You’ve found the perfect townhome or apartment and are ready to move in! You are so excited about moving into your new place and can’t wait to start making it your own. But before you do that, you must sign a lease to agree to rent the property from the townhome leasing agency. Because this document is legally binding, it’s wise to know the details of what it includes and some questions to ask before signing.

If you are searching for a housing opportunity that has everything you need, look to the rental listings for apartments and townhomes near Hanover, PA, from Burkentine Rentals! With a wide variety of floor plans and locations throughout York County, you’ll be able to find a place in no time! Learn more about the lease signing process below and contact us with further questions.

What Are Some Lease Terms I Should Know?

Leases are often filled with legal terms that may be confusing, especially for first-time renters. It is wise to have a lawyer read over a lease before signing it, especially if you don’t understand something. They can help alert you to any red flags on the lease or get clarification before you sign it. Some common terms you may see include:

  • Lease—A legally binding contract outlining the terms by which one party agrees to rent property owned by another party
  • Lessee—The tenant who will rent the real estate
  • Lessor—The property owner or landlord
  • Rental Payment—The amount due each month to the lessor in exchange for allowing the lessee to occupy the space
  • Security Deposit—Money is given to a landlord, lender, or seller of a townhome or apartment that secures a property for a lessee and gives security to the lessor that the property won’t be damaged. Any damages found from your occupancy may be taken from your security deposit.
  • Early Termination Clause—A statement in a lease that allows tenants to terminate the contract for a specific reason (i.e., job-related relocation, divorce). Many lease agreements may provide specific terms that would allow a tenant to terminate a lease early while detailing a penalty fee that would be incurred for doing so.

What Should a Lease Include?

A lease arranged by your landlord or property management company should provide the details of your rental agreement. Be sure you get it in writing, read the entirety, and understand what you are signing. The lease should list the names of the adult tenants, the identification of the property (address), and the rental term. You’ll want to know how long the lease is for your townhome or apartment. Some leases begin as a mandatory one-year lease, then move to a month-to-month lease.

Other items your lease should include are:

  • The amount of rent and fees and when they are due
  • Limits on occupancy (i.e., who is allowed to live there, what is the guest policy)
  • Subletting restrictions
  • Information about pets
  • List of amenities
  • List of utilities and who is responsible for each

What Questions Should I Ask Before Signing a Lease?

Before signing your lease, the legally binding contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and property owners, you should be clear on some important details. Don’t ever sign a lease unless you are sure you know the answers to the following questions:

  1. How long is the lease term?
  2. What utilities are included in the rent? What utilities do I have to pay separately?
  3. When is rent due, how do I pay it, and when do you assess late fees?
  4. Will I get my security deposit back? What’s the move-out procedure?
  5. Is renter’s insurance required?
  6. How much notice do I have to give before vacating?
  7. Is there a penalty for breaking my lease? Can I sub-let my lease?
  8. What is the procedure for maintenance calls? What if it’s an emergency?
  9. How much notice will you give before entering the rental unit?
  10. Are pets allowed? If so, what are the conditions and fees?
  11. Is there a guest policy?
  12. Where do I park?
  13. Who is responsible for lawn care and snow removal?
  14. What changes can I make to the townhome or apartment? (i.e., paint the walls, hang pictures on the walls, etc.)

Do I Need Renter’s Insurance?

Check your lease. Some property owners require their tenants to get rental insurance. The property owner has insurance to cover the physical structure of the building if something like a fire were to happen, but not your belongings. Renter’s insurance is necessary to replace your belongings should a disaster occur.

With that said, whether your lease requires renter’s insurance, it’s a smart idea to get it. You never know when a disaster will strike. It’s often inexpensive, and if you get it through the same company where you have your auto insurance, you may get a discount.

Find Your Next Townhome or Apartment to Rent Here!

Now that you know the basics of signing a lease, what to be sure it includes, and questions to ask, you are ready to sign your lease. But if you haven’t already started searching for a townhome or apartment, start with us! We have many rentals available and will walk you through the process of renting a townhome or apartment.