Since we work with renters day in and day out, we hear a wide variety of stories about apartments, about the last apartment someone moved from, and about apartment lifestyle in general. One of the things people most often mention as a reason for leaving their last apartment is the terms of their apartment lease. What are some things you should watch out for on an apartment lease in Los Angeles? Let’s look at a few of them.
Does Your Apartment Lease In Los Angeles Require Renters Insurance?
This isn’t something to watch out for because it’s a bad thing – you should have Los Angeles, CA Renters Insurance anyway. But it’s something to be careful of because you’ll need coverage in order to move in if it’s in the lease. The leasing office will want to see proof of it. If you don’t have coverage or can’t get proof quickly (agent works 9-5 Monday-Friday?) just call Effective Coverage or go online and you can buy renters insurance in sixty seconds online or three minutes on the phone!
This is a clause you should look out for because it mandates that you give up your right to seek legal recourse against the landlord and states that your only recourse is to submit to binding arbitration. There often is no appeal from arbitration, and beware if the choice of individual to make the decision is up to the company and not you! It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.
Your Los Angeles apartment lease will doubtless include provisions for late fees. That’s a given, standard part of any lease. But you need to be aware of how much they are, whether they vary, and when they start to kick in. Hopefully you’ll never need to know this information, but life takes strange turns. If the first is on a weekend or federal holiday, must your check be received before the first to be counted as timely? Things like that end up costing people money, and often it’s big money.
Obvious Revisions Based On Previous Problems
This is more of a concern with smaller apartments, rather than complexes, but always something to watch for. If there’s a non-standard clause in the lease, you should give serious thought to why that clause is there. If the lease requires the tenant to take responsibility for any and all backup of toilets, it’s possible that there’s an ongoing problem in the building that hasn’t been addressed. If possible, speak with tenants who have been there for some time and see if they know why the clause is there. That warning label not to change the blades on a chainsaw while it’s running wouldn’t be there if someone hadn’t tried to do just that, and a non-standard lease clause probably wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a reason for it.
You should, of course, be reading the lease word for word at your leisure and asking questions about anything you don’t fully understand.
Lease Break Fees
If you think you might have to move out early, what will it cost you? Is there a possibility of a life change or job transfer that would take you across the country? Often times, these fees are reasonable – a month or two of rent – but once in a while they can be much higher. Like any provision of the lease, make sure you understand it fully. If you have to pay for a notice period plus three months of rent, that’s at least four months – five if it’s a 60 day notice period – which can be a big chunk of change when you’re trying to move and pay first, last, and deposit on a new pad.
We hold nothing against smokers, it’s their right, but if you’re allergic – or if you’re a smoker – you’ll want to look for these clauses. When you’re reading an apartment lease in Los Angeles, remember that roughly half the states in the country allow some form of marijuana use, so smoking doesn’t just mean cigarettes. If this is important to you (either way), you need to look for these clauses.
Remember that state laws permitting you to engage in an activity do not override the terms of your lease. The legal right to smoke any given substance does not mean that you are unable to waive that right. Your lease is the governing document. A contract allows you to waive the right to do many things you might otherwise freely and legally do, such as change wireless providers.
See above about non-standard clauses. If it’s in your Los Angeles apartment lease, it’s there for a reason. “Adhesives must be approved before putting on walls” could mean either that there were problem tenants (and your neighbors may still be the same) or that you’re about to rent from a landlord who takes detail-oriented to a new level!
These are general signs of a troublesome lease, troublesome neighbors, or a troublesome landlord. There are many others, but often it’s easy to take note of these things and steer clear. You may even find that some of them are things you have to initial in the application – “If approved, tenant agrees not to…” Make sure you read before you sign an L.A. apartment lease, and when you move in make sure you have renters insurance. The easiest way to do that is to call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need Los Angeles renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
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