If you are getting ready to move into an apartment then you should educate yourself about leases. Many people do not want to be bothered reading it, but forget that a lease is a legal binding document and not every lease contains the same information. Before you sign one you should educate yourself on what they usually contain and what it means when you sign one.
For the most part the lease is the contract between yourself and the landlord which defines what you and the landlord can and can not do. Once you sign the dotted line you are agreeing to the terms within the document so it is important that you read the entire document including the fine print.
For the most part all leases contain some standard information including landlord / tenant's name, rent amount, property address, security deposit and the start and end date of the lease. While these are pretty much standard in all leases here are some clauses that can also be seen in a lease:
1. Pet Policy
2. Consequences of Late Rent Payment
3. What services are included in rent (utilities, snow removal, garbage removal etc.)
4. Landlords right of entry
So when you have finally found the right apartment and it is time to sign the lease make sure you read it over carefully. If something does not make sense or something is in it that you did not agree to, bring it to the landlord's attention. And remember for a lease to be valid it must be signed by both parties.
For more information visit About.com All About Apartment Leases