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To rent an apartment, whether it's your first or your 5th time, is a big step. If you are signing a lease, you must make sure you understand what it means and what responsibility you are about to take. The renting process goes far beyond just paying rental. Read this article to learn essentials of what you must know before you sign a lease.

1 Negotiability

If you are a quality tenant with a solid history of positive rental history, the landlord should consider themselves lucky to have you. Most landlords are willing to give a little to get a great tenant because they'll wind up saving on the maintenance costs, broken leases and empty apartments that bad tenants can bring. So why be afraid to ask what you want? It might be an update for the appliances/furniture, a deduction in rental, or addition/change of the lease terms, it's all POSSIBLE!

But one rule must be followed, during negotiation with landlord if directly with landlord not through agent), it must be respectful, open and direct with politeness. Never bluff, it will backfire and drag you away from the pad of your Dreams.

2 You are stuck the moment you sign at least until the lease is up

A Lease is a legal commitment. You can jump out of lease freely just because you are not careful enough in property visit. You'd better understand what you're getting before you put your name on lease.  After you sign the contract, and if you realize that you actually need more closet space or that the neighborhood is not that nice as you had imagined, it will depend on the level of the kindness of landlord if you can get out without penalty.

3 You can be responsible for damages you didn't do

Well, this is the most unnerving facts at the very end of the lease. Make 100% sure that any preexisting damage such as distains to the carpets or dots on the wall, missing tiles in the shower, anything, that is written into the lease " existing" or you must take the photos and send to the landlord and agent immediately [Clydesdale will do this for you] at the day you move in to protect you from losing security deposit or being charged of damage fees when you move out.

4 What's included and what's not

What?! Isn't the TV subscription fee included? Before you sign a lease for an apartment, make sure you understand what is included in the rental and what's not. Make sure you are aware exactly what you need to pay during your stay in your apartment, such as management fee? Tax (Isn't landlord responsible for this), TV? Internet? Utilities? Cleaning? Parking? And keep in mind that these have limitations such as Internets speed or TV channels.

Don't assume anything's included in your rent -- some landlords require tenants to set up and pay for all these things on their own. Before signing a lease, ask your landlord or management company exactly what is -- and isn't -- included in the monthly rent rate, so you're clear about how moving there will affect your monthly budget and lifestyle.

5 Costly Customization

If you want to paint the walls into colors you feel more comfortable with, at least you need to have your landlord aprrove it, and very importantly, in written. This also goes with when you want to put a nail on the wall for hanging paintings. These acts are easily redeemed as " Damage of the property" and you will be fined, and mostly likely in a unreasonable rate.

6 Pet policy

If the tenants include any "for-legged fur-balls", find our what kind of animal you are allowed to keep (if any.) If you want to smuggle pets into the home and if the special tenant scratches any part of the property, you just get ready for the damage penalty or pray for landlord won't find what it did. And even the landlord allows you to keep pet, you might also need to find out what regulations that the city and the compound holds about the breeds or weight limitations of the pet.

7 Open up your EYES and find out the unequal items!

The lease might be pro-landlord that there might be several pro-landlord articles that hidden in the contract such as whether it will automatically renew if you forget to give written not-to-renew notice, or allows next tenants to visit the apartment during end of the lease.

8 Termination Clause

Read (don't skim) the lease-termination section of your rental agreement so you understand what will happen if you need (or want) to move before your lease expires, as well as how much notice you will need to give if you decide not to renew your lease. You could lose your security deposit or be held legally responsible for the remaining months' rent, even if you are forced to relocate or you lose your job.

9 Not-on contract items

Before signing, make sure that your lease incorporates all the issues and amendments that you have verbally agreement with landlord regarding any improvements, preexisting conditions that you don't want to be held responsible for and any revisions to policies set forth in the standard lease contract. You might have hand-shaked with your landlord, but don't think he won't change your mind.

Protect your self by making sure everything is all spelled out in the lease. Something you might think it for granted, but if it's not on lease, it's open talk and not binding.



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