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Before You Sign Your Lease

Happy couple dancing in their new apartment Are you moving this spring? Have you been accepted into college or a graduate program that requires relocation or apartment living? Before you pack the moving truck and mark your calendar, you need to review your lease and purchase renter’s insurance. Why are these two seemingly-unimportant steps so essential to the moving process?

Reviewing Lease Terms

Do you know what you’re signing? Don’t treat the lease for your apartment or home like you do the updated terms and conditions on your phone apps! Every renter should have a lawyer review the terms of the lease before signing. A lawyer can examine the lease to ensure that the terms are fair and in your favor. Are you responsible for covering repair costs? Can you keep your pets? What you don’t know could cause you to unwittingly break your lease or spend a great deal of money.

A lease review is also important when moving into student housing. A paper you sign that might appear to be an intent to lease could legally act as a binding agreement and lease. Always have a lawyer review any student housing documentation before signing.

If any lease terms are not appropriate or illegal, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf or notify the landlord appropriately. This is especially important if you will be renting from a person or small landlord, who might not have hired a lawyer to draft the lease, and not a large property management company.

Renter’s Insurance 101

Renter’s insurance is a policy that covers a tenant’s possessions, up to the value of the policy. This insurance can also offer liability insurance if anyone is injured inside of the rented space. Even when you do not own an apartment or home, you might still have liability for accidents or damage. Renter’s insurance aims to offset that.

What Does Renter’s Insurance Usually Cover?

  • Personal property, like electronics, clothing, furniture and valuable goods
  • Damage to the rented property in the case of a covered situation like theft, water damage, smoke damage or fire
  • Personal liability if someone visiting the rented space is injured or damages something inside of the space

Why Does Renter’s Insurance Matter?

Many renters hesitate when purchasing insurance policies because of misconceptions about what policies cover and the financial impact of a tragedy. Renter’s insurance:

  • Covers expenses that an emergency fund could not. An affordable policy can cost as little as $150/year, which is much less than a tenant would spend replacing items.
  • Will reimburse you for damaged goods of any worth up to the value of your policy. Did you know that most tenants have between $20,000-$30,000 worth of items? From inexpensive furniture to high-end electronics, as long as a tenant has the right policy replacing the items will be completely covered.
  • Can also kick in when traveling if items are stolen or damaged.
  • Could cover additional living costs if the space is uninhabitable for a period of time, including hotel costs.
  • Could protect against lawsuits relating to injuries inside of the rented space.

How Much Coverage Should You Purchase?

Your policy should cover the total value of your personal property, in addition to any liability coverage you want to add in the event of an injury. Any good insurance provider should be able to find you the right renter’s policy. Not sure how much a lawsuit could cost you if someone is injured in your home? Work with your lawyer to get an idea.

Get Help on Your Lease from Lebovitz Law

Lebovitz Law has years of experience working with landlords and tenants to navigate the legal system and receive the best legal outcome possible. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.

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