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Smith Welch Webb & White Blog

Monday, October 31, 2016

Why a Real Estate Attorney Should Review Your Lease Before you Sign

The language in legal documents can be intimidating, as terms such as “lessee” and “lessor” replace familiar words like “renter” and “landlord.”  Before you sign a new lease, consider having an experienced real estate attorney review the document and explain the language in layman’s terms.  Taking this step will help you avoid unpleasant surprises (and expenses) associated with items such as late fees and the responsible party for routine maintenance and pest control. 

Make sure the lease fits your lifestyle.  

When reviewing a lease, it’s useful to think about your overall lifestyle.  For example, if you relocate often, it may be important to maintain some flexibility with a month-to-month option - or at least be fully informed of the penalties associated with breaking the lease term, including the security deposit.  On the other hand, if you plan to put down roots and eventually buy in the same neighborhood you’re renting, you may want to scrutinize any rent-to-own clauses.  

The lease may also outline parameters of what you can do while living on the property.  For example, if you work from home or have frequent visitors, make sure the lease does not prohibit this behavior.  Leases may include stipulations on the number of guests, length of their stays and how many parking spaces you’re allowed to occupy.  

Make sure everything important is in writing. 

A signed lease trumps any conversation you may have had with your potential landlord.  Even if you ask all the right questions and hear all the right answers, it’s important to thoroughly double-check the lease terms and ensure everything you discussed is consistent with the written lease language. 

Understand the big picture.

Tenant-landlord laws vary by state, and may include rights of either party that are not included in the lease.  An experienced real estate attorney can help you understand the rights of both parties that may not be immediately obvious when reviewing the lease document.  

When you’re looking for a place to live, it’s tempting to sign on the dotted line as soon as you find a rental that seems to fit your criteria.  But don’t feel pressured to sign anything before you feel comfortable with the fine print.  The details of lease agreements vary, and there is no once-size-fits-all solution for every lifestyle.   Questions about your lease?  Contact experienced real estate attorney Scott Mayfield today at smayfield@smithwelchlaw.com  or call 770-358-3630.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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