Lease Like a Pro

What Every Renter Needs to Know

Understanding what a lease is can be important when starting to look for apartments. Looking for apartments and moving out of a childhood home can be a central part of life for college students. Having a plan is the most important part, said Cam Harrison, a Bowling Green landlord and real estate agent.

For WKU students, finding an apartment won’t be on their minds until their junior year. At WKU all undergraduate students are required to live on campus for two years so they have some time to get comfortable before they start looking. But when they do they’ll know just what to do.

“You’ll find what you want to lease on whatever website, whether that’s, Zillow or Facebook and then reach out to the landlord, and they’ll kind of give you a rundown of when it’ll be available,” Harrison said.

Harrison said he encourages renters to ask as many questions as they can about a new place. Questions like “Are pets allowed?”, “What happens if the rent is late?”, “How much are utilities and are they included in rent?” and any other burning questions needed before living there.

“Then you should be able to see the unit. I mean you want to see where you’re living and kind of plan out everything and see if the area is good,” Harrison said. “After that you’ll sign a lease, put down a deposit and start paying rent.”

Leases can be confusing but it can be much worse if leasing the nicest apartment is a goal. He said those on their own for the first time shouldn’t bite off more than they can chew.

“You can negotiate a lease. Landlords are obviously just normal people,” Harrison said. “If you think you can get the price down a little bit or if they’ll allow a pet or two, it doesn’t hurt to ask or try to persuade them,” Harrison said.

He said other common misconceptions can be that a deposit will be given back after the lease is over. Most likely, if there is any damage to the apartment the money will not be given back. Harrison said to always read the fine print and do research into the place while looking at housing options.
“Make sure you understand what you’re signing for before you sign it because after you sign it there’s really nothing you can argue against,” Harrison said.