A Checklist For Reviewing Rental Leases – Part II

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on February 19, 2007 under Landlord Paperwork and Forms | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

It is of vital importance for both landlords / tenants making a checklist of things to be thoroughly reviewed before signing or having a lease signed. A contract, one should understand all the clauses contained in the lease, including how they will impact one. Since, a lease is a contract, it is possible to negotiate changes to it, and if it is a pre-printed lease form, all the more reason for reviewing it very carefully, as there may be clauses that probably weigh heavily in favour of a landlord. Always, best to have a lawyer review it, before putting your signature on leases and contracts. He / she will be able to point out illegal provisions, or explain how others work, whether they are favourable or unfavourable to landlord / tenant, including suggesting changes and additional terms. The next step is to ensure the following:

  1. Clauses in the lease relating to terminating a tenancy should be reviewed carefully. One should be aware of how much advance notice is required to be given to the landlord, and whether if you do not give notice on time, is the lease automatically extended for another term.
  2. A tenant should also be aware of the consequence of holding-over i.e. not moving out on time.
  3. It is also important to check your lease to see it does not contain a ‘liquidated damages clause’ that says if the lease is broken, then automatically you are under obligation to pay the landlord a stated sum of money. On his / her part, a landlord does not have to prove the actual monetary damage caused by the breach of contract, and is a provision that is very unfair to the tenant. In case, your lease contains such a clause, ask your landlord to remove it before putting your signature on it.
  4. Knowing rent due dates is also important, whether there are late fees, whether there is a grace period after the due date to pay rent, without triggering late fee charges.
  5. As well, you must know the security deposit requirements i.e. whether the state you live in asks for deposit to be returned with interest, including an itemized statement of deductions from the deposit, and if your lease reflects this requirement.

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