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Tenant Advice :: Read Your Lease Before Signing

read your lease

Read Your Lease

It’s tough to find an affordable rental in New Orleans these days. It can be even tougher to deal with your landlord if you don’t take the time to read your lease and know what you are committing to. Once you’ve moved in is not the time to discover some quirky term that will make the next 12 months not so pleasant.

Quirky terms?

We’ve seen some doozies thrown into leases lately. Here are a few of the “different” lease terms that landlords have requested (and the exact reason why you should review that lease very, very carefully).

  • Service call fees (ie, if the landlord has to come fix something, they will charge a service call fee to the tenant)
  • No appliance repairs – if it breaks, tenants are on their own to repair or replace
  • Garage space excluded from lease so landlord can use it as a storage unit
  • Requiring tenants to install wall to wall rugs to protect the wood floors that are probably half the reason they wanted to rent there to begin with
  • No potted plants allowed inside house (huh?)
  • Nothing allowed on porch. No plants. No chairs. No decorations. Not even a front door wreath.

It’s clear that some of these landlords have had a bad experience with tenants in the past. That’s the only reason we can come up to explain a couple of these requirements.

Other terms to review

What are the late fees and when are they incurred? Most leases have a 5 day grace period, but it’s important to know before you sign.

Subleasing rules. If your plan is to AirBnB that place during Jazz Fest, you need to know what the rules are. Hint: most standard leases prohibit subleases. 

Pet deposits – refundable or not? This is a huge deal for pet owners, because pet deposits vary wildly from property to property. Some are refundable, some are not. You need to be clear on what to expect at the end of your lease term.

Are there move out and cleaning fees? Watch the fine print for any automatic charges assessed at the end of the lease.

Return of deposit. Standard leases require the landlord to return your security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease. But if your lease has different terms, the time to learn about them is not on day 31 after you vacate.


Have questions about renting in New Orleans? Call us today at 504-327-5303 and we’ll be happy to help you find what you’re looking for. 


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New Orleans REALTORS providing home buying, selling, and rental services throughout the metropolitan New Orleans communities.

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Real buying, selling, and renting advice from New Orleans REALTORS