Thinking of leasing a condo or changing your condo lease agreement?
When it comes to condo lease agreements, the main thing you should be concerned about is clarity. You might be worried that someone else might rent your dream condo out from under you if you don’t sign right away, but it’s never a good idea to sign a lease in a rush You need to make sure that everything is in order before signing a lease agreement for a condo.
What makes a condo lease different from other leases?
A condo lease is a lot like a regular apartment lease, but with more rules and governing bodies to deal with. What makes it unique is that both the tenant and landlord must abide by the landlord-tenant state laws in addition to the condo association’s rules. A normal condo association will have a hired managing director from outside of the holding company, as well as a board of trustees that are condo owners. These authorities make the bylaws that are unique to the condo. All of these condo association bylaws are in addition to the housing laws set forth by the state of Texas.
So, there are essentially two governing bodies dictating what can and can’t be done with your condo.
Here’s how to spot a quality lease agreement for your condo:
Always verify that the agreement outlines the length (term) of your lease, rent/security deposit, who pays for utilities, repair processes, landlord access procedures and rights, rules and bylaws, who pays for damages, and anything else that is specific to the condo in question.
Beyond this, you’ll need to read a copy of the condo association’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Checking both agreements helps you make sure that you’re not walking into a different living situation than you thought.
As mentioned above, you want clarity from your lease agreement. Never skip over anything in the contract.
Ask Questions and Get Everything In Writing
If something in the lease is vague or arbitrary, make sure the specific terms are specified in writing. For example, things like renovations for problems you found during the walk-through… Write down where, when, who and how the renovations will be completed, and attach it or have a new lease agreement written up with the clarified agreement in place.
Clarify whether your rent includes utilities, in-condo repairs, use of on-site amenities, maintenance fees for common areas and property taxes. Also, check to see whether you are responsible for condo association fees that are increased during your lease period. While you’re looking over the agreement, check if there is an escalation clause that raises the rent during a renewed lease period after the initial term. Also, if the owner sells, make sure to include their responsibility to notify you before showing the place to potential buyers.
These details matter, big time. Here’s why:
If something goes sideways like the condo association goes bankrupt, your landlord fails to pay association fees, or some other unforeseen circumstance calls for legal action, the outcome will be determined by your condo lease agreement.
Having your lease agreement dialed in before you sign it can mean the difference between getting shouldered with someone else’s financial obligations or living in peace in your condo. Do everything you can to get clarity around every aspect of your lease agreement AND get it in writing before you sign anything.
Help from legal experts is available if you think you’ve been a victim of unfair housing practices or negligence on the part of your landlord and/or a condo corporation.
Contact Malley Law Firm for a no-risk consultation.