As a prospective tenant, it is important to be informed before you sign your lease agreement. If you are able to identify a fair and well constructed lease agreement, this will benefit you in the long run. In this post we will provide you with 5 top legal tips to know before you sign your lease.
Know how to read a lease
Being able to read a lease is a skill. It is a skill that all people should have. It is important to be able to understand the legal language you are reading in your contract. If you can, then you can understand what you are agreeing to. You will avoid signing anything ignorantly.
Look out for generic agreements or clauses
Sometimes, lease agreements are based on a pre-made template. The problem with a template is that it can fail to take into account the unique circumstances that affect a particular lease. This can lead to confusion or disaster if it leaves out specific provisions such as extensions and move in and move out dates. Make sure your contract contains the necessary specifics such as the address of the property, name of the landlord, important contact information, deposit and rental amounts as well as expected utilities.
Check for a “no additions or modifications outside of the lease” clause
It is always best to have your lease agreement in writing. But it is also wise have a clause in the lease that does not allow for any deviations or changes to be made to that lease unless they are made in writing and agreed to by all parties. This type of clause protects all parties involved, because it prevents ad hoc changes from being made verbally which then bind the parties.
Know that leases are subject to national legislation
No lease may make you contract out of the basic rights assigned to you by law through national legislation. If any clause in a contract does so, you should raise it to the attention of the landlord, because that clause will be illegal. For this reason, it is important to know your rights under law. The Rental Housing Act and the Consumer Protection Act are two pieces of legislation that are important here. If you are ever unsure about whether a clause is illegal, it is a good idea to consult a legal professional.
You have a “cooling off” period
According to the Consumer Protection Act, if you sign a lease agreement, you have the right to cancel that agreement within five days of signing the lease penalty free if the agreement was a result of direct marketing. That is, if marketing strategies such as email campaigns or telephone calls were used. This five day period is called your “cooling off period”.
If you require and advice on any of the top legal tips to know before you sign your lease, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].