Thinking About Renting?

By : Travis Brenner

Are you considering renting a property? As either the landlord or the tenant, it is important to understand the key provisions of your lease agreement. Below is a list of some key provisions to pay attention to when entering into a lease agreement.

1. The Security Deposit – Be cognizant of the deposit amount. Generally, one month’s rent is the standard amount for a security deposit. However, in certain situations a landlord may require a larger deposit. Also, be aware of when the deposit should be returned and what conditions need to be met to avoid a dispute over the rental deposit.

2. Termination and Early Termination – Know the length of your lease and what happens when it expires. The lease could auto-renew or transition into a month-to-month lease. If you wish to terminate your lease early, it is essential to understand what notice must be given to the landlord and the process to follow.

3. Subletting – If you need to move, will the lease allow you to sublet to another renter? What are the requirements and procedures for subletting? Does the landlord need to approve of the new renter? No one plans to sublet their new place when signing a lease. However, it is a common issue that arises. People’s lives change.

Some other important things to be aware of: guest policy, pet policy, condition of the property prior to moving in, how/when the landlord may enter the property, and how maintenance issues will be handled. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of lease provisions and you should carefully read through the entire lease agreement before signing it. If you need help understanding, drafting, or revising a lease, an experienced real estate attorney can help.


Travis has been a law clerk at Hartung Schroeder for the past year and will join the firm as an associate attorney upon completing his JD and MBA at Drake University. Some of his experience includes assisting clients with forming nonprofit organizations and other business entities as a student attorney in the Drake Legal Clinic. In the future, he hopes to develop a real estate practice that will complement the firm’s diverse areas of practice.