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5 Things to Look for When Signing a Lease

Unsigned Palatine Rental Agreement ContractAmong the most serious mistakes a Palatine tenant can make is not thoroughly reading the lease in preparation for signing it. This is a major problem given that there are no two leases exactly resembling each other, and various landlords may add things in the lease that you shouldn’t agree to. A lease is a binding legal contract, so as long as a certain clause doesn’t violate state law, you could find yourself responsible for anything from unauthorized guests to tree removal. Before you sign everything, read the entire lease meticulously. And, as you read through the lease, watch out for these five things in particular.

1.   Documentation of Property Condition

Prior to ever signing a lease or moving into a new home, it’s relevant to see if your landlord has a system for documenting the property’s condition. This is greatly important; if you don’t have an effective way to document the property’s condition before you move in, you could pay the price. To protect yourself, always remember to ask thoroughly about your landlord’s documentation process and take appropriate actions to report any existing damage before you move in.

2.   Termination Policy and Fees

Various leases cover a specific time period, however, others may renew on a month-to-month basis. Heedless of which option your lease uses, it’s vital to grasp well the indicated policy relating to stopping or canceling the lease and what fees might be involved. A lot of leases may require advance notice that you’re leaving, often 30-60 days. Though others may enforce serious penalties for terminating a lease. As an example, if you sign a 12-month lease but then need to move after six months, your lease may require you to pay a cancellation fee, the remaining rent on the contract, or both. You may further forfeit some or all of your security deposit. Since every lease is different, it’s essential to read these policies carefully and, if you have any concerns or questions, settle them before you sign.

3.   Roommates and Subletting

One typical misperception about renting a home is that a renter has the right to sublet all or part of their home to others. But as a matter of fact, most leases include clauses that strictly forbid renters from doing so. If you had been seriously planning to sublet your home during an extended absence or get a roommate to help you with the rent, you’d need to figure out your lease conscientiously to know for certain that it is approved. The last thing you need is to be discovered illegally subletting your place – that can cause you to be evicted or held financially responsible for any damage your illegal tenant made while dwelling in the residence.

4.   Pet Policy and Pet Fees

If you are in search of a new home for not only yourself but for a pet, it’s imperative to check your lease completely for your landlord’s pet policy. Aiming to hide a pet from a landlord that doesn’t authorize them on the property is not the best plan – the majority of tenants who try this end up being caught. If pets are acceptable, there may be additional fees or a deposit required. You should additionally validate to ascertain if that deposit is refundable if your pet doesn’t make any property damage. The only exception is if your pet is a service or emotional support animal. In such a case, your landlord must approve the animal on the property and cannot charge you additional fees. If you are in this kind of situation, address this honestly with your landlord to prevent any difficulties.

5.   Cleaning and Other Responsibilities

As you read through the lease, take a clear note of which responsibilities are assigned to whom. In a lot of leases, the landlord will contribute various services while calling for you to do others. Most usual duties oftentimes (but not always) given to a tenant include lawn maintenance, light bulb replacement, utilities, and cleaning. The majority of landlords do choose to provide these services and have the property cleaned professionally between tenants. Others assume the tenant to do it themselves or find their own professional cleaning company to get the job carried out. Either way, you need to know clearly your obligations and decide whether you are comfortable carrying them out before you sign the lease.

In the end, it’s essential to take the time to read your lease carefully. Make certain that you truly get a good grasp of everything by asking for clarification. Certain parts of your lease may be negotiable, so if it consists of things you don’t like at all, consider asking your landlord for revisions. You are the one who has to go along with the lease terms, ultimately, and the more you understand, the fewer surprises you’ll run into eventually.


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