A Guide to Renters Contracts  

A Guide to Renters Contracts

The rental contract you will need to sign when you choose to rent an apartment will be a legal agreement between you and the landlord, usually called a lease. Never agree to oral renters contracts. Make sure everything is in writing, and always read everything (especially the fine details) before you sign your renter contract. If you do not understand something that is in your contract, ask about it and get it cleared up before you sign your name. You might want to bring a copy of the contract to a legal expert for review before you sign it.

A renters contract will usually state the length of the contract (usually one year), that you will not harm the apartment, your neighbors, the lawn or area, and that you will pay your rent on time every month in the amount specified.

Some renters contracts are fixed term agreements. A fixed term agreement will state that you will be allowed to remain in the apartment for a specified period of time. It should state the beginning date (when you can legally move in), and the termination date (the day you need to move out). If you wish to stay in the apartment there should be something in the renters contract that states you can renew your contract before the time is up. A fixed term renters contract will probably include a fee if you need to terminate the contract before it is up. It can be quite difficult for the landlord to find another tenant to replace you, and they will probably charge you for leaving before your lease is up. Make sure you find this statement in your renters contract and agree to it before signing. There may be a page in the contract that lists viable reasons to legally terminate the contract early for specific reasons without penalty of a fee. Most renters contracts are fixed term agreements, usually one year in length.

However, some landlords are more flexible and use periodic agreements that are usually a monthly agreement. This means that you will not have to wait months before you can terminate the contract if you need to. You should be able to terminate your renters contract in the next month, only waiting a few weeks or even days. A periodic agreement does have its downside though. While it is lenient with the leasing agreement between you and the landlord, because it is usually a monthly agreement your landlord has the ability to raise your rent on any given month. If you do need to terminate your periodic agreement give your landlord at least fifteen day’s notice before you do. And you should still get a selection of renters insurance quotes as you need to insure your property even if you are only renting.

There are many apartment rules that are necessary and lawful. Unfortunately, some will try to add unlawful agreements in your renters contract. Be wary if you find any of the following in your contract:

A statement saying that you will pay the landlord’s legal fees if you find yourself in a dispute with the landlord.

A statement that says you will not get your security deposit or prepaid rent back without proof or evidence of any violations.

A statement saying that the landlord has the right to take your items if you do not pay rent.

Yes, there are some landlords that will try to get away with such despicable terms. Do not let them. You do not want to rent an apartment with someone like this, so you should move on to the next possible apartment.


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