Helping your college-bound child understand the lease

Many parents are helping their college students move into dorms and apartmentes right now. Frank Tarala is here, from Principal Brokers Network in Rochester, to help us better understand leases -- and to explain to us what he says is the number one piece of paperwork: The Beginning Inventory Checklist.

Often when entering into a lease, the students or their families do not follow the law to protect themselves from charges that can be applied at the end of the lease and often, students and/or families are not familiar with the process, exposing them to additional fees.

One the most important forms in a lease package is the Beginning Inventory Checklist. The tenant is given two copies of this form.

The idea is that as someone is looking for a place to live, they don't see damage that they will see by actually living in the space. This form, noting existing damage to the unit will relieve the tenant from the cost to repair. One copy is for the tenant and one for the landlord. Do not return the form in the time stipulated and you could be paying for damage you did not cause.

These charges can amount to thousands of dollars, and during moving, enrolling and socializing, the lease falls off the radar and it could cost an unsuspecting tenant a lot of money.

I always encourage people to be sure they read and have an understanding of their responsibilities under the lease or to consult with an attorney.