Renting a home is usually a rite of passage almost everyone goes through at some point in their lives. While the vast majority of people experience normal to pleasant interactions with their landlords and face absolutely no problems with their rental agreements, other people can face nightmares. Unfortunately there are some people out there in the world who will take advantage of you if they can, and the best way to combat that is to know your rights when it comes to rental agreements. Everyone needs a home, and you need to know that you are safe and secure in that venue to feel like it is a home.

Four things to keep in mind before signing a lease

It is important to remember that until you sign your lease, you are free to discuss and negotiate with the landlord. But once that lease in signed, you will have to accept the rental place for what it is. For example, say there was a broken lock or a broken window. Ask to get hose fixed before you sign the lease to ensure that you are moving in to a place both comfortable and hassle free. Here are four other things to keep in mind before signing your lease:

  • Read the fine print: It does not matter if you trust your landlord explicitly or you think you are too tired to read your rental agreement – you must absolutely check and recheck everything in it. Make sure everything is inputted properly and ask for clarification for anything you do not understand. Rental agreements also mention what kind of bills you will be paying for that place, so make sure those are right. You do not want to move into a place thinking that you do not have to pay the water or internet bills only to find out that you do have to pay after all. Most importantly, no written and signed contract means no lease. You should never base your decision to move on a verbal contract, because frankly, there is no such thing as a verbal rental contract. For your own security, insist on a written contract and keep your own signed copy of it.
  • Make sure everything is in paper: Have a mold infestation in your home and bought the hardware goods yourself? Keep the receipt and show it to your landlord to get money back for it. If you have asked him to fix a light around the house, ask him to write it down so there is an existing proof of the agreement between you two. Especially important if they said they would fix something after you sign the lease, make sure they write down that they will do it. Besides, keep all written records of your stay there, especially you rental receipts.
  • Ask about lease termination: Most rental leases last the whole length of the term, usually one year before they have to be renewed. While some rental leases can be renewed automatically, others require you to consult the landlord. In some places you need to inform the landlord within a stipulated time frame whether you are moving or not, to not incur a fine. It is better to know exactly what policies regarding lease termination your landlord follows before signing the agreement.
  • Check to see how you can decorate: If you want to hang up a picture or your favorite poster from home, there is a chance your landlord might not be too happy about it. In most places, you can hang up decorative accessories as long you return everything to the state it was in when you first moved in. It is much safer to know from before than to risk losing money from your deposit fee.

Moving into a new place can be stressful, especially depending on how much luggage you have. Make sure above all else that you can actually fit into an apartment. Checking out the location at night is a good way of knowing if the locality is secure. If you are renting in an apartment building, remember to ask what the community policies are to not risk inadvertently making a mistake.