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Little Known Facts About Renewing Your Lease in Madison

Lease renewal timing in downtown Madison has long been a hot button topic. When it comes to renewing your lease, there’s sometimes more finger-pointing than a high stakes Presidential debate.

Property owners are blamed for forcing the students to make renewal decisions too early. On the flip side, students deluge property owners with requests for apartments, often prompting waiting lists that run 30+ people deep.

Whatever your take on the topic, these facts will help you navigate the lease renewal process in downtown Madison and make it as painless as possible.

FACT 1: Renewal timing is determined by demand. If you waited in line to get your current apartment, or signed the lease for your current apartment before winter break, chances are you’re going to be asked if you want to renew your lease in late October or early November. Yes, even though you just moved there in August, landlords are already fielding inquiries about your apartment.

FACT 2: Renewing before you’re ready can be risky. We get it. It takes time to make decisions about roommates; gauge your expenses, and see if the location of the apartment matches your needs for next year.Unfortunately, if your future is up in the air, it may be best to move on. You have to remember that if you re-sign your lease, but then change your mind later, the apartment – and the rent – will be your responsibility until a new resident is found to take your place. Is it worth the risk?

FACT 3: Owners prefer to have you renew your lease. Owners love renewals! They want you to stay in your current apartment and, if possible,will work with you on the timing of your renewal. For example, Steve Brown Apartments may ask for your renewal in early November, but not require your final decision until yours is the last remaining apartment in the building.

FACT 4: Downtown apartments rent faster than you think. For the seasoned downtown renter, this comes as no surprise. Everyone wants to rent downtown. But do you realize how heavy the market demand can be? A building like Lucky Apartments can rent up to 50% of their apartments the first week they go on the market. Many downtown owners will start getting inquiries and building waiting lists in October for a following August lease. The demand is intense.

FACT 5. Staying isn’t a given. You may think you have the right of first refusal with your apartment. If you rent the apartment, you get the first crack at it, right? Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Your lease only covers one year, and it doesn’t guarantee that you get to stay for a second year. Again, owners want you to stay for a second year, but legally the renewal process is a courtesy not a requirement. If you know that you’re in it for the long haul, request a longer lease term right off the bat. A 2 or 3-year lease term can be golden to a property owner.

Fortunately, good owners and smarter renters can work together to find win-win solutions for both parties. That requires renters communicating upfront about how long you intend to stay, and owners to be honest about the demand you can expect from a downtown apartment. If both parties understand the nature of the business, then we’ll have less finger pointing, and more happy renters, which makes everyone happy!

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