11 Things to Know Before Signing Your First Lease


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Moving into your first PROPERTY is exciting stuff. Most of these life lessons are best learned from experience

Following our 11 things you should know before getting the keys to your first place. The rest you’ll learn as you go.

1. Narrow your search by price and location.

According to studies those are the two biggest factors you should consider when selecting a flat / property

We’d all love to live in an apartment straight out of Friends, but I’m going to drop a truth bomb: Monica and Rachel never could have afforded their place in Greenwich Village. If you settle on a place that’s above your means and fall behind on rent payments, pulling a Ross and claiming you were “on a break” isn’t going to fly with the owner. Choose wisely.

(And for the record, Rachel and Ross were so not on a break.)


2. Find an area with a reputable management company or owner that meets your price and location criteria, and also offers the specific amenities you’re looking for.

Look on www.righmove.co.uk for a list of properties, you can narrow your search within a specific area. Consider which amenities mean the most to you and narrow your results accordingly.

A fire pit, snooker room, state-of-the-art fitness center and indoor swimming pool (or go on then jacuzzi bath)  may all seem like “must haves,” but you have to ask yourself which amenities you’ll actually use.

Be honest with yourself.

3. Confirm that the terms in the lease match what you’ve been told.

Ask for clarification regarding anything you don’t understand. Leasing agents are  happy to answer your questions. Don’t know what submetering means? Just ask.

Utility Submetering is the implementation of a system that allows a landlord, property management firm,  homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage. The approach makes use of individual water metersgas meters, or electricity meters per the relevant utility.

4. Note additional fees.

Pay attention to whether utilities are included in the base rent or billed separately. The trend is moving toward the latter, which may come as a surprise to first-time renters who’ve never thought twice about leaving the lights on,turning the TV off, or running the hot water at Mom and Dad’s house.

Unfortunately, utility bills are similar to suspicious moles and secretly wishing someone would turn down the music at the bar; all are filed under “harsh realities of adulthood.” Better to know on the front-end and budget accordingly.

In addition to utility bills, ask about application or amenities fees.

5. Be aware of  rules.

Wait, you thought adulthood meant fewer rules to follow? Oh you sweet, naïve cherubs.

In reality, flats/ properties do offer a great deal of freedom — you just have to make sure you’re up to speed on potential policies regarding quiet hours, visitors and pet restrictions. All creeds are welcome, but not all breeds.

6. Understand any lease termination policies.

Some leases automatically renew — others require residents to notify the property manager of their intent to either renew their lease or move. Some leases also require residents to provide a certain amount of notice if they plan to vacate after their initial lease has expired. Failure to comply could result in a fee.

Check the policy for breaking the lease, too, so you’ll know what to expect if unforeseen circumstances arise that require you to leave before your lease is up. However, it’s best to avoid this scenario, if possible. You’re not making a lifetime commitment to marry someone. You’ll be lucky if you wash your comforter by the end of the calendar year, let alone think about moving again.

7. Inquire about rules regarding painting the walls, hanging artwork, copying keys, etc.

Many landlords will allow you to paint the walls, so long as you return them to their pearly white status when you move out. Keep this in mind when you’re selecting colors like Tangerine Tango — or, as I like to call it, “Color You Begged Your Former Roommate Not To Pick and Then Tweaked Your Back Trying To Paint Over When She Moved Out.”

You’ll find it listed under the former at B & Q!!!!!! .

flat room

8. If you’re interested in subletting for part of your lease, or adding an additional roommate later on, make sure it’s allowed.

Making some extra cash while you’re on a two-week summer holiday may sound appealing now, but there’s nothing lucrative about ending up in small claims court for illegally subletting your studio flat. If Orange is the New Black has taught us anything, it’s that it’s always best to avoid any situation that could lead to an extended prison sentence with a woman named Crazy Eyes.

9. Read.

It may seem obvious, but read the entire lease. You can’t use the excuse that you weren’t aware of something that’s clearly stated in the lease.

As the saying goes The More You Know……………

10. After you’ve signed the lease, check the property for pre-existing damage on move-in day.

Before bringing in your belongings — or, more accurately, making your 60-year-old father do so — look for scratched floors, walls or appliances. If you notice any damage, we suggest you take pictures and ask the property manager to put it in writing. The property was like this when you moved in. Otherwise, you could be charged for the damage or lose your security deposit when you move out.

11. Try not to break anything.

One of the best parts about renting versus owning is that you have a team of trusty maintenance professionals to handle property repairs. However, use a little common sense once you’ve moved into your new property. Wear and tear is normal, but shoving an uneaten tray of lasagne down the sink disposal unit is not!!!!!


Happy hunting 🙂


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