Lease agreements can seem pretty standard, especially if you’ve rented in Southern Maryland before. But whether you’re an experienced renter or a novice, I think you should read your lease carefully before you sign it.
Why? Like any real estate document, a lease may contain terms that you don’t understand. It also governs how you and your new landlord will relate and what behavior you can expect from each other.
Realtor.com lays out a great list of lease terms that may be unfamiliar to you. Here are just a few of the things you should pay attention to when you read through your lease:
- Access: The landlord will need access to your rental for several reasons, including repairs, inspections, or to show the unit. The lease should tell you how much advance notice the landlord needs to give you.
- Security deposit: Most landlords will require a deposit when you sign the lease. Provided you’ve lived up to the terms of your lease and there is no damage, you’ll get your deposit back when the lease ends. The lease agreement should outline when and how you’ll get the deposit back.
- Rental insurance: Does the landlord require it? Be prepared to show proof of insurance if they do.
- Tenant obligations: This part of your lease will detail what you can and cannot do to the rental and what things you’ll need approval for. Some landlords let you paint; others don’t. Be sure you know what your landlord allows — before you do anything.
Your lease is a legal document. You should read it thoroughly before signing it so you know what is expected of you and what to expect of your landlord. And if you’re confused about anything, have an attorney review the lease with you.
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