Savvy Tenant: When to Review Your Lease


Photo by Peter Skadberg

We talked a little bit before about how a lease isn’t something you sign and lose. Or sign and ignore. It’s best to file it where you can refer to it.

So when is it a good idea to dig out the lease and review it? 

Here are a few situations when it is wise to find out what your lease says (or doesn’t say) so that you can make smart decisions:

  • When you want to hang pictures
  • If you want to paint walls
  • If you want a roommate 
  • When you have questions about general maintenance and upkeep
  • When there is an issue with any of the systems in the home: plumbing, electrical, heat & air
  • When it’s summer and the weeds are getting tall
  • When it’s winter and there is ice/snow that needs to be removed
  • If you want to start a home-based business
  • If you want a garden
  • A couple months before your lease term expires
  • When you want to move out 
  • When you want your security deposit back
  • If you spot bugs
  • When you can’t pay rent on time
  • If you think you need to break your lease
  • If damage occurs
There are no doubt more things that could be added. 
We have had a couple cases recently in which leases were ignored and the decisions made are proving to be extremely expensive for the ex-tenants.  Please, please, please know your lease. Learn your lease. 
It is NOT your landlord’s job to continuously remind you of the obligations you agreed to care for.  The landlord is NOT being unfair when s/he holds you to the agreement.  It doesn’t matter if you have been a tenant for two years or twenty.  The lease doesn’t start disappearing over time like the photo in Back To The Future. Any changes to it must be in writing and agreed to by both parties. Otherwise it stands as it was written and signed at the start.
Please play it smart. Keep your hard-earned money. Know your lease. 

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