Your Lease Isn’t Like a Software Licensing Agreement – READ IT!

Friday, January 17, 2014

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Your lease isn’t like a software licensing agreement where many of us click “Accept” at the bottom, without actually reading the contents of the legal agreement. Before you sign your name on the dotted line, you should read your lease very carefully.  Then read it again to be sure you didn’t miss anything the first time.


Why? You’re about to enter into a legal and binding agreement that may have significant consequences for not following the rules and regulations included. This is not a class assignment that you can simply skip or skim over; this is serious business.


Within your lease, you will find information that is extremely important to know. Sometimes tenants break a lease agreement without even knowing it, simply because they didn’t read it thoroughly.


Leah Culler of MSN Real Estate provides some surprising ways you may be violating your lease, without even realizing it:

·         Letting a friend or family member stay at your rental for an extended period of time.

·         Operating your own personal business out of the rental unit.

·         Failure to report household safety issues or damages.

·         Subletting your room without consent from your landlord.


A common problem that many student tenants experience is their deposit being withheld. Quite frequently the reason is because they didn’t read the terms of what must be done prior to moving out, to receive their deposit back. If you sign a lease agreement that specifies you must clean and remove all personal belongings before vacating the unit or your deposit with be withheld, you better make sure you do it. If the landlord discovers you left a bunch of junk behind or did not clean-up the rental, you probably won’t be getting that money back. Also, if you cause damage to the property that is not considered “normal wear-and-tear”, your deposit will likely be used to fix these repairs.


Other important information that you should be aware of is often enclosed within lease agreements as well. For example, utilities may be included in your rent, but with certain stipulations. The landlord may offer internet service at a specific bandwidth limit.  If you and/or your roommates exceed the limit, you would then be responsible for paying the difference to the landlord. This type of exception can become extremely costly, so be sure to read all the details of your lease beforehand!


Finally, and most importantly, keep a copy of your lease on-hand, in case you need to refer to it on occasion. A landlord will rarely have sympathy with the statement, “I didn’t know about that!"

The Team