Having an attorney complete the review for you ensures you understand the document and everything it contains.
- Residential lease agreements contain a significant amount of information
- Understanding your rights and responsibilities is essential
- Some legal language can confuse inexperienced renters
- Having a lawyer review your paperwork provides clarity on the terms and conditions
Moving into a new home can be exciting, but you must exercise caution throughout the process. That's because you'll have to sign a residential lease agreement before renting any residence. This document outlines the terms and conditions of your tenancy and explains your rights and obligations while living on the property.
Thoroughly reading and comprehending this paperwork is essential before signing anything. These documents are usually straightforward, but ensuring you understand everything they include provides better outcomes while you rent a home or apartment.
Learning what you should be looking for during your reading is advisable before you begin. Here are some reasons you should carefully review your residential lease agreement Florida before signing any documents.
1. Understand the terms
The main reason to review your residential lease documents is to ensure you understand all the terms and conditions. While most terms will be relatively straightforward, such as the monthly rental amount, damage deposit, and rent due date, other terms could require further clarification.
For example, there could be language in the document describing what happens when you're late making a rent payment, including late fees or fines. There could also be terms limiting the number of people living in the home, prohibiting pets, or outlining what happens if you're forced to break your lease before it expires. The better you understand these terms, the easier it becomes to manage your tenancy.
2. Catch potential problems
Your Florida residential lease review could help you catch issues with your contract before you sign the document. For instance, your landlord could try to sneak a provision into your lease that makes you responsible for repairs and maintenance. This condition could lead to significant expenses falling on your plate out of nowhere.
The landlord is legally responsible for keeping the property habitable, but you could be forced to maintain and repair non-essential appliances or handle landscaping duties, too. Most lease agreements are relatively standard, but it's wise to compare your lease to a few sample documents to search for any terms or conditions that stand out from the norm.
3. Negotiate more advantageous terms
The great thing about reviewing your residential lease agreement Florida is that you can use the information you gather to negotiate better terms. For example, if the landlord wants you to assist with the property's landscaping, you can sometimes ask for a reduced monthly rent amount in return for your efforts. The same goes for any repairs you deal with around the property because you're saving the landlord on maintenance costs.
While your negotiations might not always be successful, understanding the terms of your lease gives you a starting point when you begin speaking with your landlord about better conditions. Meeting with an attorney could also be advantageous because it ensures you understand the lease clearly, making it easier to approach the property owner with your concerns.
4. Identify the agreement's length
Because a Florida residential lease agreement is a legal contract between you and your landlord, you'll need to understand when it starts and ends. The lease length determines how long you can continue living in the unit and the terms and conditions for extending your tenancy in the future.
Most lease contracts stay in effect for at least 12 months. At the end of the lease, you might continue living there on a month-to-month basis or extend the agreement for an additional period. Remember that some landlords prefer shorter leases, such as six-month terms, so understanding how long you can stay is vital.
It's also critical that you keep an eye out for longer lease terms. Agreeing to live in a unit for longer than 12 months without having lived there before is a significant commitment and could be something you regret later.
5. Know your obligations
Most of your obligations as a renter involve following the house rules. The lease could outline some acceptable use clauses, which are far less complex than commercial leases. You must consider these clauses as you live there, such as language on quiet hours, maximum occupancy, and overnight guests. Other rules could prohibit smoking, property alterations, and lengthy absences.
Your lease could also outline who's responsible for repairs, maintenance, and trash removal. You'll want to know if any of these jobs or expenses are your responsibility because they could change how you approach your lease negotiations.
Other obligations could include:
- Letting maintenance workers into the home
- Granting the landlord access when necessary
- Investing in rental insurance
The more you know about your responsibilities, the more smoothly you can expect your tenancy to go.
6. Learn the landlord's responsibilities
Your landlord will have some obligations throughout your tenancy, as well. For the most part, these responsibilities are relatively standard, as the property owner can't breach the lease and must respect your privacy, keep the home in habitable condition, and return your security deposit at the end of the lease.
You could have grounds to file a lawsuit against the property owner if they don't meet these obligations, and at the very least, understanding your rights protects you against poor behavior from the landlord.
Get the legal advice you need
Although your Florida residential lease is unlikely to be overly complicated, asking a keen legal eye to look it over before you sign can be advantageous. Having an attorney complete a lease review guarantees you understand all its terms and obligations and ensures the landlord hasn't tried to sneak some unfavorable terms into the document.
PeytonBolin offers a Florida residential lease review service to our customers. This review ensures you understand your lease before you sign anything, minimizing the issues you'll experience in the future. Contact PeytonBolin to have our attorneys review your residential lease agreement in Florida.