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DESCRIPTIONGet A Head Start. Lease Smart. The Lease. A lease is a legally binding contract. Whether or not you understand the lease, a court will require you (and your landlord) to follow the terms if you signed it. Any verbal promises made may NOT be legally binding. Read the Lease For:. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Get A Head StartLease Smart
The LeaseA lease is a legally binding contract.Whether or not you understand the lease, a court will require you (and your landlord) to follow the terms if you signed it.Any verbal promises made may NOT be legally binding.
Read the Lease For:Names: Renter(s) name(s) and landlords (or management companys)Description of unit and the rent owedHow you can pay your rent, when its due, when its considered late, and the penaltyWhat to do if you must leave before your lease is upWho pays utilitiesRules and regulations
What to Expect When You ApplyOn the ApplicationYour Social Security number or Drivers License NumberEmployment and income historyRental historyA guarantee form if your parents are paying the rentA credit report, background check, and rental history checkExpect to pay at least one months rent and a deposit equal to one months rent.
What is a Good Credit Score?Over 700 = GREAT660 - 680 = AverageThe higher the better!724615790660680
How to Obtain Your Credit ReportAccess one free credit report a year from each credit bureau at www.annualcreditreport.com. You must contact the individual credit bureaus for the other two free reports.EQUIFAX: 800-685-1111 www.equifax.comEXPERIAN: 888-397-3742 www.experian.com/freestateTRANS UNION: 800-888-4213 www.transunion.com
What About Deposits and Fees?A deposit can be refunded; a fee cant.You may pay fees for ending your lease early, pets, or parking.The most common deposit is a security deposit. It protects the landlord if you dont pay rent or if you damage the unit.If you tell your landlord youre moving out and dont owe any money for rent or damage, the landlord must return the security deposit within 30 days.
When Can the Landlord Keep Your Security Deposit?If you move out without paying the rent.If you (or your guests) are responsible for damages other than ordinary wear and tear.
How Can You Get Back All of Your Security Deposit?When you move in:Agree with the landlord about the condition of your unit.While you live there:Keep the unit in good condition.Report damages to the landlord and arrange for repairs.When you move out:Agree with the landlord about the condition of your unit.Be sure your landlord has your address!
More About Repairs and MaintenanceIts YOUR responsibility:To repair damages you or your guests or pets causeNot to substantially change the unit without permissionIts your landlords responsibility to:Make and pay for repairs to the unit that you/your guest/your pets didnt causeKeep the building structure and mechanics working
What If I Need to Leave Before My Lease Is Up?Most leases spell out what to do:A written notice to the landlordPay an early termination feeForfeit the security depositCould you sublease?Check your lease or ask the landlordGet it in writingWhose name will be on the lease?
What About Roommates?All persons who sign a lease are responsible for the total rent.Put all agreements about who pays what into a written signed document.Try to have all roommates sign on as responsible for all utilities.
To Sum UpRead the lease before signing it. Ask questions.Inspect the unit before you move in. Document damages.Take care of your unit. Report damages and needed repairs to the landlord.If you have roommates, make a written agreement about sharing costs and responsibilities.Document the condition of your unit when you move out. Get your security deposit back!
For individual help contact:The Peer Financial Counseling Program(insert web address, phone number, and/or e-mail)
Special Thanks to...
Welcome to Get A Head Start: Lease Smart sponsored by The Peer Financial Counseling Program from the (insert name of your campuss sponsor). My name is (counselors name). The purpose of this program is to help you to learn more about your rights as a renter. The material in this module was prepared by undergraduate students at the University of Georgia.Many college students live off campus. Most have very limited knowledge about rental laws, tenant rights, and how to deal with general concerns about renting houses and apartments. Many college students sign lease agreements without fully understanding the legally binding nature of their lease, and many do not even read their lease before signing on the dotted line. This presentation will help you to understand important information that all renters need.Its important to know that laws about landlord and tenant rights are state specific and the information in this presentation applies in Georgia and may not be true for other states. In addition, there may be local ordinances that affect your rights and responsibilities as renters. Also, none of us are lawyers so we cant give you legal advice.Please feel free to ask questions during the presentation.
As long as a lease is legal, a court can require you and the landlord to follow the terms. Read the lease. Take it home with you and read it. If you dont understand something, ask the landlord or someone you trust. Be sure you get a copy of the lease. Get any verbal promises in writing.If you dont have a lease, youre renting month to month. You can leave when you need to, but your landlord also can require you to leave without much notice.Activity: Whos Who in a Lease? Use HO#1 to help participants learn how to read a lease. HO#2 gives some explanation of the clauses in HO#1. Emphasize that its important for participants to read their own leases and NOT assume that theirs will be the same as the ones shown here.Theres lots of important information in the lease. If you will have roommates are their names on the lease too? If they arent, the landlord could expect you to pay the full rent unless each of you signs an individual lease.Be sure the unit youre renting is the one described in the lease and the rent is what you were told.Check the lease for fees including fees for paying the rent late, for bounced checks, and for ending the lease early.Check the lease to see what utilities (if any) are included in your rent.A list of rules and regulations may be in your lease or attached to your lease. The rules may cover a variety of topics about pets, parties, guests, parking, etc. Know the rules to avoid paying fines or being evicted. Activity: Whats in a Lease? Use HO#1 (Statement 2) to help participants learn how to read a lease. HO#2 gives simpler wording that explains the clauses in HO#1. A landlord wants to know if you will be a responsible tenant who will pay the rent on time and maintain the property. To find that out, theyll likely want to know several things.One is your credit history; they may ask for your Social Security number because they need that to access your credit report. You can (and should) see your own credit report before a perspective landlord does. Well tell you how in a minute.A perspective landlord will also want to know where youve worked and how much youve earned. After all, they want to know if you can pay the rent. They also want to know about previous places youve lived and if you paid the rent there. Theyll ask you for names of previous landlords so they can call them.If theres information in your background (a poor credit rating or a bad experience with a previous landlord) that may make a landlord reluctant to rent to you, offer to pay a larger deposit or ask your parents to guarantee the rent. A private landlord may be more willing to rent, especially if you can bring a set of letters as character references.Some landlords will run a criminal background check. Landlords usually dont accept applicants with several arrests or a felony.At the same time, the Georgia Fair Housing Law prohibits discrimination in housing and housing-related activities because of a persons age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, familial status, or disability.Whats a good credit score? One company, Fair Isaac, creates what are called FICO scores. Those range from 300 to 850. The higher your score the better, but you want to be above 660. The average FICO score in Georgia is around 660.You cant get your credit score for free but by federal law, you have a right to one free credit report a year from each credit bureau. You can access your free reports through a website.Georgia law entitles residents to receive 2 free copies of their credit report from each credit bureau every year. To get these free credit reports contact the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union. We recommend that you check all your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus at least once a year. Checking your credit report is also important to catch attempts by others to steal your identity.There are also companies that offer free credit reports with the use of their credit monitoring or management services. You also can get your credit report for free if youve been denied credit or insurance because of your credit history. You can also pay for your report (about $9) if you dont qualify for a free report.If you want to know more about credit reports and credit scores, ask me about that Peer Financial Counseling Program presentation.
Check the lease for fees and deposits. If there is a fee for having a pet or replacing your lock if you lose your key you wont get that money back.If theres a deposit, you can get that money back. You should get your security deposit back if youve paid the rent and havent damaged the unit. Activity: What About Fees and Deposits? Use HO#1 (Statement 3) to help participants learn how to read a lease. HO#2 gives simpler wording that explains the clauses in HO#1. If youve paid your rent and taken care of your unit, you should get your security deposit back. Landlords cant keep your security deposit because the carpet needs to be cleaned or the wa