Signing a lease for next year? Know the facts

Even though the school year is just beginning, students are already starting to think about living arrangements for next year. Once they have narrowed down their perfect place, it is time to make sure all the details in the lease are secure. For those first time lease signers, here are some handy guidelines and tips to take with when finding that first apartment.

The Tenant Union is a good place to start when looking for an apartment.

Their office is located in the Illini Union, and services are paid for by the Student Organization Resource Fee or S.O.R.F..

The Tenant Union’s website also offers tips on potential problems that may come up when signing a lease, such as sublet fees, pets being prohibited, cleaning charges, late charges and rent increases.

The definition of a lease, which the website offers, is a list of agreements that exist between the tenant and the landlord.

The website also denotes that once a tenant signs the lease, the apartment becomes the tenant’s responsibility and there is no turning back.

Macy Brusich, junior in LAS, said that she did not have too many complications when she signed her lease.

“The only thing was that we found out later that we could have negotiated more of was what was included in the apartment,” Brusich said.

Lauren Martinkus, sophomore in FAA, suggests that students should take a look around at all the apartments campus has.

“I wish I looked around at different apartments more because we felt so rushed when we signed our lease,” Martinkus said.

Even though it is a big rush in the beginning of the school year to find an apartment, Martinkus said she thinks it is important to sign a lease early because then there are more options to choose from.

Brusich also agreed on the importance of finding an apartment early.

“It is really important to be on the ball,” Brusich said. “You should know where you want to live and have a list of places you want to go visit.”

When Martinkus was searching for her first apartment, she said it took her about two weeks to find the apartment that she and her roommates loved.

The decision had to be somewhat quick because others were looking at the apartment as well.

“When looking for an apartment, make sure you have someone with you who has gone through the process before and knows the right questions to ask the realtor about the lease,” Martinkus said.

The Tenant Union website also offers a lease checklist, so that students who are apartment hunting know exactly what will be in the lease.

They should also be able to decide who is going to pay for what and how they are going to divide things up.

For instance, the website notes items such as how much the rent is and when it is due, the beginning and ending dates of a lease term, when the deposit will be refunded and the privacy rights of the tenant, just to name a few.

“In order to make signing the lease a fast process, have everyone’s money ready to go,” Brusich said. “You all should know what is included in the lease, like keeping the couch or TV, and then once you sign it everything will be finalized.”

For more information about signing a lease, see the Tenant Union website at http://www.tenantunion.uiuc.edu/.