What are leases?
Leases are standard provisions; after a year a lease goes to a month-to-month basis. The landlord; however, can keep the lease going on a month-to-month basis if the tenant does not give notice a month in advance that they will not be renewing or returning to the apartment once the year is up.
What is a joint lease?
A joint lease is kind of like a corporation in which one person in a corporation cannot be held liable; rather, the whole corporation will be held responsible for the actions of everyone. In the same respect, all roommates are held responsible for the lease, if one person breaks the lease in a three bedroom apartment, the other two roommates are responsible for paying the TOTAL rent.
What is an individual lease?
Each person is held responsible for his or her own actions. For instance if one roommate breaks the lease that person is still responsible for paying their own rent, etc. Most landlords give you the option of a joint or individual lease is make sure you ask if the options are available.
When looking for an apartment what should you do?
- Make a list of your top housing priorities: Thinking through your needs ahead of time can help you find an apartment that meets those needs, instead of one that just strikes your fancy at first glance.
- Check out the property: Really examine the property and its surrounding. Is it well maintained, etc.?
- Talk to the neighbors: Ask the neighbors if they are satisfied with the building’s amenities, management’s responsiveness, and other issues of concern to you.
- Examine the Lease: This is the most crucial point. Read everything before you sign it, and don’t sign it if you don’t understand. Really look over the lease. We know how exciting it may be, but take your time and ask questions if you do not understand something.
- Consider Security: Is the neighborhood safe? Check for any safety concerns you may have.
- Ask about shared facilities: i.e. laundry facilities, fitness rooms, or pools.
- Ask about utility costs: Who is responsible for the bills, and who receives the bills? Does rent cover them or are they separate?
- Take notes and videotape the apartment of any problems that you see before moving in: i.e. a crack in the ceiling or scuff marks on the floor. This is to avoid being charged when you decide to move out.
- Get EVERYTHING in writing: Anything not specifically outlined in your lease should be put into a written document. Without documentation, you have no proof to back yourself up.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord and ask questions: If you’re worried about making a payment or you don’t think you’re going to be able to fulfill the lease terms, talk to your landlord and ask questions before you do anything.