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What does it mean to lease

Lease between landlord and tenant

Together with your landlord you sign a lease i.e. a contract that states that you will be renting a room or the like for a specific period in which you agree to the terms stated in the contract. When you accept your lease your landlord will specify a deadline before which you have to pay the first month rent and a deposit.

This means:

You pay rent at a certain time every month.

It is a good idea to get your rent specified, so you know exactly what you are paying for and what you must expect to pay for in addition to the rent.
For example: Your rent includes water, heating and electricity, but you have to pay for wireless internet in addition.

You pay a deposit when you have accepted the lease.

Commonly the deposit equals 1-3 months’ rent. If you damage or in some way neglect the lease, the landlord can keep a part of your deposit to compensate for the damages made. If the lease is to be painted when you move out, this will be specified in your lease, this will also be paid from your deposit.
It is important that you read your contract carefully and fill out the moving in and moving out checklists carefully together with your landlord to avoid any disputes about your deposit at the end of your stay.

If you want to terminate your lease you have to give notice.

This means that you have to formally inform your landlord that you want to end the contract. It will be specified in your lease how and when you are to give notice. Often you have to give notice prior to the 1st or the 15th in a month - normally between 1-3 months before you actually want to move out of the room/apartment. You have to pay rent from the beginning of your lease and until the end of the notice period. Notice that the terms in the lease can vary.

What does it mean to live in a rented room or flat?

Sub-letting a room or apartment

If you are subletting you live in someone else’s home - probably a student’s home, where the student just as yourself is studying abroad. You have to take great care and treat the home with respect.

Room in a family home

If you are renting a room in a family home or the like you have to obey the house rules, this could be

Silence in a certain time span, e.g.  11 pm to 6 am - meaning no loud music and noise in this span of time;
Clean up after yourself;
Help with the cooking.

When you accept your lease you also accept the house rules, therefore be sure to talk with your landlord about what this means.