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Understanding Your Lease - Articles Surfing
Leasing agents working on behalf of multifamily housing developers are so accustomed to signing deals with veteran renters these days that when it comes time to sign the lease, you're often just directed to the line that waits for your signature. After all, who wants to read all of that fine print? You've been through the process before. Do you really have to take out your magnifying glass and analyze the text line by line?
Sorry, folks. Yes, you do. Just because you've signed a lease before doesn't mean that they're all alike. You owe it to yourself to look out for your best interests. So take that lease home and read it before you sign it. And don't give in to high-pressure tactics that the apartment "will be gone tomorrow" if you don't sign on the dotted line now. If that's really true, then park yourself in the corner of the office and read the lease thoroughly before agreeing to anything. But by all means, don't sign instantly without reading about your half of the bargain. You may stand to lose more than you gain.
As a renter, you're living on common property and sharing much of your living space with strangers. You're also agreeing to submit to whatever rules have been set forth by the development company or the landlord, in the case of smaller properties. To a certain extent (depending upon the lease), you're submitting a portion of your autonomy over to a stranger, who has written rules which may or may not be in your best interest. Why wouldn't you want to read those rules before you agree to follow them? What renters so often forget is that regardless of whether or not they read those terms printed on the lease before they signed it, those rules are binding once the tenant signs the document. Ignorance doesn't work as a defense.
If you take issue with any of the terms written into the lease, you're more than welcome to attempt a negotiation, although the odds of your being successful are questionable, particularly if you're working with a large apartment developer. You have nothing to lose by trying, however. If you'd like to request an amendment to your lease, draw a line through the phrase that you'd like to change, and clearly make the desired correction. Both you and your landlord or leasing agent must place your initials beside the amendment for this change to be considered binding.
The following areas of your lease could contain red flags, so you'll want to pay especially close attention to these sections:
In an accompanying piece, we'll review several more red flags of which you should be aware before you commit to the terms set forth in a lease. Needless to say, your lease may contain more potential pitfalls than you've ever considered, which sheds light on the importance of reading everything and fully comprehending the agreement in which you're about to enter.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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