How Apartment Leasing Work

by Mary Anne Ragragio

Posted on 2019-09-12 20:17:01

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A lease is a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant, allowing the tenant to use a rental unit in exchange of rental payment. The lease tells how long a tenant can rent the apartment, usually a year. This contract contains details of the apartment, in addition, a lessee or the tenant agrees to follow various conditions about their use of the property and the rights and obligations of tenant and landlord.


In the United States, there are many types of rent payment methods. The most common types of payment are cash, debit/credit card, wire transfer or direct deposit to the bank. It depends on the landlord how they prefer to accept rent payments. Some accept all four types of options. And more landlords use the option using credit cards along with the ability to use online payment.


As a landlord, you have some important responsibilities to your tenants. A landlord is responsible to ensure that the property is habitable, clean and safe to tenants and guests.


The usual items that you can see in a lease agreement are the following:


  • Security deposit. It is the amount of money that a landlord accepts from tenants to protect the property and maybe use by a landlord in case the tenant breaks or violates any of the clauses of the lease agreement to cover if there’s any damage to the property, back rent or other expenses that tenant needs to pay the landlord. All states allow landlords to collect security deposits from tenants. But some states only limit the amount of security deposit that a landlord can only charge their tenants.


  • Utility bills. It will depend upon the lease agreement on whoever will shoulder the utility bills, some landlords shoulder it to have an edge among other landlords. If utility bills are under the landlord’s name and the tenant fails to pay the bills at the end of the tenancy, the landlord may claim it from the tenant’s security deposit to help cover the costs.


  • Early termination of a lease. A tenant must follow the terms until the end of the lease. When a tenant breaks a lease before the term expires, the landlord has the right to collect the payment for the remaining months of the lease. And if without any legal reason for breaking the lease, he may sue the tenant for breach of contract.


  • Limits on occupancy. Remember that it is important that you check first your state and local laws with regards to limiting the occupants in an apartment. You can set a limit on the number of people who can only live in the apartment as long as you act in accordance will all housing laws. 


  • Pets. As a landlord, it is all up to you whether you want to allow pets in your apartment or not. Some landlords do not allow a pet in their rental property because they sometimes cause some damages. If you decide to allow a pet in your rental property, ensure that you include a pet clause in your lease agreement. It is important that before the tenant signs the lease, he/she agrees to the terms of the lease. And if they violate the terms, it will be considered as a breach of contract.


  • Repair and Maintenance. It is landlord responsibility to maintain the rental property and the exterior part of the property well-maintained to provide the tenant with a safe and habitable place to live. It is important to attend to tenant’s repair request as quick as possible. And it is the tenant’s responsibility to advise the landlord if there is any noticeable area that needs repairs before it cause more damage to the property.


  • Tenant is entitled to privacy in their own unit apartment. Landlords have the right to visit the property but must provide or issue a Notice to Enter. The date and time should indicate on the notice. In most states, the tenant should be notified by the landlord at least 24 hours prior to the date and time of the landlord’s visit to the unit property. Whatever reason for the landlord’s entry to their tenant’s unit is just a smart way to protect both landlord and tenant.














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