May 31, 2018 | Share
Getting Your First Apartment? Here's What You Need to Know About Leases
If you are getting an apartment for the first time, you should be aware that signing a lease can be a big commitment. You'll be bound by the terms of the written lease, and if you do not follow the lease agreement including paying rent as promised and not engaging in prohibited behaviors, you could be evicted from a rental property. Eviction goes on your credit report and is very damaging to your credit. It's also costly as you could end up in court and the landlord could get a court order requiring you to repay lost funds.
Because signing a lease means you're obligated to comply with lease terms, it is helpful to have a Boston tenant lawyer review any lease agreement you are thinking of signing. Your attorney can help you to understand the lease terms and know what you are obligated to do. If a problem arises and a landlord accuses you of breaking a lease, it's also important to be represented by a Boston tenant lawyer to protect your credit history and reduce the chances of a court finding for the landlord and against you.
What to Look for When Getting a Lease for Your First Apartment
Before you sign a lease for your first apartment, some of the key things to look for in the lease include:
- The length of the lease: You don't want to be locked into renting an apartment for longer than you plan to live in the area. However, you also want to make sure you have a lease to protect you from rent being raised or from you being asked to leave your home before you're ready.
- The amount of rent you'll owe: Find out how much you will have to pay each month for the rental unit and make sure that the rent is affordable. Find out when the rent is due each month so you can ensure you pay it before the deadline or at least before the end of any grace period so you don't incur late fees.
- What other costs you're responsible for: You'll want to know if the rent includes your utilities or what other expenses you may have to pay for such as water, sewer, and electric.
- What restrictions there are in the lease: Pay attention to the rules set forth in the lease regarding the rental space. For example, are you restricted in the number of guests you can have overnight or in who can live in the apartment with you? Are there rules regarding noise or whether you can sublease the apartment or whether you are allowed to have a pet? You need to know exactly how the lease governs your conduct so you can make sure you're willing to abide by its terms.
A Boston tenant lawyer can help you to determine if there are other clauses that should be in your lease and can help you to negotiate lease terms with your landlord to protect your interests. Contact an attorney before signing a lease or as soon as possible if you become involved in a dispute over the lease with your landlord after moving in.
Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information