There comes a time in every commercial real estate tenant’s life when their apartment lease comes to an end, leaving a fork in the road that begs the question: to renew or not to renew?
Whether you’re on a two-year, one-year, or month-to-month lease, it’s important to know your options especially when it comes to deciding between whether to lease vs rent.
You may have been browsing different types of apartments, but if you’ve found a home in a prime location with plenty of amenities and affordable rent, you may want to stay and renew. But before you sign the lease agreement on the dotted line, be sure to go over the steps below, so you understand how to renew a lease while protecting your financial interests.
Step 1: Read Your Lease to Find the Information You’ll Need to Renew
Now’s the time to check your current lease for its expiration date, as well as any information on when and how to renew it.
Here’s what to look for in your existing lease:
- Lease Renewal notice window – Many leases provide a 30-60 day window before the expiration date to let your landlord or property owner know if you plan to renew, although some may require up to a 90-day written notice. If you miss this window, your landlord or property owner may begin showing or shopping the unit to new prospective tenants, so it’s important to state your intent as soon as possible.
- How to submit a written notice – You may also have to submit a written letter expressing your intent to renew.
- Lease Renewal form – Some landlords will mail you a leasing renewal process form detailing any increases to the rental agreement and letting you know if you’ll need to submit an additional security deposit.
Step 2: Know Your Options
Are you happy with your current lease type, or do you need a more flexible arrangement? These are all questions to ask about your apartment. If you’d like to stay put for a few months until you find a job in a new city, for example, you probably don’t want to sign a yearly lease agreement.
There are two types of leases: fixed-term and month-to-month.1
- Fixed term leases last for a certain period (often one year, although you may find six-month, two-year, and other options). Most landlords prefer this lease type, as it guarantees them rent for the entire duration of the lease. Although, if you are thinking of how to break a lease if you end up not liking where you live, then it may be a bit tricky. On the other hand, if you love your new home, then it gives you security as a tenant, as they aren’t able to raise the rent until the lease expires.
- Month-to-month leases are exactly what they sound like—the lease terms can change at the end of each month (according to the contract). If you choose a month-to-month lease, then your landlord could raise the rent anytime they please, but you’re not tied down to a year-long contract should you choose to leave on a whim.
Both options have their pros and cons, so be sure to think carefully before negotiating with your landlord.
Step 3: Chat With Your Landlord
In some cases, you can skip this step, but it’s often a good idea to chat with your landlord to make sure you’re on the same page. That could include:
- Pet adoptions – Want to bring in a new furry roommate? Be sure your new lease approves their residency, and ask your landlord if there’s a pet deposit
- New roommates – If you seek to share the cost of the apartment with someone new, make sure your landlord approves of their residency, and add them to the lease if necessary.
- Issues and upgrades – Whether you need a repair or simply want a new coat of paint, now is a perfect time to ask.
And here’s some word of advice: Don’t be shy about being honest with your landlord when it comes to negotiating the new lease. Remember that the worst thing they can say is “No.”
Step 4: Review the Updated Lease
While it’s important to know the answer to the question, “when do you sign a lease for an apartment” when you are both signing or resigning, it’s also important to read the fine print. It’s important to catch any unfavorable lease provisions that have been added in before you sign. Otherwise, you could be stuck in the situation for a year or more
Landlords make mistakes too. Be sure to catch anything that’s false or misleading in your lease so you can continue to live happily ever after under your roof.
Step 5: Sign the Lease and Relax
Congratulations! Now you know how to renew a lease on an apartment and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line.
Be sure to request a copy of the document and place the new expiration date in your calendar. And when it comes time to renew your lease again, follow the above steps to repeat this easy-peasy process all over again.
Make Apartment Living Easier with Common
Once you know the steps, renewing your lease can be a straightforward process.
That doesn’t mean you’ll get everything you want.
Are you looking for more flexibility, amenities, and community at a reasonable price? At Common, we’re here to help. Located all across the US, we offer traditional units, coliving suites, and micro-units at an attainable price, so you can live in your dream city. On top of that, you can transfer to another room or home wherever life takes you elsewhere.
Become a member with Common today to take the hassle out of apartment hunting.
- Law Depot. Understanding Fixed and Automatic Renewal Lease Terms. https://www.lawdepot.com/law-library/real-estate-articles/understanding-fixed-and-automatic-renewal-lease-terms/?loc=US