Off-Campus Student Services

What to Know Before Signing a Lease

  • Before you sign anything, carefully read your lease and be sure you understand it completely. If you have questions, ask your landlord or realtor.
  • Your lease will define exactly what you can and cannot do while living in your apartment. Once you sign it, you have legally agreed to all its terms. Violating the terms of your contract can put you in a compromising and precarious position.
  • Make sure you get a copy of the lease after it has been signed by you and the apartment's staff. Keep this copy on hand for reference.

Some questions to ask the landlord regarding the lease:

  • Will you return my security deposit when I leave?
  • How long is the lease?
  • Does the lease renew automatically or do I need to request a renewed lease?
  • How much notice needs to be given before I can terminate the lease agreement? What are the penalties if you terminate the lease early?
  • Is parking available and what kind is it? Garage? Parking lot? Street parking? Are there charges for parking?
  • Do you allow children? What ages are allowed? Are there additional charges? Where is the nearest childcare, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, or high school?
  • Are storage facilities available? Are there additional charges?
  • Do you allow pets (and what size/type of pets)? Are there additional charges?
  • Are there laundry facilities in the apartment/rental complex or near the apartment?
  • Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished?
  • Do you permit pictures to be hung on the walls or allow any type of improvements to be made?
  • How, when, and where do I dispose of trash?
  • Is there anything you do not allow tenants to bring into the apartment?
  • How early in advance do you need to know that I will be moving to another apartment?

The safety of your apartment and neighborhood is critical when deciding where to live. We have highlighted some important issues concerning Apartment and Neighborhood Safety.