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Residential Lease Basics: 5 Things to Consider Before You Sign A Lease


Before you even sign your first lease, be sure to know or be familiar with what you’re getting. Sure, it’s inveigling to sign a lease on your new residence or apartment while neglecting most of its potential related issues or provisions. You may reason out that they probably don’t matter since it is only a momentary arrangement anyway.

However, keep in mind that if you disregard any factor, even the littlest one, it can lead to a serious problem later. Of course, problems and disputes do arise, whether you are an experienced or novice tenant.

For that reason, there are things that you need to consider before signing a lease.  For a little help, listed below are five things you need to double-check. Check them out!

The Neighbourhood

More often than not, most people look for an apartment during the day. However, you should also check how is the neighbourhood after dark. Keep in mind that it’s when almost everyone is home,  and the real and valid personality and nature of a community become more clear and evident.

Take a closer look on the number of people entering and leaving the building, the types of vehicles on the vicinity, if people usually flock or come together in the immediate area, and any unusual noise. Moreover, don’t forget to observe any police activities in the area. All of these factors can reveal or suggest the safety and security of the building.

By checking out your potential neighbourhood after dark, you’ll be able to see what kind of life you’ll have in that specific neighbourhood or complex. Other than that, you’ll also be able to know whether it will be agreeable or not with you.

The Parking Area

One of the things that you must double-check is the parking area. Of course, you’d like to have a space of your own so that once you get home, it’d be easier for you to park your car. However, in some areas, especially urban areas, where space is narrow and rigid, parking can be a hassle and dilemma for some tenants.

As such, it’s important to check and learn the total number of vehicles a certain parking lot or driveway can accommodate. Aside from that, you also need to be familiar with the local laws concerning on-street parking.

It’s also important to know what types of vehicles you can place on the driveway or near the vicinity. Say, for example, if you have a commercial or trailer vehicle, like a vehicle with commercial markings, or service specific truck, you will need to determine if you can park it.   

The Documentation of the Property Condition

Is the condition of the property well-documented? Imagine if you are about to lease a car that has a scrape or depression the size of a fist, would you still rent it? Of course, nobody would dare to sign a rental contract without writing down the pre-existing damage. Strictly speaking, don’t ever sign a lease until you make sure that the property is in good condition inside out.

If you have no time to check out the property, consider hiring a well-qualified individual to do a home inspection before signing the contract. Don’t think of home inspection as unimportant and unnecessary. If you do it on your own, be sure to do it with all effort.

By doing a home inspection, you’ll be able to know what works and what doesn’t work and if there are any existing damage for which you’ll have to take note so the landlord will not charge you for them later. You can also ask the landlord to give you a list of items in every room of the apartment or house.

It should contain an itemisation, like electrical outlets, carpeting, door locks, light fixtures, wall-covering, windows locks, and even painting. With the list on hand, you must then make sure that each of them is in good shape.

The Landlord Inspection Clauses

Almost all leases involve some provision that allows the landlord to examine the property once you moved in. However, the conditions and agreement of that inspection clause can widely vary.

With that said, keep your eyes wide open for clauses that allow the landlord to make undisclosed inspections and those that entitle him or her for unlimited visits. You must do your best to ensure that these unexpected visits are wind up on a limited basis, and always with reasonable and proper notice.

The Responsibility

In most cases, the landlord will give you certain assistance, and you’ll be in charge for the rest. Strictly speaking, the landlord will supply only those things listed in the written lease. If you want to add something in the lease, then you will have to work it out with the landlord before you sign the lease.

Adding some other things in the lease might demand a higher rent, so you need to find out if it’s worth the additional cost. You can also seek advice from any legal firms such as Rose & Jones to help you what services you must include in the lease, whether lawn maintenance and pest control.


Most of the time, most lease arrangements or agreements come out just fine. But to be able to have a better odds of a peace-loving occupancy followed by a peaceful exit when you know what things to consider before you sign the lease and move in. Read the guide above to know more.

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