3 Things to Do Before Signing Apartment Lease

3 Things to Do Before Signing Apartment Lease

Published: 22 Oct, 2018

Last Updated: 31 Jan, 2023

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Moving into a new house and want to prepare yourself? Fortunately, this post will tell you what to do before signing an apartment lease.


1. Clarify the Deposit and Fees

Find out exactly how much you must pay before moving in. Remember, that the security deposit cannot exceed your monthly payment. On top of that, landlords do not have any right to charge you for doormen, which is also known as “key money”. If you are being charged the “key money”, you can report the agent to NYC Attorney General’s Office. You would have to provide some evidence as well. There might be something that you don’t know about fees, so click here and read thoroughly.


2. Landlord’s Right to Access

To protect your privacy, look for a clause that limits landlord’s access without your notice with exception of emergency situations. You are legally allowed to put your own locks on the apartment doors. However, if requested, you must give your landlord a duplicate key. If your lease agreement doesn’t have any wording about it, you can ask to add it.


3. Read Your Lease Agreement

The lease agreement provides protection for you as a fixed rent amount for the lease duration. Without this document, the landlord can evict you without any notice or reason. Therefore, if you plan to live there long-term, reading your lease agreement is the most important thing to do before signing your apartment lease. Remember, once you and your landlord sign the lease, both of you agree to every point in your lease agreement document.

New York City Rent Guideline Board advises you to know the answers for following questions:

  • Does the lease state the correct rent, address, and landlord?
  • Does the lease mention all the amenities agreed upon? Be sure to write down any oral agreements.
  • Check your lease to find out the due date for your rent each month, as well as what late charges apply if you miss the deadline.
  • Check to see if utilities are billed separately or are included in your monthly rent.
  • Are there any special building rules? Find out if your new building is: pet-friendly, has limits on guests, has restrictions on running a home business, etc.
  • What happens at the end of the lease term? Can you renew automatically? What happens if you break the lease? Can you sublet or assign (transfer) the lease?

Knowing answers about these questions help you to know your lease agreement. Prepare yourself to the following situation: you have to break your lease and want to get your security deposit back. Does your lease agreement allow you to do it? After you sign your lease and move in, make sure to do these 4 things.

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