Things Your Parents Never Taught You: Leasing Language 101

WELCOME! To our first blog in a long series of blogs about “Things Your Parents Never Taught You”(Check out our other ones HERE!). We are hoping to ease the lives of college students everywhere not only by making their student housing process easier, but also helping them understand the small details of being an adult.


While some folks have a knack for picking up languages from around the globe, mastering lease language can feel like tackling Mount Everest. It’s a barrage of information all at once, often leaving you wondering if you’re getting the short end of the stick. Fear not friends, Find My Place is here to guide you through the maze and shed light on all your burning questions!

First off,

What Exactly is a Lease?

In simple terms, a lease is a contract where one party hands over land, property, or services to another for a specified period in exchange for regular payments. In the realm of student apartments, leases can be transferred from one student to another or from property management to students. All leases are signed through a property management website and typically last for a year (with the option to renew if you’re smitten with your digs).

So, What’s Involved in Applying for a Lease?

Congratulations! If you’ve reached this stage, chances are you’ve found a pad you fancy. Applying for a lease involves providing information about your identity, financial capabilities, and other pertinent details for the property owner’s consideration. This step is not a lease contract, but rather a precursor to the real deal.

Now, onto the Contract!

You’ve applied and been given the thumbs up. The property managers send over the contract, and it might as well be written in hieroglyphics. It’s chock-full of details about finances, parking details, and who’s on the hook for what. But fear not, understanding is key.


And I mean really understand it. Let’s dive into some key terms:


What is a Security Deposit?

Think of it like this: certain gyms have fancy equipment up for grabs, but you can’t touch it unless you leave something valuable behind as collateral. Similarly, landlords ask for a hefty sum upfront to ensure you’re serious about moving in and won’t turn their property into a circus ring. If, by chance, there’s an incident (like accidentally redecorating the living room wall with your roommate’s help), and it’s not fixed upon move-out, expect a deduction from your security deposit. It’s all about keeping the place shipshape.

What are Utilities Fees? 

Ever been scolded by your folks for leaving the fridge door ajar? They’re probably fretting over utility bills, and rightly so. As a fledgling adult, utility costs can seem like daylight robbery. But hey, water isn’t exactly liquid gold. Your lease likely stipulates that alongside rent, you’ll be footing the bill for utilities like water, gas, electricity, and maintenance fees. And yes, that fridge door does make a difference.

What is Subletting?

Picture this: you’re loving your apartment during the school year, but come summer, you’ve got plans to become rich and buy a Ferrari. Fear not, you can still hang onto your apartment by subletting it to a friend while you’re away. It’s a more informal arrangement than your original lease, more of a handshake deal between you (the tenant) and your buddy (the sublessee). Just bear in mind, not all landlords allow subleasing.

What is Early Termination?

So, you committed to a year-long lease but circumstances change, and you need an early exit. That’s where early termination comes in. Find someone willing to take over your lease, navigate the extra fees, and make the move-out arrangements. It’s like breaking up with your apartment, but with paperwork.

What are Rental Agreement Disclosures?

If you’re eyeing an apartment in a college town that’s been around since the dinosaurs, chances are some buildings are showing their age. Cue potential hazards like asbestos or lead paint. But fear not, lease agreements legally disclose any risks of exposure to hazardous materials. Safety first!


Navigating the complexities of lease language can often feel daunting, leaving many feeling uncertain and overwhelmed. From understanding the fundamentals of a lease to decoding intricate terms like security deposits, utilities fees, subletting, early termination, and rental agreement disclosures, we empower you to make informed decisions about your student apartment. With our comprehensive guide, you’ll emerge as a leasing language pro, ready to confidently navigate the world of rental agreements.


Think the apartment you found might not be your vibe? Find My Place is THE BEST PLACE to find and sell contracts! We have over 200 available contracts from condos, complexes, and (YES!) houses. All from students like you!

Check out all of our available contracts here!


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