Before you sign your lease for your next apartment home, you should be aware of a few items that may make your stay at your new community more enjoyable. In addition, if you are renting directly from a private owner, having all your questions answered will aid you in your stay. Also when you leave your apartment home you will want to make sure you do receive your security deposit within a certain time frame.

Remember to follow these steps and you should have no problems with your landlord.

Who is responsible for the bills including sewer, electricity, water, and/or home owners association fees? This should be spelled out in your lease agreement. If its not there, you will want to make sure it is added. Don't assume that the landlord will pay any bills.

If you are renting from a larger apartment community, you can be sure they will incorporate this into the contract. If the apartment pays any bills, they will notify you of this. Some private owners will keep the electricity and water in their name and will bill you for your usage. Make sure they send you a copy of the bill if they do decide to bill you this way.

When is the rent due and are there late charges? Most properties should give you a grace period of a few days. After that late fees will be assessed each day. If this is not listed in your agreement then the property owner cannot bill you late fees in excess.

You will want to fill out a form the day you move in regarding the status of the apartment home. Are there any damages? Whether its a cracked window, stained carpeting, or anything out of the ordinary, you will want to make a note of it and give a copy to the landlord. You don't want to be billed for something you did not cause.

Most landlords or property owners will ask you for a security deposit. This is one of the most disputed items of the lease. Know your rights regarding this item. Usually you will be refunded a portion if not the entire amount after you leave. Make sure you leave a forwarding address.