Signing a Lease Remember that a lease is a binding agreement between all parties who sign it. If you are not careful in making decisions, you could end up in an agreement which does not suit your needs. When it is time to sign a lease, you should: Gather all roommates. Everyone who will be named in the lease must be involved in the entire process. Do not pay an application fee unless you think you have a good chance of being approved to rent the space. Remember, if there is no unit available to rent, a landlord cannot charge an application fee. Ask to review the lease agreement before paying any deposit. Be sure that any promises made by your landlord are clearly stated in the lease. Do not be afraid to ask for something to be added in writing to the agreement. Negotiate parts of the lease agreement so you feel more comfortable with the terms. Wait to pay a deposit to hold the property until you and your roommates are sure you wish to rent it. You should also check to see if the deposit could be refunded should you change your mind. Ask for copies of the lease before you sign it. If possible, take the lease to someone who has experience in the area. You may wish to consult a housing specialist or an attorney if areas of the agreement seem unclear to you or you do not feel you are protected in certain areas. Make sure that each roommate understands what he or she is about to sign. Each roommate will be individually and jointly responsible for the payment of all rent due and any damage to the property. Thus, everyone must understand his or her obligations before anyone signs the agreement. Be sure that you have copies of each and every document you put your signature on. Hamline students suggest you also: Make sure all keys from former renters have been returned. Have the landlord change the locks if the keys have not all been returned. Make sure you are given a key to each door on the property.