Renter's Guide

Signing the Lease

Table of Contents

Time to Sign Your Lease

Congratulations! Your application has been approved and the landlord has finished preparing the lease for you to sign.

Depending on the situation, you may go through the lease signing with the agent you’ve been working with up till this point or you may meet the landlord face to face with or without the agent. Regardless, be prepared to bring all your paperwork and a bank check to cover the security deposit and either the first month’s rent or the first and last month’s rent.

Remember to also bring a camera or a phone with picture taking abilities. A good landlord should let you view the apartment unit once more prior to signing the lease. This would be a great time to document the condition of the apartment make sure that nothing is damaged. Remember, your landlord expects that you’ll be leaving the apartment in the same condition you found it, so if you notice anything is broken or needs to be fixed, bring it up now with the landlord before you move in and sign the lease.

The Last Mile

Prior to signing, make sure that all the following information is correct and present in the lease:

  • Date for when the lease starts and ends
  • What renewal options are available and how to renew at the end of the lease
  • The correct amount of monthly rent
  • The day of the month that your rent is due
  • The contact information for the landlord (name, address and telephone number)
  • What utilities are included or not included clearly stated
  • Building rules
  • A rent-stabilization rider* (if renting from a rent-stabilized apartment)
  • Any oral agreements you made with the landlord
  • The names for all parties involved are listed and correct

* Occasionally, a lease may come with a rider. A rider is supplementary document added to a lease to provide guidelines for issues such as rent-stabilization, pets, quiet hours, trash regulation, etc.

Last but not least… always be sure to keep copies of all the paperwork that you and the landlord sign. Take extra precaution to double-check everything you’re signing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should be 100% sure of what you’re getting into when you sign the lease.

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