One of the biggest decisions you face when apartment hunting is the lease term. The length of the lease partially depends on the available lease options, but it also depends on whether you prefer a long or short-term lease.
The document that the landlord and tenant sign that contains the terms and conditions of the occupancy of the rental property is called a lease. If you are renting an apartment with a roommate, he or she also has to sign the lease. Leases are available for the long or short term.
A short-term lease typically lasts six months or less. It could also be a month-to-month arrangement.
A short-term lease has certain advantages, which can make it a practical option.
A short-term lease provides flexibility in that it allows you to experience the neighborhood and the unit. This can be ideal if you are new to a city; you can then choose to live in multiple places in the city or change cities altogether without the pressure of having to wait several months until the lease ends. Short-term leases also make it easier to live if your job requires frequent relocation.
Short-term leases provide the freedom to be able to move on short notice. It can also come in handy if you’re in between homes or building a new one.
Short-term leases can be damaging to your credit score if you routinely change apartments. This is large because landlords will be requesting your credit history each time you move. Multiple inquiries drive credit scores down.
Although short-term leases offer flexibility, they can also become a bit of a hassle. You’ll find yourself constantly packing and unpacking, apartment hunting, and going through the apartment inspection process each time your lease agreement expires.
Landlords want long-term tenants because it saves them time and money. To that end, most won’t offer lease agreements for less than six months at a time, and those who do will probably charge a higher monthly rent for the unit.
A leasing term that lasts six months or more is considered a long-term lease.
A long-term lease means you don’t have to worry about renewing your lease for at least six months. This gives you an opportunity to settle into your new place and explore everything your new neighborhood has to offer.
Some landlords allow long-term tenants the option of customizing the interior of their apartment as long as it complies with the terms and conditions of the lease.
Landlords like the idea of having a long-term tenant so most will offer lower rental rates or special discounts for longer lease terms.
Becoming a long-term tenant has its perks, and one is definitely the ability to establish a rental history with your landlord. This becomes especially helpful when you need a reference for a new place or a new landlord to research your rental history.
There are more available apartment units to choose from since landlords favor long-term leases.
Since you will be staying for a long term, you might have to get things fixed, which can be costly.
Some people don’t like staying in one place and live their lives constantly on the move. Long-term leases may not be ideal for this type of tenant as they may be tempted to break their lease agreement, which comes with a host of financial and legal penalties.
One lease is not necessarily better than the other. The lease option you choose should be based on your lifestyle and living situation. Weigh the pros and cons of both before signing on the dotted line.