How to Read and Understand a Lease Agreement Correctly


Whether you’re a first-time or a long-time renter looking for a new home, the lease agreement is one of the most important documents you’ll encounter. Reading it correctly before you affix your signature can save you time, money and future grief.

What You Should Expect

Never expect that a lease agreement will be the same as any other lease you’ve signed in the past. No matter how many times you may have rented, or if you’ve owned a home before, no two leases are the same. Just when you think you’ve seen every conceivable provision, a new detail appears.

Leases specify more than just how long you’ll be living at an address or the dollar amount of your monthly rent. Most provide often-overlooked details such as use of common areas, security deposit amounts, occupancy restrictions and the landlord’s policy on replacing damaged items. A lease should also contain a termination clause detailing penalties for breaking a lease before it expires. A repair clause specifies rules between tenant and landlord with regards to who is responsible for paying when repairs are necessary.  

Other provisions you should expect to see include a right-of-entry clause and information on subletting. Regulations clauses list rules such as permissible noise levels at certain times of each day.

Lease Checklist

Many leases contain paragraph after paragraph of tiny type. When a lease can be incredibly long and convoluted, navigating such a complicated lease can be overwhelming. Rather than trying to tackle the document as a whole, approach it as you would a checklist . Doing so organizes a way to ensure you don’t sign something that doesn’t meet your approval. Be sure to carefully review these six categories:

The Basics

Don’t take accuracy of essential information for granted. Is the address of the property correct? Does the lease specify by name who manages the property and their appropriate contact information? You should see the amounts for rent and any associated fee penalties for late payment. Beginning and ending rental dates must be clearly stated.

The document should specify any appliances furnished with the unit, such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher. Look for stated options to renew the lease, the policy regarding rent increases and what you have to do before vacating the property.

Fido and Fifi

The agreement needs to state whether pets are allowed or not. It should specify pet fees and limitations such as breed, weight limit, and number of animals permitted.

Maintenance and Alterations

Look for language stating that the landlord is responsible for completing and paying for repairs. If you plan on living in the residence for more than a short period, make sure the lease addresses allowable alterations such as changing paint colors. Look for phrasing that specifies move-out conditions for alterations: i.e. if you make alterations, are you responsible for restoring the unit to its move-in condition when you leave?

Utility Charges

Although some communities now furnish cable TV or Internet services, tenants are often responsible for paying the monthly costs. Some landlords pay for water, electricity, or gas. Make sure the lease stipulates for which services you are monetarily responsible for.


Are you likely to accept a job out of the area? Do you serve in the U.S. military? If your circumstances change you’ll need to know if the lease permits you to sublet and if you would incur any penalties for early departure. It should also state whether you or the leasing agent is responsible for finding a tenant for subletting.

Community Rules

These are the rules and policies regarding guests, use of clubhouses and extended tenant absences. Look for language about storage, maximum occupancy, and any tenant insurance requirements.

Knowing how to read a lease is crucial for a happy stay in a new home. Also, listen to what a landlord says. Ideally, prospective renters and the landlord will review the lease together. Make sure that what the property owner or the leasing agent states isn’t contradicted in the lease. If you suspect that it does, get the correct information in writing. This is the time when you should attempt to negotiate any terms you consider unsatisfactory. Finally, inspect the property and submit a written list of any damages or deficiencies before agreeing to make it your new home.

Completing and Distributing Financial Forms Digitally

Financial forms


Since 2009, HSI Trust, LTD. has been helping clients take back control of their finances, working “primarily in situations where [clients] are having difficulty with their mortgage, but also student loans, credit cards, anything on the financial side,” said Bruce Boguslav, Executive Director of the organization.

Because HSI Trust works in the field of non-profit consumer advocacy to assist individuals across the country, “We don’t sell product, we just work with [clients] to either negotiate with their lender or various things like that,” Boguslav said.

Featured on ABC’s World News Tonight and Nightline as well as in the Huffington Post, HSI Trust are experts in their field and serve customers across the country. With such wide outreach, massive demand for their services, and the need to process and distribute huge numbers of financial documents, HSI Trust needed an effective digital document management solution to streamline their workflow.


The Problem

Working in the financial space, Boguslav and his team at HSI Trust needed an efficient digital document management solution that was simple, quick, and cost-effective.

Because they are helping to solve a range of financial issues for clients across the country, HSI Trust works with hundreds of different forms. “We’re dealing with various types of forms for submission,” said Boguslav. “There’s a gazillion, depending on what the issue is… We’ve got our own that we use to gather information with our clients, some basic financial [forms], then there’s some additional paperwork that goes with very specific [financial situations]… Some come in fax; some come in all different formats.”

Before PDFfiller, forms came in various formats and were difficult to distribute, manage, complete, store and return. Boguslav knew that he needed a digital solution, but couldn’t find an adequate tool for the job.

“We were using different PDF [tools] – we have an older version of Acrobat we’re using occasionally. We’ve also tried something called CutePDF. We’ve been through a couple different tools. Yeah, in some cases- we’ve been doing this since 2006- earlier, we were literally doing cut and paste. Or you’d [have to] scan it four times,” Boguslav said.


Before switching to PDFfiller, HSI Trust struggled with the complex feature set of Adobe Acrobat. Expensive and clumsy, Acrobat was a less than perfect solution. So too were other online PDF tools which did not provide the same ease-of-use features and functionality as PDFfiller. An analog, paper-based solution was inadequate – being too slow, time-consuming, and personnel dependent.

But then HSI Trust found PDFfiller. “After struggling with some of the other tools and then looking at Acrobat and the cost of upgrading, we just decided to try [PDFfiller]. It works!” said Boguslav.

The Solution

PDFfiller makes it easy to collate, complete, distribute, and return forms. With its intuitive user interface, PDFfiller makes document management simple.

Now, instead of completing forms by hand or using a complex, clumsy digital solution, Boguslav, HSI Trust, and clients can complete forms digitally; creating a faster, more legible and organized workflow.

“Mostly what we’re doing is setting it up here, in-house, and then either emailing to the client, or else we’re just using it ourselves,” said Boguslav. “In some cases, we’re emailing it to the client, and then we have a copy, they have a copy, and we can walk [them through] the form – it’s a lot simpler. And sometimes we’ll have them fill in parts of it; sometimes we’ll just take the information over the phone and fill it in. Occasionally, they’ll email us other documents,” which can then be consolidated with other digital forms to create a comprehensive folder of client information. “So either for us internally, or in some cases, with clients, being able to email and let them fill in [forms] – it makes life a lot simpler.”


With all the documents distributed and collected by HSI Trust, finding an efficient means of storage was critical. Going digital means that those thousands of documents can be stored remotely in the cloud or on secure hard drive-based digital storage. Documents kept on PDFfiller’s cloud-based system are always accessible, meaning you can edit, send, and sign from anywhere you have an internet connection.

PDFfiller relies on Amazon’s S3 servers and adds two-factor authentication and PIN-protected folders to ensure sensitive documents are always kept secure.

With PDFfiller, “either clients or our staff fill in [forms and] instead of trying to deal with all these different forms in different formats, we’re able to put them in one place – [PDFfiller] makes life a lot simpler,” said Boguslav. “This lets us put a package together.

Moreover, when dealing with financial forms, being able to add signatures is crucial. PDFfiller allows users to add a signature by drawing on their touch-sensitive device, scanning it in, or simply holding a copy up to their computer’s camera. Once saved in PDFfiller’s system, a digital signature is available to use on any of your digital documents in just a click – “[adding digital signatures] is coming in handy,” said Boguslav. And with PDFfiller’s advanced SendToSign feature, you can send digital documents to clients or colleagues for signature and have them returned automatically.


More advanced features available through PDFfiller’s intuitive online graphical interface include the ability to highlight important information, redact sensitive text, add sticky notes to direct clients’ attention to specific issues, and even API connectivity, which allows users to post documents directly to their website and have them completed by others without ever leaving the page.

This combination of powerful and easy-to-use features make “[PDFfiller] a nice fit for us,” Boguslav said. “[PDFfiller is] faster and more focused – Acrobat and the features there are overkill for us. So to spend money on that, even for their online version, when we’re using a small portion of it [doesn’t make sense]; we just need something that meets our needs, that’s not overkill. And [PDFfiller] does it.


PDFfiller is faster than analog and digital counterparts and features everything you need at hand and nothing you don’t. It is an always-on digital document solution available anywhere, any time, and on any internet-connected device.

PDFfiller’s comprehensive digital solution is so fast, efficient and easy to use, that Boguslav has recommended it to many of his clients – “We’ve got professionals, we’ve got dentists, some lawyers, we’ve got folks that have small businesses [as clients and] we’ve recommended it to them.”

PDFfiller “works much better” than paper-based documents or competing digital services said Boguslav. With so many forms, “it is much easier for us to use [PDFfiller].

Not only is PDFfiller an ideal solution for in-house work, but so too does it serve customers and clients. “[Clients] are happy, they’re very happy. [PDFfiller] makes life easier for them: it makes it easier for us,” Boguslav said.


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Secure your Mortgage Loan with Fannie Mae Form 1003

Fannie Mae Form 1003: Uniform Residential Loan Application

Applying for a loan is a significant step that requires taking significant corresponding measures. Applicants usually apply for loans meeting officially established criteria to ensure the credit quality of the loan and so choose lending institutions backed up by the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), usually labeled as Fannie Mae. Therefore, the first thing an individual wanting to get a loan should do is file the legally approved Uniform Residential Loan Application (Fannie Mae Form 1003), issued by the Federal National Mortgage Association. In this blog post we will explain to you how to do this properly.

Who needs a Fannie Mae Form 1003 2009-2016?

Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016 is filled by the borrower and co-borrower with their lender’s assistance. The borrower is supposed to furnish all the information necessary for the lender. On the basis of the information provided, the lending organization shall approve or decline the Uniform Residential Loan Application.

What is the Fannie Mae Form 1003 2009-2016?

Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016 is used by the lender to obtain financial and personal information about borrowers who apply for a mortgage loan secured for one to four unit residential real estate. Also the Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016 is used for residential mortgages as the primary loan application form.

Is the Fannie Mae Form 1003 2009-2016 accompanied by other forms?

There are no mandatory accompanying forms for the Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016. This form is, in itself, a complete document that provides the lender with all the necessary information about the borrower and co-borrower.

When is the Fannie Mae Form 1003 2009-2016 due?

The Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016 must be completed at the time of the request for a loan. There is no specific time frame in which this form must be submitted to the lender. It is enough that this form corresponds to the current year.

It is worth remembering that the Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016 must be kept together with the loan documents throughout the term of the loan. The Fannie Mae form should be kept for at least 25 months after the date when a loan decline notice is sent.

How do I fill out the Fannie Mae Form 1003 2009-2016?

Fannie mae form 1003 2009-2016 is divided into ten (10) sections. Each section provides unique information about the borrower:

  • Type of mortgage and terms of loan;
  • Information about the property and purpose of loan;
  • Borrower personal details;
  • Employment data;
  • Monthly income and combined housing expense information;
  • Assets and liabilities;
  • Details of transaction;
  • Declarations;
  • Acknowledgement and agreement;
  • Information for government monitoring purposes.

The loan originator or loan processor is responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the information provided.

Where do I send the Fannie Mae Form 1003 2009-2016?

The Fannie Mae form 1003 2009-2016 should be sent to the registered address of the creditor and an applicant should retain a copy for the personal records, too.

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Rental Application: How to Rent Out a Flat Safely

Rental Application Form

Let’s imagine that you own a nice flat in a good district and you want to lease your real estate. Of course, you will try to find the best renters: capable of paying, reliable and polite. If there are too many people who wish to live in your property, you may ask your possible renters to fill out the rental application so you can choose the best tenants. The rental application will be very useful for the landlord even in the future: the information provided will help to get in touch with the renters anytime. Besides this, the document specifies the amount of the rental payment and the lease term, which is very important for a tenant. You should keep in mind that different states have different variants of the rental application, so make sure you are using the correct one. It’s time to look more precisely at the most common rental application.

Who needs a Rental application?

The application is filled out by the renters. If individuals want to rent a popular apartment or house, the landlord may ask them to complete a rental application, so that he or she can see all the advantages of such a bargain.

What is the Rental application for?

The application is very useful for the landlord as it provides the most important information about the future renter. It’s highly recommended to save a copy of the application in case any disputes arise.

Is the Rental application accompanied by other forms?

If the landlord asks for additional documents, the renter can attach them to the application as well.

When is the Rental application due?

The tenants have to send the application on request or as soon as they find a suitable rental offer.

What information should be provided in the Rental application?

The rental application asks for a lot of information. Actually, it may be a problem for a landlord to obtain the personal data of the renter, such as SSN. People usually don’t want to share it with strangers. But this information is very important for the landlords and they should find a way to get it. Anyway, the renters have to add:

  • Their personal information: full legal name, SSN, phone number, driver’s license, date of birth
  • Information about their current address: current address and previous address (including landlord’s name and phone, reasons for moving, monthly rent, date of moving in and out)
  • Information about their current employment: name of the employer, position, start date, employer’s phone, monthly salary, address)
    personal history (questionnaire concerning the background)
  • Information about the vehicle (year, model, color, license plate number)
  • List of other residents who will live with the renter (each of them has to apply personally, though)
  • Contacts in case of emergency (contact address and phone number)
  • The applicant also has to sign and date the document.

The landlord fills out the rent amount, the sum of the security deposit, lease term and the date of move-in.

Where do I send the Rental application?

The completed and signed application is sent to the landlord. One copy should be kept by the renter for the personal records.

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Don’t Take It On Trust Alone; Complete Rent Receipt Form

Rent Receipt Form: evidence of compliance with the payment terms.

Having found a person who seems to be a perfect tenant or landlord can appear a true relief if the process of closing the rental deal has taken a long time and much effort. However, even though the situation may seem settled now for both Parties (Landlord and Tenant) it is very important to always make sure that all the terms and conditions of the legally binding relationship of the mentioned type are properly followed. And, logically, the cornerstone of the worry-free lease transaction is making and receiving the timely payments. In case a misunderstanding arises between the Parties and it becomes necessary to resolve it in a legal way, the first thing a lawyer should check is whether all due payments were made in a proper way and time. A Rent Receipt is what to come in handy as evidence of compliance with the payment terms. Let’s check how its usage is going to help out either of the Parties to the rental agreement.

Who needs a Rent Receipt Form?

The Rent Receipt Form is an important document for both parties to the lease agreement. It is to be signed by the Landlord or their authorized Agent so as to confirm the amount of rent payment and its date.

Is Rent Receipt Form accompanied by other forms?

There is no need to support the Rent Receipt by any other documents. However, if the very first payment of the rent is meant, it is very likely to be used as an accompaniment for the rental agreement.

When is Rent Receipt Form due?

The Rent Receipt as well as all other types of receipts are due at the moment of paying the rent. The due date and the amount of the payment are to be indicated as one of the most important provisions of the lease agreement. And depending whether it is a yearly lease, month-to month, or week-to-week rent, the payment can be made either once in every 30 days or once a week.

How do I fill out Rent Receipt Form?

The completed receipt form must legibly indicate:

  • the date when the payment is made;
  • the person receiving the rent (the Landlord);
  • the address;
  • the sum;
  • the period paid for;
  • the balance due (if it is a long-term lease);
  • the mode of payment (cash, check, money order).

Finally, the Landlord or their Agent must sign the receipt.

What do I do with the completed Rent Receipt Form?

The two original copies of the Rent Receipt form must be filled out. One of them should be given to the Tenant making the payment, and the other – is to be retained by the Landlord. All the issued rent receipts must be kept by both Parties to the rental agreement until it is in effect.