Signing a Lease:

It is of the utmost importance that you do not sign a lease just to secure a place to live. If you are being pressured by a landlord to sign a lease, kindly ask for time to read and review the lease so that you can understand all of the terms and requirements of the lease. It is often a good idea to also have a parent or other trusted individual read over the lease before you sign.  A lease is a legal document, and once you sign the lease, you are legally accountable for all the terms contained within.

Things to Consider: Questions to ask yourself before signing a lease.

  • Has the Landlord provided contact information on the lease?
  • What are the move-in and move-out dates?
  • Is there a lease renewal date/clause?
  • How much is the rent, and when is it due?
    • What is the penalty for late payments?
  • Is a deposit required? If so, how much is the deposit?
  • Can the tenants sublease the apartment or house?
  • Are there guest restrictions?
  • Does the lease explicitly address conduct rules for the rental property(i.e. parties, outside furniture, fire pits etc.)?

What is a Security Deposit?
A security deposit is a deposit of money to be paid by the tenant and held by the Landlord during the length of the lease agreement. The deposit can be used to cover any unpaid rent or damages you might cause during your tenancy. The security deposit does not give the tenant permission to damage the property, and depending on how it is stated in the lease agreement, damage to the property could result in an eviction from the property.  Be sure the lease is clear about the terms of when and how you will receive your deposit back.  Be sure you understand how damages could affect your lease.  To help increase the amount you receive back, complete a walk-through with the landlord before you move in, take pictures, and complete a Move-In Checklist.

Tenants’ Rights
While living off-campus, you may find yourself in a situation you may not know how to handle. The Cleveland Tenant’s Organization can assist you and your roommates in addressing concerns about and to your Landlord. Please visit their website for any and all questions concerning your rights as a tenant. As always, it is of the utmost importance that you read your lease agreement before signing.