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Once you find your new home, the next step is to sign a lease with your landlord.

A lease is a written rental agreement outlining the terms you and your landlord have agreed to. As a lease is a legal document, it is important to ensure you read and understand it. You can ask someone to go over it with you, such as a relative, friend, staff member at an immigrant-serving organization, or even a lawyer.

Most leases include:

  • Names and contact information for you and your landlord.
  • Rental address.
  • Monthly rent you have agreed to pay, with or without utilities, parking, cable television or other services.
  • Date the rent is due, i.e., the first day of each month, and the amount of any future rental increases.
  • Rental period, i.e., one year or month-to-month.
  • Conditions for terminating or canceling the lease, or subletting the property, which is finding another renter if you want to leave before the rental period in the lease agreement is over.
  • List of the repairs or upkeep that will be your responsibility.
  • Any other restrictions, including smoking or pets.
  • Details on when and how the landlord can enter your home.
  • Procedures for changing the lease and resolving disagreements

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