So you’ve found the perfect apartment in downtown Phoenix, and you want it to be yours. You might be wondering, what do I have to do to make this apartment mine? We’ve got you covered.
At Moontower, we’ve helped many people sign apartment leases, and understand that it can be a complicated process.
For this reason, we are explaining exactly how to complete an application and sign a lease at a downtown Phoenix apartment, plus important things to look out for when signing.
Step 1: Understanding Your Application
Before we dive into the details of how to secure a lease to an apartment, it’s important to understand what the application process looks like and requires.
Before you can sign a lease, you’ll be required to complete a rental application. This is the first step to securing your new apartment.
The application can typically be completed online on the property’s website or in person at the leasing office.
There’s typically an application fee that varies by property, which can range anywhere from around $20-100. This will be due at the time you complete your application.
Step 2: Completing Your Application
When you are ready to complete your application, you’ll want to know which floor plan you’re interested in, how many months you want your lease term to be, and have all your personal information handy to fill out.
During the application process, you will typically need to provide certain documents to qualify for the apartment. These often include your bank account statements, pay stubs, and Social Security number. These documents are required for the property owner to conduct a credit check, which gives insight into if the tenant is in a good financial standing and is likely to be able to afford the rent without any issues.
Property managers use the credit check as just one way to assess the tenant’s reliability and determine the likelihood of them defaulting on the lease agreement.
To learn more about what is typically required to qualify for an apartment, and why landlords require certain criteria, check out How Do I Qualify to Rent an Apartment at Moontower?
It’s important to note that the application does not legally bind you to a lease – it is just the first step to securing your apartment. Even if you are approved, you can still change your mind about living there, you’ll just be out the application fee.
Once you submit your application, it’s time to sign your lease!
Step 3: Understanding Your Lease
Before we dive into the details of how to sign a lease, it is important to understand what a lease really is.
Simply put, an apartment lease is a written agreement between a landlord and tenant that establishes the terms and conditions of the use and occupancy of a dwelling.
Traditional leases are the most common when looking to rent an apartment in downtown Phoenix. A traditional lease requires you (and your roommates, if applicable) to sign one contract with your landlord, holding you liable for paying rent each month for the entire lease.
If you have roommates, you are all equally liable, and it will be up to you to decide how to split up the rental rate. You may choose to divide it equally, or based on factors like room size. Regardless, all tenants are equally responsible for paying rent and covering the costs of potential damages.
If you are considering a coliving apartments, this will work a bit differently. Each roommate is only responsible for their own rent share as stated in the lease agreement. Unlike traditional apartments, you’re not accountable for splitting rent among roommates. If a roommate leaves or misses rent, it won’t be your responsibility.
To learn more about the difference between coliving and traditional leases, check out our Which is Right for Me? Coliving vs. Traditional Apartments in Downtown Phoenix, AZ article.
Step 4: Reviewing Your Lease
Before you sign a legally binding document, it is important to understand the process of signing one. You will want to understand the specific terms of your lease, plus what happens once you’re ready to sign.
An apartment lease is usually around 40 pages, and it is important that you read each page so you understand what you will be held accountable for. Keep in mind, this is a legally binding contract, so it is important to know exactly what you’re getting into.
It is important to know the specific terms of your lease. You will want to pay close attention to:
- Important Dates – Think move-in, move-out, holidays, renewals, etc. You’ll want to mark these on your calendar and be sure to take note of which dates are applicable to you.
- Important Fees – Your lease should specify fees that are included in your rental rate as well as additional fees that you may be expected to pay. Be sure to look out for any unexpected fees before you sign. To learn more about what additional costs are typically associated with the application and rental process, check out our 13 Additional Costs to Consider When Looking for an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix article.
- Rent Amount and Due Date – You’ll want to be sure that the rental rate is what you are expecting, as well as when your rent is due each month. This way, you will have no surprises when it comes to rental rate, and you can avoid late fees.
- Renters Insurance – While renters insurance is always a good idea to have, some apartments require it. Also, some apartments offer rental insurance of their own for a small fee, which may be optional or required, so be sure to understand the policy before signing.
- Pet Policy – If you’re planning on bringing a furry friend, be sure the pet policy is what you’re expecting. You’ll want to look out for pet deposit and/or pet rent fees, plus any limitations on breed or size.
- Length of the Lease – Leases for apartments can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, but make sure to ask before you sign! If you are interested in renewing your lease once your term is over, you typically have the option to do so. Be sure to look out for the date by which you have to renew to ensure you can stay in your current unit, or reach out to your apartment’s leasing team.
- Breaking your Lease – While nobody wants to have to break their lease, life happens, and it is best to know what would happen if this scenario were to occur. Familiarize yourself with the policy just-in-case.
Step 5: Time to Sign!
Once you’ve reviewed the lease and have had all your questions answered, it’s time to sign!
When you know what to look for, signing a lease for an apartment can be a simple process. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Moontower leasing team, who is happy to answer any questions you might have about your search for housing.