Many renters barely even skim their rental agreement before signing their name at the bottom. Most renters are primarily concerned with the monthly charges, one time only fees, required deposits and other financial matters. Once they verify this information is accurate according to their conversations with the leasing agent, they often sign the agreement with no questions asked. This is a mistake because a rental agreement is a legal contract which may have a host of important information which the renter should be aware of before signing the document.

Considering a Roommate?

Those who are considering the possibility of a roommate may mistakenly believe this is possible because they are living alone and have two bedrooms and two bedrooms. These uninformed renters may see an opportunity to share their rent with another. However, some rental agreements strictly prohibit renters from soliciting their own roommates and allowing an additional person to move into the apartment after the lease is already signed. Renters who violate this agreement may face harsh penalties. These penalties may even include eviction.

Renters who want to have the option of a roommate should ideally make this decision before the contract is signed. This will enable the homeowner to put provisions into the contract to allow for the renter to add an additional resident at any time. The leasing agent may still require final approval of your roommate but this approval process will likely be dependent on the results of a background check as well as a check of the potential roommate’s finances.

Want to Adopt a Pet?

Renters who wish to adopt a pet in the near future should also familiarize themselves with the rental agreement. This is important because restrictions on the types, size and specific breed of pets apply not only when the renter moves in but throughout the terms of his rental agreement. This means a renter who has signed contractual documents stating they do not own any of the prohibited pets such as dogs or cats are not free to purchase or adopt additional pets during the course of the rental agreement. Therefore, renters who do not have pets but plan to adopt or purchase pets in the near future should read the contract documents as if they are already a pet owner and decide whether or not to sign based on the statements within the policy.

Plan on Having Visitors Regularly?

Even renters who have regular overnight guests should familiarize themselves with their rental agreement before signing the document. This is important because frequent guests may actually be considered residents in some situations. This will likely depend on the specific rental agreement but it is not entirely uncommon for leasing agents to specify that visitors who spend a specific number of nights on the property per month are considered to be residents of the apartment. This is important because the rental agreement may clearly identify how many people may reside in the apartment at any one time.

Visitors who are staying at the apartment too often may put the resident at risk of being accused of having additional persons living in the apartment. In some situations this might be considered cause for eviction. For this reason, the renter should be sure he is familiar with the terms of the agreement before allowing others to spend the night in the apartment on a regular basis.

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