Lease-signing prep: Know your rights (you have none)

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After house-hunting your way through all the $800/month tenement housing Charlottesville has to offer and considering camping out in your frat house’s backyard, you’ve finally found your little slice of mediocrity.

Nick Zugris | Cavalier Daily

It’s leasing season folks! Time to sign away your money, power and dignity as a human being to your “home away from home.” After house-hunting your way through all the $800/month tenement housing Charlottesville has to offer and considering camping out in your frat house’s backyard, you’ve finally found your little slice of mediocrity. It features two bedrooms, one bath, a bug problem and a smoke alarm that goes off when the room temperature slightly changes. The apartment complex fosters a close-knit community through paper-thin walls and ceilings, enabling you to hear everything your neighbor does. 

You’ve found a fellow inmate and verbally committed — now it’s time to sign the lease and seal the deal. Leases can be tricky to navigate, so I’ve included a copy of my lease as an example of what landlords are and are not allowed to make you do. I can’t disclose the name of the the company I lease my apartment from, so let’s just call it GrandMike. 

GrandMike’s lease is pretty standard for the Charlottesville area, so hopefully it will give you an idea of what you’re up against. Let’s start with Use and Restrictions, or basically, the things you’re not allowed to do. 

Section C Article 4a. Tenant or guest of tenant shall not:

(a) Consume more than two thousand (2000) calories daily.

(b) Have any water-containing vessel on the premises, including but not limited to: hot tubs, kiddy pools, fish tanks, waterbeds, water bottles, etc. 

(c) Use motorized skateboards. Ever.

(d) Harbor any trash for more than three (3) days, including but not limited to: compost, recyclables, frat boys, etc.

(e) Hang more than two (2) motivational posters from the bookstore poster sale.

(f) Allow overnight guests more than three (3) times per thirty (30) day cycle, unless landlord approves that you are in a monogamous relationship. 

(g) Remove any of the landlord’s body fluid art from the walls without express permission and promise that it will be replaced with tenant’s own body fluid art.

(h) Possess more than four (4) succulents or related small plants. 

(i) Trick or treat. 

Remember when I said I’d show you what landlords are and are not allowed to make you do? Yeah, they are allowed to make you do anything they want as long as they have your signature! Once you have read these terms and conditions and realize you’re selling your soul, you just John Hancock that dotted line and it’s all yours!

Next section. This is called Landlord Privileges, or basically, everything the landlord is allowed to do. 

Section F article 2b. Without warning the tenant, the landlord may:

(a) Flush toilet when he/she hears you hop in the shower.

(b) Change your wifi password to “hideyokidshideyowifi” at his/her discretion.

(c) Collect two thirds (⅔) of your crops at harvesting season. 

(d) Pose you as his/her significant other when his/her mother comes into town. 

(e) Kick you out at any time he/she damn well pleases.

(f) Borrow your shoes if since you’re basically the same size anyway.

(g) Tax one (1) sock per dry cycle. 

(h) Make you babysit his/her kids with no (0) warning. 

(i) Force you to write numbers in both word and numerical terms for the rest of your miserable life. 

I know, it seems unfair. But you agreed to it, so what are you complaining about? It’s only a year of your life, unless, of course, a lightbulb goes out and you’re paying back the property until your children are grown. But hey, think about the bright side — you can brag about how you spend two (2) times as much on rent as Virginia Tech kids, so that means you’re at the better school right? Right? 

Katie Tripp is a Humor columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com.

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