Before you sign your lease, have it reviewed for free by contacting Off-Campus Housing.
A lease is a binding contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified period in exchange for a specified rent.
The lease is your agreement with the landlord to rent the housing unit; it can be written or oral. An oral lease is just as binding as a written lease but its terms are more difficult to prove. If possible, get your lease in writing.
Who signs the lease?
Carefully consider other tenants included in the lease. Any tenant who signs the lease may be jointly or solely responsible for the entire rent of the unit. Most landlords will allow you to sign separate leases for a single room within a unit, thus if other tenants miss their rental payments, you are not responsible for covering their missed payments.
When you sign a lease, you are making yourself liable for rent each month until the lease ends, regardless of whether you live in the unit for the full lease period. If you plan to leave your housing unit for a period of time, you should sublet or convince the landlord to agree to a shorter lease term.
When leaving, you must give 60 days written notice to your landlord. Subletting entails having someone else live in your unit for part of your lease term. You must ask permission from your landlord to sublet. Your landlord cannot reasonably refuse your sublet request; otherwise you can have your lease terminated.
Negotiating the lease
A contract is an agreement between two or more people to do something and a statement of their respective responsibilities and rights in doing it.
Most landlords use lengthy written leases containing clauses designed to protect and benefit themselves, but if you are careful, respectful, assertive, and prepared, you can sometimes get a better deal for yourself.
VIDEO: leases and sublets
VIDEO: frequently asked questions