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"Understanding Your Lease"

It’s time to sign the lease and there is one less thing to worry about with your impending move – right on! If you don’t understand something in your lease at the time of signing, ask questions. Ask lots of them. This is a binding contract, guys.

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Your Name and Birthdate

Not all leases will have your birthdate on it, but if it does, you will want to ensure that your birthdate and your first and last name are all correct. If it’s not, request the landlord to type up a new lease, or cross it out in one solid line, write it the correct way, and have both parties initial.

 

Start & End Dates of the Lease

You will want to make sure the start and end dates written in the lease are accurate. Typically the start date is the first day of the month. Some management companies start the date of the lease on the day you are scheduled to move in. The end date should always be the last day of the month. It would really suck if you are homeless on October 31 because your lease end date was October 30 and you cannot move in to your new apartment until November 1. True story.

 

Notice Period

Almost all property management companies require a written notice to vacate the apartment – with most notice periods being 60 days. If you are lucky, you get to provide a 30 day notice. Keep in mind that most management companies require you to be out on the last day of the month at 12 noon and not one second later or hefty hourly charges thereafter may occur. The reason you need to be out by noon is so the landlord can start preparing, or “turning”, the apartment for the new resident. If you know your apartment has not yet been rented, consider asking the landlord if you are able to stay until the first. The worst thing anyone can say is ‘no’.

 

Due Date for Rent

Most management companies require the rent to be paid on the first and oftentimes allow a grace period until the fourth or fifth of the month. Sometimes, you have up until the tenth or the fifteenth of the month to pay. But ask your landlord when it is due – each company has its own policy.

 

Utilities Included in Rent

So your landlord told you that heat is covered, yeah? Is that specified in the lease? If it’s not and your landlord said it is, request the lease to reflect that tidbit of information on the lease before you sign that dotted line. If the landlord refuses to do so, do not sign the lease. Again, a good landlord makes things right. If information is not listed as advertised, they will make sure it’s fixed – and promptly.

 

Management’s Right to Enter

Surprisingly, this is a common thing in most leases. Basically, in a standard Minnesota Housing Association lease, this clause allows Management to enter your home with sufficient notice (i.e. quarterly or annual inspections, preventative maintenance, the sale of the property, or rental of the unit etc.). It also states that Management has the right to enter for maintenance emergencies.  Know that this does not mean a landlord can enter whenever he or she feels like it to hang out and wait for you in your dining room!

 

Last but not least, once all lease documents have been signed, request a copy of the signed lease and retain it for your records!

Moving? 10 Tips to Make Your Move a Snap!

If it’s time for you to move soon, you’re probably starting to get that sick feeling in your stomach, starting to panic about how you will get it all done and overall dreading the move. On the bright side, you are probably looking forward to your new home and jazzin’ it up to reflect your cool stylings, right?

Fun Times: The Community Laundry Room

I can hear you groaning in agony at the painful words: Apartment Laundry Room!!! I hear ya. First of all, can I have a show of hands of how many of you like to do laundry under any circumstances? Come on, don’t be bashful. I know there are one or two of you out there! Now, and this is getting fun (for me, anyway) can I get an “Amen!” from you on how much you love, love, love doing your laundry in the community laundry room in your apartment building?

Roommate Wars...Why Can't We All Just Get Along

Have you had enough of your roommate already? What happened to the reasonable person you selected as a roommate? Why have they been replaced by an insane, inconsiderate psycho? Don’t people have any respect for others anymore? Didn’t their mother raise them right? What is wrong with these people????? As you probably know, having a roommate can be exceptionally challenging. Let’s be reasonable. Why does this sound like common sense, but it is so difficult to honor? I don’t think anyone sets out to intentionally irritate their roommate, but I do believe the relationship can devolve to the point that angering your roommate can become sport. Roommates see you at your best and worst and know many of your secrets. They know what sets you off and how they can grind on you to the point you snap. But, you also know their sweet spot, too.