Finding a great place to live isn't just about location or amenities. If you rent, what's spelled out in the lease can make or break your living experience.

The issue is this: Many lease forms are simple, standard forms covering just the basics -- cost of rent, length of the lease and repairs -- but your lease should be more inclusive.

To find a great apartment, you need a lease tailored to your lifestyle -- see the examples below for ideas. Remember: Most landlords will want to provide what you need and negotiate acceptable terms.

Pet additions

If you have a pet when you sign your lease, your landlord will likely include a pet clause showing the type of pet, breed, weight and any pet deposit you paid. That will cover your current situation, but if you decide to add another pet, the lease won't legally protect your rights, even if the landlord verbally agrees to allow another pet.

If you think you'd like to add a pet to your family while you're renting, ask your landlord to include the possible addition in your lease. The clause should include the option to add one or more pets, any breed restrictions or weight limits your landlord has and any additional fees you'll need to pay.

Pest control

Many renters assume pest control is a standard amenity in any rental, but that isn't always the case. Many private landlords and some property management companies don't include pest control. If you get overrun by an infestation, you may end up footing the bill to handle it.

To save yourself from future costs, ask your landlord to include a clause on pest control. It should cover regular prevention methods and who will pay the cost for extermination.


Many lease agreements include a standard visitation clause, such as a limit on the number of days in a row you can have guests or the number of guests that can visit. Most landlords don't actually enforce this policy, but some will -- and that could create a problem if you have a family member or significant other who spends several nights a week in your rental.

If you know you'll have guests staying often, be up front with your landlord about it before you move in and ask for an amendment to the visitation clause in your lease.


If you have an assigned parking spot, or a driveway that fits only a certain number of cars, this can create tension and arguments with other tenants if everyone doesn't respect the rules.

Often, parking arrangements aren't included in the lease, but if you do have a problem reserving your parking spot, it will be easier to fight if that information is included. Ask the landlord to include a parking clause with your numbered parking space, or the number of cars allowed in the driveway area.

The post What Your Lease Probably Doesn't Include (But Should) appeared first on Real Estate News and Advice - realtor.com.