6 Things to Consider Before Signing a Residential Lease

Finding the perfect home or apartment to rent is always exciting. Once your application is approved and you’re given the lease to review, your head is probably spinning: Should the sofa face this way or that way? Should I hire movers or get a group of friends to help me? Will all my clothes fit in the closet or will I need to buy a chest of drawers?

While these are all fun things to think about as your anticipation for moving grows, it is very important to remember that the lease you’re about to sign is a legally binding contract. It’s absolutely essential to carefully review it before signing, and to make sure you understand it and it reflects everything you have discussed in person with your landlord. 

Before signing your lease, you’ll want to give some serious consideration to the following things:

  1. Who’s responsible — you or your landlord?

The lease should clearly state who has which responsibilities to do with the house or apartment unit. Who is responsible for paying the utility bills? Who will maintain the yard? Who will pay for any necessary repairs? Who is responsible for pest control? Here in Illinois, it’s also essential to know who is responsible for snow removal.

  1. How much advance notice do you need to give the landlord if you are moving out at the end of your lease?

Do you need to give 30 days notice? 60? You don’t want to end up needing to stay or pay rent longer than you intended when you are ready to move.

  1. How much would it cost if you broke the lease?

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Maybe you’ll be offered your dream job two months after moving, only to find out it’s located on the other side of the country. Make sure you understand how much of the rent you’ll need to pay in a situation such as this.

  1. Are you required to have renter’s insurance?

Some landlords require you to have renter’s insurance while others do not. Either way, it’s a great investment that can really protect you in an emergency.

  1. How and when must you pay rent?

Before signing the lease, you should understand what payment method your landlord prefers and what date rent is due. What will happen if you pay late? Will there be fees? It’s important to be aware of this up front so it doesn’t come as a surprise later.

  1. Are you allowed to make personalizations?

If you like to decorate, make sure you have a good understanding of which types of changes are and are not allowed. Some landlords will allow you to paint the walls as long as you return them to the original color before you move out.

Who can help me review my lease?

The attorneys at Auricchio Law Offices have extensive experience practicing real estate law and more in Illinois. We provide legal services, including lease review, with integrity and creativity. Give us a call at (907) 375-0750 to learn more about how we can help you. 

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Auricchio Law Offices

Auricchio Law Offices in Chicago provides a complete range of real estate services. We facilitate residential and commercial real estate transactions, advise and represent condominium associations, and represent property owners in real estate litigation. Whatever your real estate issue, we will work diligently to achieve your goals in a timely and efficient manner.