When Do Apartment Leases Usually Start?

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Apartment leases typically start on the 1st of the month in the U.S.; however, it is not uncommon for a lease to start mid-month (as many landlords will start a lease the moment the previous tenant moves out and the apartment is cleaned and ready for you to take occupancy). This preparation period usually takes about 7 to 14 days after the previous tenant moves out. For example, if an apartment becomes available on the 10th of the month and let’s assume it takes 7 days to clean and prepare the apartment. By the 17th, the apartment will be prepared and ready for move in. In this instance, your lease could start on the 17th of the month if the landlord permits it, and your rent could be pro-rated.

If that won’t work for you, consider taking possession of the apartment earlier than you need it, assuming you are okay paying rent in two places. This would be applicable if you found a great new apartment and availability is limited.

Quick Summary Video (if you prefer)…and then keep reading…

Every property management company will have its own way of handling apartment leases so it is important to check with them if you’re looking to rent.

  • Leases are usually specific to a fixed length of time, most often one year (or 12 months). This basically means you agree to live in the apartment for that amount of time.
  • You will pay some form of a security deposit based on the apartment you’re moving into.
  • Other funds and deposits may be required. This varies from state to state but usually includes at least the first month’s rent.
  • Rent is usually paid via cash or check. Some companies may accept rental payments via a credit card and other forms of online payments.
  • Rent is usually charged monthly.
  • Typically, renters must pay hefty fees if the lease is breached and they decide to move out early.

Apartment leases are important to protect your interests as a tenant.

The day your lease starts is not quite as important as what it contains so make sure you read through your lease to ensure it meets your needs. If you need the lease to start on a specific date, it can’t hurt to ask.


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