Signing the Right Lease
Joint Lease vs. Individual Lease
Leases are BINDING legal contracts. Signing a lease may be one of the most important things you do when moving off campus. Make sure you read and understand ALL leases fully before signing.
A lease is a contract between your landlord and you that spells out specific details of your living arrangement with the apartment community. Leases involve policies about deposits, pets, legal entry and other important information. There are two major types of leases: Joint Leases and Individual Leases.
A joint lease (known as a traditional lease) means a landlord will hold all roommates responsible for the lease. If one person breaks the lease, the other roommates are held responsible for paying the TOTAL rent. A joint lease is most common when renting a house or single-family dwelling.
In an individual lease, a landlord holds each person responsible for his or her own part of the rent and actions. For instance if one roommate breaks the lease, that person is still responsible for paying his or her own rent.
Individual leases are the best choice for most college students. Each person in the lease is responsible for his or her own actions and rent and not the actions and rent of a roommate.
Most landlords or apartment communities have the option of providing you with a joint or individual lease. Make sure you ask which option the apartment offers.
Student Legal Services will help you to understand the details of your lease and help you make an informed decision about what you are signing.