What Exactly Is In Your Tenant Lease?


By: Christina Starmer, Instant Tenant-Instant Landlord

So you are about to rent the apartment of your dreams. But before you take the keys, you will be asked to sign on the bottom line. Not so fast Sparky! Below are a few items, that you might actually want in your lease if you don’t find them during your initial run-through. (Extra Tip! Ask to get a copy of the lease prior to signing so you can review it and read over 24 hours before signing).

Appliance Repair:

Who is responsible for an appliance repair if the appliance simply breaks because of ordinary wear and tear? Is there a co-pay on the tenant’s part and if so, when do they pay?

Is renter’s insurance required? This one does not have to be in the lease, but it may be well worth the money to get.

Lawn Maintenance:

When renting a house, it is often the responsibility of the tenant to maintain the lawn. If it’s not spelled out in the lease already, be sure you get it in there. And if you are responsible, be specific as to what you are expected to do. For instance, a typical resident will mow and blow when needed (approximately every two weeks). But some “tenant maintains the lawn” clauses presumes the tenant will be mowing, blowing, edging, mulching, weeding and possibly trimming hedges.

Painting and Basic Puncture Holes:

Typical wear and tear should not be taken out of your deposit at the lease end date, but you can bet your bottom dollar that walls or those full of nail holes will be assessed for charges. If you want to paint an accent wall or the whole place, get it spelled out in the initial lease. Know what it is that you are and are not allowed to do.


This is no laughing matter. If you move in a duplex and one month later, a bunch of roaches, ants or spiders start to show up, who is responsible? Or what if you get eaten up by fleas every time you walk through the lawn, but you don’t even own a dog? Even wasp nests have a tendency to show themselves under the eaves and corners of homes in the summer. Will you be removing them? Will your landlord?

Basically, it comes down to the fine print. When entering into any contract, be sure to pay close attention to the details. As it never fails that something left out will cause one of the signing parties to say “I just assumed…” And that almost never has a good outcome for the tenant.

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