Leasing and Rental Agreements

What is a Rental Application

Many of apartment complexes will first have your fill out a rental application and collect fees that will cover costs related to checking credit records, criminal records, leasing record, and other administrative costs.  If after these checks you are deemed a good rental candidate the next step will be to discuss available units (apartments, houses, townhouses, or condos) that the property management or landlord has for rent and then sign a lease for a property.  Some of the student oriented properties will have you sign a lease immediately - holding the property for you or at other properties the rental application acts as a hold for a property and the manager or landlord might have you sign the lease the day you move in.

What information will be collected or will you need to provide:

  • Personal information about each tenant moving into property;
  • Rental History;
  • Background Check (Need your drivers license or passport);
  • Pay Stub or Proof of Income
  • Credit Check (co-signer; guarantor)
  • Applications may not get approved if the person has ever been evicted from another property or has a bad credit history. Higher security deposits are requested from people with bad credit scores (FICO)

Here is an example of what a rental application might look like.

What is a Lease?

A lease is a legal and binding contract.  It defines the relationship between the tenant and the landlord or property manager and the property that the tenant is going to lease. It is not recommended to sign a lease before viewing the property you are interested in renting.  Also do not agree verbally to rent a property without a written lease or rental agreement.  A lease or rental agreement is a document that will protect you and give your legal recourse if there are serious problems that cannot be resolved between you and the landlord!  Here is a document from the North Carolina Bar Association that talks about Landlord-Renters Rights and Responsibilities.

Here is a sample of what you might see in a North Carolina lease agreement.

Get Your Agreements in Writing

Do NOT be pressured into signing a lease.  Some leasing managers will use your interest in the property to exert pressure – the apartment you desire might not be available, the special will expire, etc.  In the 2 mile area around UNCG there is now an surplus of student housing.  There will still be plenty of housing option throughout the academic year.  You will not be left out if you wait to make sure you are making a sound decision both personally and financially. Try to see the actual property you are going to rent – especially if it is a rental house or apartment with the house.  You want to make sure the property is in good condition.  See the list of things to be aware of from the Greensboro Housing Coalition.

Why a handshake shouldn’t seal the deal between landlords and tenants.

Not many years ago, small landlords frequently rented their properties on the basis of a handshake. But the landlord-tenant relationship has grown more complicated, for several reasons: Today, laws and regulations govern all aspects of renting residential property. There is greater turnover in tenants. Landlords have more responsibilities, tenants have more rights, and small claims court makes it easy to take disputes to a judge.  If a landlord doesn’t have a written lease agreement suggest they go to NC Legal Aid office in Greensboro – or maybe look somewhere else.

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