7 Important Lease Terms to Understand Prior to Signing Your Next Lease

Rental lease terms can be confusing. Gain a better understanding of seven important lease terms in this rental guide.

Lease terms can be confusing for tenants, which makes it important that tenants have a sound understanding of lease terminology before signing a lease for a rental property. Also, many North Carolina rental laws differ from those in other states. So, if you have a question, always ask your property management company or landlord for clarification. Below, we share seven important lease terms to understand before signing your next lease in North Carolina or any other state.

Terms of Tenancy (Lease Term)

Is the term of your lease a fixed amount of time like 12 months or 6 months? Does your rental agreement run month-to-month and self-renew unless terminated by the landlord or tenant? You will find the answer in your Terms of Tenancy. If your lease is for a fixed-term, then you will also find the dates which your lease term begins and ends.

Payment of Rent

In this section, you will find the amount of rent due each month, when it is due, the length of grace period, and any fees for late rent payments. You will also usually find acceptable forms of rent payment (check, online payment, direct deposit, etc.). There will also likely be information on when your landlord will begin eviction proceedings for failure to pay rent.

Security Deposits

The security deposit section of your lease not only lists the amount of the deposit a tenant is required to pay upfront, but it also will include how the deposit can be used and how the deposit will be returned after the tenant moves out. In North Carolina, the Tenant Security Deposit Act gives landlords 30 days to account for and/or refund a tenant’s security deposit unless there are extenuating circumstances. Read more about North Carolina rental properties and security deposits.

Occupancy limits

Did you know you may be in violation of your lease if your boyfriend or girlfriend comes to visit and stays overnight a certain amount of consecutive days? Make sure you read and understand the terms of your lease occupancy limits. Simply put, this section of the lease will clearly state who can occupy the rental property, which is usually limited to tenants and their minor children, how many individuals are allowed to occupy the property, when a guest becomes an occupant and the penalty for violated these terms.

Repairs and Maintenance

If your goal is to have your security deposit returned at the end of your lease term, then you must have a clear understanding of your responsibilities when it comes to repairs and maintenance. Not only will it be your responsibility to keep your North Carolina rental home clean and damage-free, but this section of the lease will also spell out your duties and the process you must follow for reporting defective or dangerous conditions to property management or your landlord. Best advice for tenants: read this section very carefully.

Right of Entry and Inspections

This section of your lease will spell out when and under what conditions (inspections, repairs, property showings, etc.) the landlord and vendors (contractors, pest control, etc.) can enter the rental property. Just as important, the lease will state how much advance notice must be given prior to entry. State law regulates right of entry, so be sure your lease complies with your state’s laws.

Alterations and Improvements

Want to paint the interior of the property you are renting a different color? Thinking of adding a small deck to the outside of the North Carolina rental home you are leasing? Before performing any alterations or improvements to a rental property, always read this clause in your lease. Not only may you need written permission from the landlord, but you may also have to return the property to its original condition at the end of your lease term. Ignoring the terms of this section could be costly for tenants.

There are many other lease terms, restrictions, fees and responsibilities outlined in rental leases. Pet policies, unreturned key fees, restrictions on disruptive or illegal behavior, renters insurance requirements and a tenant’s right to sublet should all be included, read and clearly understood before signing the lease. And if your property manager or landlord won’t take the time to answer your questions, then you should start looking for another home to rent in North Carolina.

Tenants renting from Red Door Company are always treated professionally. We believe in total transparency and always welcome your questions. So, the next time you are looking for a rental home in North Carolina, please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or to arrange a showing.