If you’re going to sign it, you should read it thoroughly first.

Apartment lease terms are the mandates, rules and provisions set out in the lease. Apartment lease terms can vary greatly and are usually far-reaching. Lease agreement terms are accepted by both parties in a rental agreement for a pre-determined length of time and are usually non-negotiable and can’t be canceled during that term.

1. There are baselines for apartment lease terms

Though there can be a great variance from one lease to another lease, there are some common baselines that many property owners will follow. Some of the most commonly included elements of a lease are how to treat the unit, who can live in the unit, what can be done in the unit and whether or not pets can live in the unit (sometimes this is the most important for renters). Another extremely important term in the lease agreement is the listed rent amount. Before signing, make sure this matches the amount you verbally agreed to!

2. One of the most important factors is the length

Length of a lease is perhaps the most common term of concern for renters. As far as length, the most common apartment lease terms are three, six, nine or 12-month leases. One other common lease term is a month-to-month lease. This is where a new month-long lease is renewed at the beginning of each month. Keep in mind, it’s difficult-to-impossible to get out of a lease early once you’ve signed it. Doing so can leave you financially liable for what is often a large sum of money.

3. Apartment lease terms are very consequential

Because of the water-tightness of most lease agreements, they’re very consequential agreements. You should be cautious and thoughtful before signing one. Some property owners may agree to let you change your lease or end it early, but none are under any obligation to do so. Since lease agreements are often up to a year long, you could be stuck in a bad one for up to that long. As long as you’re knowledgeable and read through the entire document, you’ll never be caught by surprise.

Bottom line: Read your apartment lease terms

The truth is, you should read your apartment lease terms. Though most property owners are not “out to get you,” you’re still signing a binding document that will affect your quality of life heavily. Beyond that, you’re agreeing to a specific payment amount that you’ll have to fulfill monthly. It’s a very serious agreement. Before you sign anything, read it carefully.

Stop by The Addison on Long Bayou for a tour!