Shopping for your new apartment with your future roommates can be fun—but make sure the excitement doesn’t get in the way of spotting lease red flags.

While most landlords have good intentions, some may try to take advantage of inexperienced renters by including unfair terms in their lease agreements. That’s why we’ve gathered major red flags to watch out for while reviewing your off-campus options with Ohio rental properties.

Key Components in a Typical Lease

A lease is a legally binding contract between the landlord and the tenant that outlines the terms of your tenancy. Here are some key components to understand:

  • Length of Lease: Most leases are year-long, meaning you will be committed to living in the apartment for 12 months.
  • Rent Amount: Make sure you understand if your monthly rent includes utilities or other fees.
  • Security Deposit: This is a one-time payment that serves as security for any damages to the apartment during your tenancy. It should be completely refunded at the end of your lease if no damages occur.
  • Pet Policy: If you have pets, it’s important to know if they are allowed in the apartment and if there is an extra fee or deposit required.

It’s important to thoroughly review your lease and if information is missing, don’t be afraid to ask questions—you’ll want to make sure everything is clearly stated before signing.

5 Red Flags to Watch Out For

Now that you understand a few of the key components in a lease, here are some lease red flags to watch out for:

1. Vague Terms and Language

If the language in your lease is vague or unclear, it can leave you with the short end of the stick during times of need. Make sure all terms are clearly defined. If there’s too much room for interpretation, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or a rewrite.

2. Excessive Security Deposit

While a security deposit is common in most leases, watch out for an excessive amount. Typically, this should only be one month’s rent. If it seems higher, ask why and if it can be negotiated.

3. Hidden Fees

Some landlords may try to sneak in extra charges without stating the reasons for them. If you see any questionable fees, ask for an explanation before signing.

4. Maintenance and Repair Responsibilities

It’s important to understand who is responsible for maintenance and repairs in Ohio rental properties. It could be a major red flag if all responsibility falls on you as the tenant—especially if the apartment is older. Clarify what types of repairs are covered and what you are expected to pay for.

5. Termination and Subletting Policies

Life can be unpredictable, so read through all termination and subletting policies. If they seem unreasonable or overly restrictive, it may be a sign that the landlord is not willing to work with you in the case of an emergency. No one wants to be kicked out of their apartment without a good cause!

Use These Tips to Avoid Red Flags

Take advantage of these tips to avoid any surprises in Ohio rental properties!

Read Carefully

The key to avoiding red flags in your off-campus lease is to read and understand every word. Don’t be afraid to request changes if something doesn’t seem right. It’s better to take the time now than deal with major issues later on.

Get Advice

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about your lease, seek advice from a trusted source. This could be a knowledgeable friend or family member, a student legal services office, or even an attorney.

Use a Trustworthy Company

If you’re renting from a property management company, do your research beforehand. Check out reviews and ask for references to ensure they have a good reputation. The right company will be on your side and help with any problems you might have in your new apartment.

Ask Questions

When in doubt, always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and make sure all terms are clearly stated in the lease. After all, it’s your home—you have a right to understand and agree to everything before signing.

How Do You Negotiate or Amend a Lease?

If you come across any lease red flags, it’s important to address them before signing. This could involve negotiating with your landlord or requesting amendments to the lease agreement. Here are some tips for successfully navigating this process:

  • Be polite: Approach any negotiations or requests for amendments professionally and respectfully.
  • Provide reasoning: If you want to negotiate a term or request an amendment, be prepared to provide valid reasoning for why it’s important to you.
  • Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with tenant rights in your area and use them as a reference when discussing any issues with your landlord.
  • Get everything in writing: Any changes or amendments to the lease should be clearly stated and agreed upon by all parties in writing. This will help avoid any disputes in the future.

By being aware of possible red flags, you can move into your new apartment with confidence and leave your worries at the door!

Experience a Stress-Free Rental Process with Wharton Rentals.

At Wharton Rentals, we understand the importance of a transparent and fair lease agreement. That’s why we strive to make the rental process as stress-free as possible for our tenants. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality Ohio rental properties with very reasonable lease agreements.

Contact us today to find your perfect off-campus home!

Wharton Rentals is committed to making the off-campus living experience a positive one for college students in Athens, Ohio.

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