Before signing a lease its important to understand what you are signing. Here is a basic break down of a typical residential lease agreement using a California Apartment Association Lease Agreement as reference.
The first page of a lease will stipulated some basic structures of the lease. Such as the address of the premises, who the tenant and landlord are and how long the lease will be. It will detail any deposits or fees associated with the rental of the premises. Make sure all names and the address is spelled correctly.
Security Deposit– do you understand that you may or may not get your full deposit back? Is the amount on the lease what you agreed to pay?
Utilities– do you know what you are responsible for covering and have you factored in how much cost it will add per month?
Prohibitions– look at this carefully, have you agreed to have a pet on the premises or maybe a grill in the yard? Make sure its written in as part of the lease.
Repairs and Alterations– understand that any alterations might cost you your deposit at the end of the lease, unless you restore the premises back to it’s original condition. Click here to find out basic repairs a renter should know before signing a lease.
Acceptance of Premises– have you done a walk through yet? Click here to learn how.
Subletting and Assignment– understand that subletting is often prohibited.
Breach of Lease– understand that any act breaking or failure to observe the lease can result in the termination of the lease.
Sale of Property– In the event of a sale you might be asked to sign an Estoppel Certification. An estoppel is a document verifying that you as the tenant have no claim to the property. Under this section of the lease you will be required to fill and sign an Estoppel if the property is under contract to be sold.