While leasing a property offers a number of advantages for young couples just starting out, it can also become a hassle if conditions of the lease are not clearly defined. Savvy renters should consider their short- and long-term needs in negotiating a lease renewal that is fair and equitable to all parties.
Review Rental Rate
Compare your renewal agreement to the original lease agreement you signed and decide if anything in the wording needs to be changed or altered. Consider researching the rental rates of similar properties in your area as part of the process. If you find significantly lower rates are available elsewhere, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent rate.
Review Length of Lease
Typical leases are for one-year terms, but if you plan to move before that, consider asking for a shorter lease period. If you are unsure where your job may take you in the coming year or if you have other concerns about your ability to stay in the same location for the length of the lease, ask for flexibility in the length of the lease terms.
If your rental property needs paint, carpet cleaning, or other maintenance or repairs, outline your needs in the verbiage of the lease agreement. Most leases describe the amount of maintenance the leasing agent is willing to do, but if you have specific requests, they should be noted as part of your renewal contract.
Terms and Conditions
Review the terms and conditions of your rental agreement and decide if you want to contest or revise any of the provisions. For example, if your original lease designated one parking spot for the property and you are planning to buy a second car, you may need to amend that particular condition. If the lease specifies no pets, but you want to get a dog, inquire as to whether that can be negotiated as part of the lease renewal.
Payments and Deposits
Chances are you paid a security and/or cleaning deposit when you signed your original lease agreement. Make sure your lease renewal indicates that the initial deposit will carry over into the new lease. The same applies to any prepayment of rent you may have made at the beginning of your lease agreement.
Double-check the wording in your renewal contract to make sure the landlord has not inserted any new terms or conditions that didn’t exist in your previous contract. Consider the value of having a legal professional review the document prior to signing to ensure you know what you’re getting into.
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