Things You Need to Know Before Renting

  • The basic agreement between you and the property owner.
  • The lease may be made in writing or orally.
  • Whether written or oral, a lease is a legally binding document which is enforceable through the legal system.
  • If you move out before the end of the lease period, and the landlord has performed properly, you may be legally responsible to pay for the remainder of the lease, even though you do not live there any longer.
Security Deposits
  • Most landlords require a security deposit.
  • The landlord is allowed to collect a security deposit to cover the cost of unpaid rent charges, and repair of tenant-caused damage, in excess of normal wear and tear of the property.
  • If the total security deposit is greater than one month's rent, the landlord owes 5% interest on the amount in excess of one month's rent.
  • At the end of your tenancy, the landlord is required to refund your security deposit or submit a written itemized accounting of the money that is withheld.
  • The landlord is required to return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the time that the tenant gives up occupancy (i.e. moves out and turns in the key) and terminates the rental agreement. The tenant is required to provide the landlord with a forwarding address in writing.

Before renting a new place, you should inspect it carefully. Take notes about what you like or did not like, about it. Here are some things to look for and inquire about:

  • The condition of the building inside and out. Check for drafts, holes near the baseboards, etc. Never rent a place without seeing it in the daytime.
  • How is the lighting in the halls, stairways, main entrance, and in the unit itself?
  • What fire safety provisions are there (i.e. fire escapes, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems)?
  • What is the condition and adequacy of electrical wiring and outlets?
  • Are there locks on doors, screens, and windows?
  • How many phone jacks are there and where are their locations?
  • Check the water pressure by turning on the shower, bathtub, and faucets.
  • Look at the size of the refrigerator and freezer compartment. Are they large enough to accommodate the needs of all roommates?
  • The condition of the appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.) If they are old, they may not be energy efficient.
  • Who is responsible for repairs to the premises and care of the grounds (i.e. snow removal and lawn care)?
  • If it is an apartment complex, is there an on-premise superintendent or maintenance staff?

The federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where information concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. The Case Western Reserve University campus is located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Information concerning registered sex offenders in Cuyahoga County can be obtained a