Is it too good to be true? Lease warning signs

Friday, November 18, 2022 Is it too good to be true? Lease warning signs

Key with house shaped keyring on door handle

As students begin to think about their living options for 2023-2024, it’s important to know what to look out for. Student Legal Services offers free legal advice and representation to students at UNL and has seen it all. Here are five tips from their legal experts.

Be careful signing a lease too far in advance.

We sometimes see clients who have signed leases for a term that doesn't start until 8+ months later. A lot can happen in that time and you're contractually bound by the lease regardless of what changes in your life before the lease starts.

Be careful signing a lease for a single room.

Many private rental companies that market toward students offer single-room leases in a four-room apartment. If you sign a single-room lease, you likely have no control over who the landlord assigns as your roommate (or their age, gender, student status, or even criminal history and sex offender status), and you have few legal options if that roommate is being disruptive.

Look ahead to whether your lease has a buyout or early termination clause.

If no clause exists, you're legally liable for the entire term, regardless of changes in your circumstances.

Never sign a second lease without consult.

If anything goes wrong during your lease and you decide you must move out, never sign a second lease until you've spoken to a lawyer and confirmed the first one has ended.

Get a copy of your lease before you sign it and make a free appointment with Student Legal Services to review it.

A 15-minute conversation with a lawyer could save you thousands of dollars if anything goes wrong during your lease. If the landlord won't provide you a copy of the lease to review, you should not rent with that landlord.

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