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When you’re looking for a new place to rent, it’s important to be aware of the potential red flags in a lease agreement. These are clauses that could put you at a disadvantage or make it difficult to get out of the lease if you need to.
Here are some of the most common lease agreement red flags to watch out for:
- Early termination fees: These fees can be very high, and they can make it difficult to leave the lease if you need to move for a job, family, or other reasons.
- Pet restrictions: If you have a pet, make sure the lease allows them. Some landlords have strict pet policies that could make it difficult to keep your furry friend.
- Security deposit: The security deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent, but some landlords ask for more. Make sure you understand how the security deposit will be returned at the end of the lease.
- Lease term: The lease term is the length of time you’re obligated to stay in the rental unit. Make sure you’re comfortable with the term before you sign the lease.
- Late fees: Late fees are common, but make sure they’re reasonable. Some landlords charge exorbitant late fees that could put you in a financial bind if you’re ever late on your rent.
- Utilities: Some landlords include utilities in the rent, while others don’t. Make sure you know what’s included before you sign the lease.
- Parking: If parking is important to you, make sure the lease guarantees you a parking space. Some landlords only offer parking on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Maintenance: Make sure the lease specifies who is responsible for maintenance. If the landlord is responsible, make sure there is a clear process for requesting repairs.
If you see any of these red flags in a lease agreement, it’s important to negotiate with the landlord or consider looking for a different rental unit. By being aware of the potential red flags, you can avoid getting into a lease that could cause you financial or legal problems down the road.
Here are some additional tips for avoiding lease agreement red flags:
- Read the lease carefully: Before you sign anything, take the time to read the lease carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
- Get everything in writing: Once you’ve agreed to the terms of the lease, make sure everything is in writing. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings down the road.
- Trust your gut: If something doesn’t feel right about the lease, don’t sign it. There are plenty of other rental units available, so there’s no need to settle for one that has red flags.
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