UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Leases are legally binding documents and need to be read carefully before signing. Do not agree to anything orally. There may be a future dispute and oral agreements are much harder to prove in court. Always put your lease in writing. It protects you as the tenant and the landlord as well by defining rental terms, rules, and expectations.
Before you sign the lease, READ EVERYTHING CAREFULLY.
If you do not understand everything it says, get legal assistance by consulting an attorney. An attorney will charge a minimal fee and may even aid you for free for the first half hour of consultation.
All responsibilities, promises, and modifications you and the landlord have agreed upon should be spelled out in writing within the lease and signed by you and the landlord. Always keep a copy of the signed lease.
If you are sharing an apartment, try to avoid signing a lease with your roommate as you may be held responsible for the entire amount of rent as well as for any damages. A separate lease for each individual covering the amount of his/her rent and security deposit should be requested.
Any changes within the lease should be initialed by all parties concerned.
See the disputes with your landlord page for resources that not only can be used in conflicts but are helpful for finding answers to your questions regarding leases.