For many people, leasing an apartment can be a major milestone in their life. Maybe they’re moving out of their parents’ house for the first time. Or maybe it’s not such a happy milestone - maybe they’re entering a divorce and need to find a place of their own. Whatever the reason, leasing an apartment can represent a new chapter in your life, and if you do it the right way, you’d be amazed at just what a convenient, easy option this is for living, and why it’s one of the most flexible ways to live. Let’s take a closer look at all the basics of leasing an apartment and find out why.
First, let’s explain what a lease is: it’s essentially an agreement, in advance, to rent an apartment for a certain period of time. Although you’ll be paying monthly rent on a leased apartment, you can expect that you’ll be committed to this monthly rent for what is typically around a year, though each lease can have its own different time commitments. While you don’t have to make payments in advance, you’ll definitely want to make sure you can afford all of them when the rent is due because that’s the commitment you need to make when signing a lease.
When signing a lease, that commitment can sometimes require a “co-signer” in order to help the people or company that own the property to ensure that they’ll get all of the money you’re committing to the apartment. Having a co-signer on the lease is great if you’re the one who needs help, but deciding whether or not to co-sign someone else’s loan can be a very difficult decision indeed. Typically it will be done amongst family members: your parent, your grandparents, etc. Sometimes it will be done amongst friends and colleagues - but if a friend or colleague fails to make good on a lease, suddenly the co-signer is responsible for lost money.
Leasing an apartment means you’ll have a set move-in date and a set move-out date, and in between you’re essentially responsible for keeping the apartment clean and tidy, not destroying any of its assets, and keeping on good terms with the neighbors. Although the apartment owner technically owns where you’re living, they will typically give you the leeway of basic privacy and not intrude unless you’re late on a rent payment.
At the signing of a lease, a deposit is typically made so as to ensure that any damage done to the apartment doesn’t come out of the apartment owner’s own pocket - if you damage the apartment, they’ll typically have the damages come out of that security deposit. If you keep the apartment in good condition, you typically get the deposit back in full, depending on the little tweaks and changes needed to be made to the apartment because of your stay there.
A good apartment lease means no loans and no major commitments, which is great if you’re not sure about your job situation or simply want a more flexible way of living.
An Apartment Lease Agreement is a written contract between a Landlord and a Tenant in which the Tenant agrees to rent out the apartment property in question for an extended period of time. A “lease” is different than a rental in that it not only tends to last longer, but also contains a number of responsibilities for long-term care by the tenant. In turn, the landlord will also be responsible for certain provisions of the contract.
An Apartment Lease Agreement is different than a Residential Lease Agreement in terms of its specificity; whereas a Residential Lease Agreement can include just about any type of residential property including homes and duplexes. An Apartment Lease Agreement focuses on the leasing of an individual apartment, typically as part of a much larger apartment complex.
When working with contracts, specificity and attention to detail are important. While a Residential Lease Agreement is comprehensive enough to apply to just about any type of residential situation, the Apartment Lease Agreement is specifically crafted for issues surrounding renting an apartment. A Residential Lease Agreement is still useful as a multi-dimensional tool for anyone renting out different types of residential property; an Apartment Lease Agreement’s specificity is desirable for any landlord specifically running an apartment complex.
The language of the Apartment Lease Agreement, as well as the topics it covers, are what separates an Apartment Lease Agreement from other types of residential lease contracts. For example, a Commercial Lease Agreement will have provisions that only apply to renting out office space; an Apartment Lease Agreement similarly is written for a specific situation. Issues like Quiet Enjoyment (which you’ll read about below) are more prevalent in an Apartment Lease Agreement than they would be in another type of residential lease. In other words, an Apartment Lease Agreement is focused on the complexities of the apartment living arrangement.
There are plenty of provisions that, if you’re familiar with Residential Lease Agreements, you’ll be used to. However, there are a number of provisions that have a unique application to apartment living that you’ll want to be aware of, including:
Of course, the entirety of an Apartment Lease Agreement pertains to each apartment’s special provisions, so they should not be ignored. But it is worth looking at some of the most important and unique aspects of the agreement in order to learn what the form contains.
Yes. Because each state has its own rules and regulations for governing residential apartments, it’s important that you use the appropriate form to conform to these regulations. Typically, doing so is as simple as ensuring that you are using the right contract from the get-go.
Those who own or manage property are often looking for ways they can add to or customize a contract like an Apartment Lease Agreement in order to make sure that their own agreements best match their intentions. This can certainly be arranged, particularly if you download a legal form that sets forth a space for additional terms.
Traditionally, these additional terms apply to parking issues, the management of balconies, the use of bicycles, pets (though pets are also often included in earlier provisions), furnishings, and more. If you are a tenant who is still reviewing an Apartment Lease Agreement on your own you’ll want to pay close attention to these added terms as they may be of relevance in your apartment building. Additionally, these additional terms may actually constitute the bulk of your unique responsibilities in renting from the landlord in question.
In order for contracts to be signed and then considered valid upon signing, it is important that the two parties pay each other “Consideration.” This simply refers to the fact that both parties should receive some sort of compensation out of the agreement; this basic force of contract law ensures that one person cannot become, essentially, an indentured servant to the other. Both parties must be adults, and the landlord signing the contract must have authority to rent out the apartment.
The contract becomes effective as soon as it is signed; then, the individual dates and terms of the contract take over. Both parties will be expected to live up to each of their duties in the contract; if one party does not live up to their side, they may have little recourse to take in terms of legal challenges against the other party.
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