Know Before You Rent

What to Know About Rental Agreements Before You Sign

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First-time renters often are so excited about living on their own – no parents in sight – that they often don’t carefully review the lease agreement prior to signing. What all renters should know is a rental agreement – or lease – is a contract. It specifies exactly what responsibilities the landlord has, including maintenance and upkeep of the property, as well as the responsibilities of the renter.

Breaking a lease from a renter’s point of view can result in serious consequences like being evicted and having the action show up on a rental history report. And from a landlord’s point of view, a renter can take a landlord to court in an effort to stop rental payments if he doesn’t maintain the property as agreed upon in the lease.

If a court case does result from a disagreement between a landlord and tenant, the lease agreement will be the first document reviewed to determine what agreement has already been reached. This is why it’s so important for renters to review this document carefully before signing and moving into the new home. When reviewing a lease agreement, renters should address any concerns about the agreement and if a new agreement is reached between the parties, get this in writing prior to signing.

First-time renters usually move on to bigger and better apartments as they grow their careers and increase the size of their families. Those who plan to rent for many years will want to keep their rental history report clean by avoiding  eviction or criminal records, because future landlords will review these reports to determine if the tenant is a good rental candidate.

First-time renters should also check their rental history report prior to applying for an apartment, and make certain it doesn’t contain any erroneous information that could result in a landlord denying an application to rent.