Lease agreements should protect the interests of all parties involved. Since different proprietors in Scranton, Pennsylvania have different rules for their properties, it is important never to sign a lease agreement without evaluating it. While you can always terminate a contract, it can be expensive and inconvenient. You should take your time when evaluating a lease agreement, regardless of how fast you want to move into a new place. What mistakes should you avoid when signing such an agreement?
Failure to Read the Agreement Carefully
You have to familiarize yourself with what you are getting yourself into. Ensuring that the lease covers all the basic information helps avoid unpleasant surprises later. While most tenants rarely violate tenant rights, you should be sure that their rules are acceptable. In case the agreement for a studio apartment lease, for instance, has unclear clauses, you should ask for clarifications before signing it. If possible, seek the help of a friend or family member with enough experience. Hiring a lawyer also helps.
The law requires proprietors to make a variety of disclosures to potential tenants. Some of these include notice of lead-based paint, notice of mold, any recent deaths that happened in the unit, and notice of sex offenders living in the locality. The excitement of moving into a new place should not make you ignore important disclosures. Understand that different states have different requirements regarding disclosures. Familiarizing yourself with your local disclosure requirements helps you know what to expect.
Overlooking Renewal and Early Termination Policies
Most proprietors offer 12-month leases. Afterwards, renters commit to another 12-month lease or month-to-month payments. If you prefer staying in one unit for more than 12 months, you should choose among proprietors that offer renewal. Checking the renewal clause is important. Most property owners do not allow early termination. However, it is not impossible. Get to know what will happen if canceling the contract becomes unavoidable. Some leases require tenants to forfeit all the money they owe on the agreement.
Ignoring Subletting and Roommate Rules
Do not assume that you will be at liberty to bring in a roommate or long-staying visitor or sublet your unit. If you have plans to rent out your unit whenever you are away, or if you plan to bring visitors over regularly, ensure that you will not be breaching the contract. Most proprietors are flexible regarding temporary leases. If subletting is not allowed, can you move out early if you find another individual to take your place?
Failure to Ask About Pet Policies
Some places have a no-pet policy. Others require you to pay a fee to keep one. Understand that some have restrictions regarding the types of pets and pet breeds one can keep. If you have a piglet, for instance, ensure that the place does not restrict tenants to dogs or cats. If you have an aggressive breed of dog, ensure that it is allowed.
All proprietors have unique types of leases. Ensuring that your potential proprietor’s lease works for you helps avoid unnecessary confrontations later. Since some property owners allow for negotiation, you should try it.