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Why You Need to Read the Fine Print Before Signing a Lease

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When you sign a lease for a rental home or new apartment, you are signing a legally binding agreement. Even if you feel your new landlord is fair and will give you the right deal, the terms of the lease are all that will hold up in court should you have a disagreement at some point. In order to avoid a potential costly mistake, you need to read the lease thoroughly. Here are some of the reasons why that fine print could turn out to be problematic later.

Rules for Pets and Kids

You may not have pets or children now, so this may not be on your radar, but what happens if you decide to have a child or wish to adopt a pet? Make sure you know what is allowed. If the lease bans either one, make sure you are comfortable with abiding by those regulations for the duration of the lease term.

Rules About Smoking

Apartment communities are going “smoke free” in increasing numbers. Even though your apartment feels like your own space, smoking leaves behind smells and residue that are nearly impossible to get rid of. If you have a smoking habit, look for rules surrounding this.

Read the Timeframe

Since your lease is legally binding, you need to read the time frame to ensure you aren’t singing up for a two or three-year lease term. If your landlord decides to hold you to the terms of the lease, you are stuck. Even if your landlord says a one-year lease is fine, make sure it is in the contract.

Know the Fees

Finally, read the fine print to ensure you know all the fees associated with the lease, including the fee charged if you break the lease. Emergencies can happen, and you may need to move out because of a job transfer or other life change before you come to the end of your lease term. Make sure you know what you will be charged if you do.

Failure to read all the fine print in your lease can lead to disaster, but the disaster is on you. You are signing your name in agreement, so only do so when you truly understand what the lease entails.