Leases & Insurance
Your lease is a legal document which will define every aspect of your relationship with your new landlord, so read it thoroughly before signing. Understand everything that is expected of you and what your legal rights are.
- List the names of all adults who will be living in the apartment
- Clearly identify the property which is being leased
- Indicate both the length of the lease (in days, weeks, or months) and the dates
- Indicate the amount of rent to be paid, when it is to be paid, whether or not you will be billed, and any grace period for paying
- Indicate any late charge if rent is not paid on time
- Indicate responsibility for utilities
- Indicate the amount of any security or other deposit you have made and terms for its return (with interest)
- Indicate circumstances under which the landlord can enter the property and any notification requirements before entering
- Indicate your liability for rent, etc., in case you leave before the end of the lease
A lease is a legally binding document, and you can be held accountable if the terms are not met.
Reasons for which you cannot break your lease:
- Transferring schools
- Dropping out
- Studying abroad
- Don't like the apartment; found a better or cheaper place
- Roommate conflicts
- Minor repair problems
- Utility bills are too high
- Buying a house
Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance will protect all your personal possessions from loss and protect you from huge legal and medical bills should someone be injured in your apartment.
Myths and Facts
My landlord's insurance covers me. Not true! This is a common misconception among renters, and it is untrue in almost all situations. Your landlord carries insurance that will cover his loss in a situation where the building is destroyed or damaged in some way. Your landlord is covered in case someone (including a tenant) is injured on the property, though not in your apartment.
Renter's insurance is expensive. Not true! The average renter can get complete coverage for a couple hundred dollars or less per year. Check with your parent or guardian to see what, if anything, their insurance may cover.
My roommate has insurance; I don't need it. Not true! Your roommate's insurance will cover his/her possessions, but it will not cover yours unless you are listed on your roommate's policy.
How do I get renter's insurance? It's easy! If you have a car, talk to the agent who does your car insurance. If you don't, ask your friends who their insurance agent is, or head for the yellow pages.