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Identify Your Housing Needs > Know Your Rights > Reading a Lease > Understanding the Ads > What to Ask the Landlord

Reading a Lease

A lease is an agreement or contract between a landlord and a tenant. The landlord is the person who owns the property and the tenant is the person who is renting the property. When both people sign the lease, it becomes a binding legal document. The lease protects the rights of both the landlord and the tenant.

A sample lease is linked. It is written in reasonable simple language. Some leases are written in legal terminology which is very difficult to understand. You may want to find someone who will help you understand your lease before you sign it.

After reading the sample lease, answer the following questions.

  1. To whom is the rent paid?
  2. What length of time does the lease cover?
  3. On what day is the rent due?
  4. What happens if the rent is not paid on time?
  5. How much is the security deposit and when will it ever be returned to the tenant?
  6. Who is responsible for paying for damages if:
    • The neighbor child throws a ball through the window?
    • You have a party and your friends tramp food into your carpet?
    • Your roof leaks and the water stains the walls and carpet?
  7. Who pays the utility bills?
  8. Who provides a range, refrigerator, and garbage disposal?
  9. You have ceiling fans permanently installed in the apartment. Are you allowed to take them with you when you leave?
  10. When is the landlord permitted to enter the apartment?
  11. Are you permitted to hang wallpaper in your apartment without asking the landlord?
  12. What is the tenant required to do before moving out of the apartment?

The answers are provided in the Sample Lease Quiz Answers.

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