Legal Issues & Renting

7 things that should be included in your rental agreement

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When you’re looking for a house or apartment to rent, you likely ask a lot of questions. Getting the answers to them will help you determine if the property is a good fit for you. What your landlord tells you is important, but nothing matters more than getting your landlord’s responsibilities, as while as yours as a tenant, in writing.

Here are seven things you should make sure are in any lease or rental agreement form before you sign on the dotted line:

  • Agreed-upon rent, payment instructions and the term of your lease. This is something you’ve surely discussed with your landlord and this information should be included in every rental agreement, but it pays to make sure.
  • Process for getting out of your lease. Especially if you’re on a month-to-month lease, it’s to your advantage to know how much notice you must give if you’re planning to move out. Be on the lookout as well for any terms that would force you to move out before your desired date.
  • Who covers utilities? Again, this is something you’ll likely review with your landlord before you sign a lease, but you’ll want to make sure it’s clearly spelled out on your lease in order to avoid future disputes.
  • Needed repairs. It’s best to have your landlord make any needed repairs before you sign a lease, but if that’s not an option, be sure to get in writing which repairs must be made and the date they should be completed by.
  • Maintenance responsibilities. Landlords typically assume all maintenance responsibilities unless otherwise agreed to and stated in the lease. Double check the rental agreement to make sure these responsibilities are consistent with what you and your landlord have agreed to.
  • Contact information for your landlord. The lease should also include information on who you should call if you have questions or maintenance requests.
  • Security deposit information. The lease should include the amount of your security or damage deposit and the procedure and date for returning it to you when you leave.

By making sure your lease includes all the necessary information, you’ll help yourself avoid any conflicts that could turn into a black mark on your rental history report.