One of the first things you typically do when you find a place to live Is sign a lease! So… what is a lease? And what are you signing? A lease is an agreement between the landlord and tenant, you To transfer possession of the property For a certain period of time in exchange for payment A lease is legal and binding So make you sure you read it through before you sign anything If you have any questions, ask your landlord To be safe, it is always a good idea to have someone read through the lease for you to make sure your okay with what you’re signing We recommend that a lease should always be in writing Once signed, a lease can only be amended if you and the landlord agree to the changes in writing Some landlords offer a pre-lease to hold your spot This too is a legal document Types of leases There are different types of leases Some leases are for the whole house or apartment Whereas others are just for your bedroom When you have an apartment or house lease You are signing for the whole apartment That means everyone on the lease is responsible for the whole aparment If one of your roommates doesn’t pay their share of rent You may be responsible for the entire payment! An individual lease is for your specific bedroom This means that you are only responsible for that rent and not the whole apartment This is good news in case you have some unreliable roommates The negative to this type of lease is that the apartment complex Can in some cases, assign you a roommate Though, many of them offer roommate matching options Or can even allow you to specify your roommates Most apartment complexes that cater to students offer individual leases Most leases you will sign will be for a fixed term or a length of time Before you sign, make sure know if the lease for the the calendar year which is 12 months Or the academic year which is typically 10 months There are some places that are month-to-month This gives you flexibility as you are not required to stay for the entire year But The landlord has the right to terminate the lease at any time with 30 days notice You should consider short-term leases if you are planning to study abroad or have a similar need There are a number of important things that should be in your lease It should state the beginning and end date The amount of rent and deposit List what utilities and furniture included Specify if pets are allowed List the name of the owner and the manager And specify the rules of behavior Especially ones that will get you kicked out Legal advice The Associated Students of the University of Arizona ASUA Offers free legal services including advice and answers to legal questions about your lease They’ll even look over your lease with you before you sign it So remember Signing a lease is a legally binding contract The UA off-campus housing office is here to help you!