Renters Beware: 4 Things to Look for in a Lease Agreement

Finding affordable and decent housing in the Bay Area can be a real challenge, and unfortunately, there is a lot of deception in the housing industry here. Renters are especially taken advantage of, since the demand for housing is so great, and too many people fall victim to the fine print of lease agreements. So, if you are currently searching for a place to rent, it’s important to take a good hard look at your leasing paperwork before you ever sign anything. And of course, if you need personalized advice for your situation, get in touch with a real estate attorney in Emeryville!

Here are four things to keep an eye out for, in any lease agreement you look at:

1. Renewal or escalation clause: Many leases include a clause regarding lease renewal terms, and subsequent rent fees if you were to continue living there past the initial rental timeframe. Often, in high-demand areas, rent prices will increase each year by a certain percentage, and this “escalation clause” may be hidden in the fine print.

2. Pet policies: Lots of pet-loving people fall into a bad housing situation when they fail to notice certain policies in their lease agreements regarding animals. If you plan to have a pet with you, make sure you go over the details of things like: animal breed/weight restrictions, additional pet rent, and areas of the property where they may or may not be admitted.

3. Subletting and visitor policies: Most people will end up having to leave their rental home at one point or another, and may wish to temporarily assign their rent to another person. They may also plan to have visitors come and stay on occasion. However, these things are typically under landlord control, so look through your lease first and ask for clarification on the rules surrounding sublets and visitors.

4. Security deposit terms: Too many renters fail to follow the terms of their security deposits and never end up getting that money back. There have also been problems with landlords taking an unreasonable amount of time to return security deposits, so look in your lease for a timeline provision. Understand up front, before you sign the lease, what is expected from you to recoup your deposit.

There are many more tricky areas in lease agreements where renters can get stuck, so if you need help looking for a housing solution that is honest and amenable, let us help. Come to Thomas C. Tagliarini Attorney At Law today and ask for your free consultation!