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Understanding Your Lease & House Rules

Learn what you need to know about apartment leases, rental agreements, apartment applications, and house rules. Be prepared for when it's time to sign or break a lease, and read helpful tips for when you need to negotiate.

Apartment Lease Basics
Discover what every tenant should know when it comes to apartment leases.

Top 5 Valid Excuses for Not Following Apartment Rules
If you think an apartment rule is unfair, you may have both logic and the law on your side. Find out how you can successfully argue your way out of a violation.

Readers Respond - Breaking Your Lease
Readers tell their story about how they broke their lease, whether they had to pay any penalties, and what they might do differently next time. Add your own!

Is It Better to Sign an Apartment Lease for One Year or Two Years?
Before you commit to a one-year or two-year lease term, take a moment to consider the pros and cons of each option.

What to Do About Your Apartment Lease When You Want to Buy a Home
Many renters who are looking to buy a home feel as if they're in a bind when it comes to coordinating the end of their apartment lease with the move into their new home. But there may be other options available to you in this situation.

Your Right to Remain a Tenant if Your Apartment Building Goes Into Foreclosure
If your landlord can't pay the mortgage and your apartment building goes into foreclosure, a federal law ensures that you won't be on the street tomorrow.

Decide Between a Fixed-Term Lease and a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
The type of rental arrangement you choose is a key component to consider when looking for an apartment.

When to Prorate Your First Month's Rent
If you don't move into your new apartment until the middle of a month, you may be entitled to owe rent for just part of that month. Find out when your landlord should prorate your first month's rent.

How to Prorate Apartment Rent
If an apartment you wish to rent will be ready before the first of the month, you and your landlord may agree to start your lease earlier. Here's how to calculate the "prorated rent" that you should pay in this situation.

Check Apartment Lease Before Buying a Pet
Tenants who never intended to own a pet sometimes change their mind in the middle of the lease term and suddenly have the desire for canine or feline companionship. If you find yourself in this situation, don't let your enthusiasm get in the way of checking whether your landlord allows pets and, if so, what rules tenants who own pets must follow.

Do Your Landlord's Rules Unfairly Discriminate Against Children?
Given the law's protection for families with children, you might wonder why so many landlords appear to get away with adopting and enforcing rules that single out children.

Guarantors FAQ
Read answers to commonly asked questions about guarantors and why you might need one when you're looking to rent an apartment.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act
If you're a member of the U.S. military, read about your rights when it comes to breaking leases, evictions, interest rates, and court proceedings.

How to Negotiate an Apartment Lease
A step-by-step explanation of how to get better terms before you sign your apartment lease.

Eviction Notice - What to Do
Did you just get a notice of eviction? Know your rights.

How to Renew Your Lease
A step-by-step guide on how to renew your lease.

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