartment, make sure to document any pre-existing damage before signing a lease. If there is anything that the landlord did not agree to fix from your initial visit inspection such as stained carpeting, broken blinds or missing tiles in the shower, make sure this damage is documented in your lease as pre-existing.
•Know what’s included
Some rental properties include utilities, cable and parking within the monthly rental cost, while other properties do not. This can impact your monthly budget and make an otherwise affordable apartment, not so affordable.
•What’s Your Out Clause?
It’s important that you read the lease termination section of your lease agreement carefully so you understand the implications of breaking your lease early and your obligation of notice when you choose to move out at the end of a lease term.
•Get It In Writing and Read Every Word
Before sealing the deal and signing your name on the dotted line, be sure that your lease agreement incorporates all the points you’ve discussed with the landlord around any improvements that have been guaranteed, any pre-existing conditions and any revisions to policies that may be set forth in the standard lease agreement.
Make sure you sign the lease or rental agreement at the same time as the landlord and that you get a copy then and there. This assures both sides that no changes can be made after only one party has signed.