Everything You Need to Know Before Signing an Apartment Lease

Congratulations on your new apartment! Renting an apartment isn’t as detailed a process as buying a house, but there are still caveats and stipulations within a lease that you may not realize or understand. While some items in signing an apartment lease can be negotiated if the tenant’s request is within reason, as the lease term, always review the lease in its entirety. Then, before you put a pen to lease, make sure you get answers to any questions beyond the basics like rent and utilities.

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1. Rent: Total Amount and Date Due

This is typically the first thing you’ve already asked but clarified the final amount. The original amount you were given may be different than the actual amount stated in the lease. If you’re not moving in on the first, will your first month’s rent be prorated? What day of the month is the rent due, and is there a grace period before late fees start? What methods are acceptable for rent payment? Today, more properties are going with the online method, cashier check, or money order. Cash and personal check aren’t acceptable forms for most Apartment Property Management for rental properties.

2. Move-In Cost:

The upfront cost can include a security deposit and one month’s rent in advance. Are there additional fees for administrative purposes, trash collection, etc.? Usually, before your move-in date, you will need to pay these things upfront by cashier check or money order.

3. Is Security Deposit Refundable?

For most rental properties, returning the security deposit is determined by the unit’s condition, if any back rent or fees are unpaid, and if proper notice was given to management as per the lease agreement. Which is another clarification you should get – keep reading.

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4. Is there An Early Termination Policy?

It can be complicated to break a lease, so get a clear understanding now, so you know if a situation arises. In California, there are several laws for excused early lease termination.

  • Active Military Duty
  • Sexual Harassment

Other reasons that are reasonable on the tenant side for early termination but can be declined by the landlord like loss of employment and security deposit are forfeited. It is reflected in your credit report and rental history.

5. Can you sublet your apartment?

If you sublet your apartment, could a lease violation. If you’re considering subletting instead of breaking your lease, explain this to the landlord or property manager. In many cases, they will run the same check on the subletting tenant as they do tenants and allow them to take over the lease. You want to clarify if that person breaks the lease, will you be affected?

6. What is the maintenance request process?

The Apartment Property Management or landlord is responsible for most property maintenance and repairs, and there should be a set protocol for requesting these things. Those that need to be allowed will be the maintenance crew, landlord, or property manager, so enter your property when you’re not home, usually with a 24-hour notice. Others included general maintenance and upkeep like pest control and HVAC services.

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7. What are the lease renewal policy and processes?

In the State of California, most Los Angeles Apartment Management Company rental properties have fees with lease renewal, and the landlord doesn’t always notify tenants for renewal time. Keep yourself a reminder 30 to 45 days before your lease expires and approach the landlord if they haven’t reached out to you yet.

Related Article: Everything You Need To Know To Have A Successful Lease-Up

8. What is the policy on pets?

You may not have a pet currently but knowing what the policy is ahead of time will save you from going through hassles later. Most restrictions are the size, type, and breed of pets, including birds, cats, dogs, fish, or other animals. If your pet is for emotional support, you’ll need to show proof from your doctor this is required. Clarify if pet policy covers pet sitting too.

9. Is There Policy Regarding Guests?

Having a gathering of family and friends is usually acceptable. There may be a policy about having guests that are staying for more than 24 hours or longer. Usually, when guests are on the premises for more than 24 hours, they will need to register their name, driver’s license number, and phone number with the leasing office. Clarify this before signing your lease.

10. What is the policy about redecorating?

Restrictions can vary from property to property. Clarify what is considered redecorating, such as hanging pictures, painting, etc.

About RTI Properties, Inc.

For 30 years, RTI Properties has been a well-respected Rental Property Management Company that offers full-service property management in and around Los Angeles and Orange County. We offer experienced property management services for small apartment buildings and large apartment complexes. We work with rental property owners, keeping the properties up to code and standards.

RTI Properties services include leasing, rent collection, maintenance and repairs, renovation, and more! Our expert staff has streamlined tenant acquisition, provides clear financial reports, and has reduced our current clients’ turnover rate. Your rental properties are an essential part of your income, and we appreciate that here at RTI Properties, treating your properties as if they were our own. To learn how we can help you with our apartment property management services, contact us online, or more conveniently, call us now at (310)-532-9122.

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