Signing a lease for your new home is exciting – to say the least. However, whether you’ve only recently left the nest, or it’s not your first rodeo, you may want to hold your horses before you put pen to paper. Oftentimes, leases are written with the landlord’s best interests at heart, most likely with the help of their lawyer.
Of course, this is done in order to protect the landlord should anything go wrong. Unfortunately, it’s often also at the lease holders expense. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why you might want to get the help of an expert pair of eyes on your side.
Review the overall contract with a professional set of eyes
When signing a lease without any expert aid, it really is like gearing up for a solo battle without any armour. It might sound overly dramatic, but if things do go horribly wrong, things could end up in a fully fledged war, which could cost you thousands if you aren’t well-equipped for it.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to prepare for the worst, and to cover every last detail down to a t. That way, you’ll always be able to protect yourself. Lawyers know exactly what to look out for, so you won’t miss anything important. They can also help you to renegotiate the contract to better look out for your best interests.
Check the “market rent” terms and conditions
You’ll want to make sure that your rent is exactly what the contract says it is, and that it will remain that way throughout your contract. Some contracts allow for “market rent,” meaning that at certain points of the contract the landlord may alter and charge more rent, depending on any fluctuations in the market. Unfortunately, this will be out of your control if you accidently sign in agreement with it.
Get a trusted third party to inspect the property beforehand
If you don’t fully inspect the property you will be renting ahead of moving in, you may end up being falsely accused of damaged or missing items. Unfortunately, without any proof, the landlord can pretty much make up anything – of which you’ll be liable to repair and replace. This is why it’s so important to have a third party inspect and take note of the condition of a property beforehand. Be sure to attach this information to the contract.
Define and understand “face rent” and “lease incentives”
Some landlords may choose to offer a lower rental rate for an initial period, as a way to draw you into signing the contract. Although this may sound like you’re the one winning in this scenario, often this isn’t the case. This is a red flag that might look good on paper but in reality, is probably too good to be true. Yes, you’ll be paying less for the first couple months, but best believe that the landlord likely has ways in which they will seek out to make up for those “freebies” later on.
The above are just a few of the many reasons you’ll want a lawyer to review your residential lease. People go out and study property law for good reason. One of those reasons is because leases can be tricky and use complicated, formal language which can be impossible to make sense of otherwise.