January 13, 2021

Leasing FAQs

Do you have a leasing question and need a quick answer? This FAQ section is a great place to start!

Applications

What if a required field on the application is not applicable to me?

Baker Street’s application has a lot of required fields, and sometimes these fields do not offer enough flexibility. We understand that this often happens, so we have some easy solutions. For fields, such as “Landlord Name” or “Employer Name”, entering a simple “Not Applicable" or "No Employment” is just fine. For fields with numbers, you can enter in “0”’s; for example, a “Phone Number” can be “000-000-0000”. For fields with an “Email Address,” you can enter an obvious invalid email, such as “xxx@gmail.com”. Additionally, it is important to indicate sources of income, even if not through an “Employer”. For example, if you do not work full time, but you have a scholarship that helps you pay rent, you can list that scholarship information (to the best of your ability) under “Employment”. The “Blurb” section in the application is a good place to include any helpful clarifications.

Do I need a co-signer?

If you are an undergraduate student, the answer to this question is “Yes,” because often undergraduate students have little to no credit, rental and employment history, and do not work full-time. Therefore, we require someone else with the above history (a co-signer) to accept your responsibilities of the lease along with you. A co-signer cannot be another tenant who resides on the property with you, and a co-signer is often a parent or legal guardian of the tenant.

If you are not an undergraduate student, the answer to this question is not quite as clear, so ask a leasing team member before filling out the application. If you are unsure, we will never ask you to remove a co-signer on your application, but we may ask you to add a co-signer. Baker Street will make the final decision whether or not a co-signer is required based on your credit, rental, and employment history, as well as your current income. If we decide a co-signer is not required, you may be asked to fill out a background/credit check form in addition to the application. Baker Street may also wait to decide if a co-signer is needed until after the background/credit check is performed.

What does it mean to co-sign a lease?

A co-signer is someone who accepts the responsibilities of your lease with you. In other words, if you do not carry out your lease responsibilities, we will expect the co-signer to do so instead. An example would be if rent is due, and the tenant does not pay, the co-signer will be expected to pay instead.

Who can co-sign my lease with me?

A co-signer is often a parent or legal guardian of the tenant. A co-signer is someone with credit, rental and employment history, and income from a full-time job or similar source, who is willing to accept the responsibilities of the lease along with you. A co-signer cannot be another tenant who resides on the property with you.

Can I add a co-signer after my application has been submitted?

Yes, if you have decided to add a co-signer, or have been asked to include a co-signer after your application has been submitted, you can easily add your co-signers information by filling out the Co-Signer Form.

Why do you need my social security number, or my co-signer’s social security number?

The lease agreement is a legal contract, so each tenant’s social security number is required. If you are required to fill out a background/credit check form, your social security number will be used to run a “soft” background/credit check. A co-signer’s social security number is only used if the tenant does not carry out his/her responsibilities of the lease. We typically do not ask co-signers to fill out background/credit check forms or run background/credit checks for them, and if we do, we will ask them to fill out a background/credit check form too, so the check will not be done without their knowledge.

What if I don’t have social security number?

Social Security Numbers are important for legal contracts. However, if you do not have one, the easiest solution is to add a co-signer of someone who does. If this is not an option, contact the leasing team at leasing@221b.rentals to find the best solution.

Do you run background or credit checks?

Sometimes. Especially if you do not include a co-signer on your application, you may be asked to fill out a background/credit check form to run a “soft” background/credit check. If the property is a rooming house or co-living situation where you do not know the other tenants living on the property ahead of time, you will be required to fill out the background/credit check form.

What are the requirements to be approved?

We do not have general requirements and review applicants on a case by case basis.  Additionally, different properties have different circumstances and owners, so we just encourage everyone to fill out an application and go from there. We have a general application form and a background/credit check for each tenant to fill out and make decisions based on rental history, employment, income, credit, and criminal history. Circumstances vary, so if you have specific concerns, just ask the leasing team at leasing@221b.rentals.

Is there an application fee?

Baker Street has implemented a new policy to no longer charge application fees. Instead, Baker Street charges a Lease Processing Fee. This encourages people to fill out applications without the risk of being charged an application fee if they do not sign a lease. The Lease Processing Fee will be added to the lease ledger to pay online upon lease signing. How much is the Lease Processing Fee? The amount varies based on property. Check out the Lease Processing Fee page to find your property.

What is a lease processing fee, and how much is it?

The Lease Processing Fee covers the administration costs of processing applications and the lease. Instead of charging application fees to cover this cost, Baker Street charges a Lease Processing Fee. Tenants pay the Lease Processing Fee after the lease is signed through the online lease ledger, along with the first month’s rent. The Lease Processing Fee amount will be located on the Summary Page of your lease, but you can check it out ahead of time by visiting the Lease Processing Fee page to find your property.

How do I get an application?

All applications are emailed to tenants individually.  Therefore, if you are living with more than one person, each person will receive his/her application separately to fill out.  Note, each email link is unique to that person, so you cannot forward your email or link to another person.  If you would like to move forward in the leasing process and receive applications, all we need from you is the full name (first and last) of each tenant and the email address of each tenant.  To preview our application, check out our Application Form.  You can always contact the leasing team at leasing@221b.rentals to receive applications or ask any questions!

What if I change my mind after filling out the application?

Because there is no application fee, you will not be charged anything if you change your mind or do not end up leasing the property. If you do change your mind, Baker Street always appreciates receiving that update, so we can pursue other interested parties.

Lease Agreements

Is the lease agreement signed individually or jointly?

All leases are signed jointly. This means all tenants and their co-signers are collectively responsible and liable for all responsibilities of the lease, including rent payments. If one tenant does not carry out a responsibility of the lease, the other tenants will be responsible and liable. If all tenants do not carry out a responsibility of the lease, all co-signers will collectively be responsible and liable. Therefore, it is highly recommended to sign a lease with people you completely trust to carry out their lease responsibilities. If there is a conflict between tenants regarding any lease responsibilities, Baker Street will not get involved and expects the tenants to resolve the conflict themselves. Check out the Understanding A Group Lease For Tenants guide with more details.

What does it mean to sign a lease agreement?

The lease agreement is a legal contract between the tenants and Baker Street on behalf of the Property Owner, which states the responsibilities, which are mutually agreed to by all parties. If the tenants do not carry out their responsibilities outlined in the lease, Baker Street will have the right to take necessary legal action.

How do I receive and sign the lease agreement?

Once all applications are submitted and approved, a lease for your property will be drafted and emailed through Adobe Sign. Like the applications, each tenant and each co-signer will receive an email with a link to sign the lease in his/her designated spot. Therefore note, each email link is unique to that person, so you cannot forward your email or link to another person. Once all tenants and co-signers have signed, Baker Street will countersign. To preview our sample lease, check out the Sample Lease Agreement.

When is my lease agreement official?

The lease is considered executed after Baker Street has countersigned the lease. However, if the first month’s rent and lease processing fee are not collected within 2 weeks of the lease execution date, unless otherwise agreed to, Baker Street reserves the right to terminate the lease, and the tenants may be subject to the lease termination fees within the lease. To make your first month’s rent and lease processing fee payments, you’ll have to activate your online account. After all tenants have signed the lease, tenants will receive an email to do this. For information regarding payments and online accounts, check out the guides for Making An Online One-Time Payment and Payment And Lease Ledger FAQs.

What utilities and services am I responsible for?

Baker Street’s standard lease template is written as if tenants are responsible for all utilities and services, which is the case for some properties, but not all. If there are some utilities and services tenants are not responsible for, it will be listed on the first page, the Summary page, of the lease agreement. Please refer to your lease’s Summary page if you are unsure. Utilities that may be included for tenants are: water, electric, gas, internet, and/or trash/recycling. If there is a flat fee for any of these utilities, that will also be noted on the Summary page. Services that may be included for tenants are: lawn and/or snow. Tenants are expected to set up service for utilities to start on the lease start date, 10 days prior to the lease start date and will be asked to send confirmation of the service set up. Tenants will not gain access to the property until all required utilities are set up.

How do I get out of my lease agreement?

There are two options if you would like to no longer reside on the property. The first and most common option is to sublease your interest in the premises. For instructions on subleasing, check out the guide, How to Sublease my room or unit. For the second and less preferred option, check out the Lease Termination section stated in the lease. In the standard lease, it states tenants may terminate the lease early if they are in good standing with Baker Street, give one month’s prior written notice, pay the remaining total rent due, and pay an additional 1 month’s rent as damages. You can always reach out to Baker Street’s leasing team at leasing@221b.rentals to discuss your situation and possible solutions.

Is there a clause in the lease agreement for COVID-19?

No, there is not a clause in the lease agreement for COVID-19. Housing is essential, and whether the property is an apartment or house, the environment is still safe and habitable. Any scheduling adjustments from a college or university does not change this factor. Therefore, the lease agreement shall remain in full effect. Baker Street has continued to offer subleasing or switching of tenants on group leases, who have had to change plans during this time. For instructions on subleasing, check out the guide, How to Sublease my room or unit. We have also offered payment plans on a case by case basis for tenants affected by job loss or financial hardship.

Miscellaneous

Can I add other tenants to the lease after the lease has been signed?

Yes! If you would like to move forward with the leasing process, but you do not have all of your group members, that is okay with us! For example, if you would like to lease a four-bedroom house, but you only have a group of three at the time, we will gladly send you applications and even the lease before you find your fourth person. Just let us know when you find that additional person or people, and we will send applications to add them as well. Note, if you select to go this route, your group will be fully responsible for the lease and the rent, even before another person is added.

How many people can live at the property?

Ask a leasing team member to be sure, as this varies based on property. Most properties allow more people than bedrooms to reside at the property. For example, if your group of six would like to lease a five-bedroom house with the intent that two people will share a room, that is usually okay with us. Of course there are always some properties that are the exception of this rule, so always check with us before you commit to doing this. If the property you selected does not allow this, we can always suggest another property that will.  Note, if you select to do this, each tenant will still need to be added to the lease. Also note, if there are people residing at the property that are not on the lease, tenants will be subject to fees as this is a lease violation.

Can I have a pet or emotional support animal?

Pet policies, including emotional support animals, vary based on property. Baker Street will accept emotional support animals with proper documentation at some properties, even if there is a no pet policy. Ask a leasing team member to see what type of pets, if any, are allowed at your property. If you are authorized to have a pet at the property, Baker Street requires a one-time $250 pet fee and a Pet Registration Form. Check out the Pet Policy and Emotional Support Animal guides for more information.

Can I move-in early?

The answer may vary, depending on the time in between tenants and the scheduled maintenance at a property, so check with a leasing team member as soon as possible. If you are allowed to move-in early, you will be charged a prorated amount of rent for the amount of days before the lease start date. Check out the Early Move-in Policy guide for more information.

Will I have the opportunity to renew my lease?

Unless the owner has other plans with the property, all tenants in good standing will be offered the opportunity to renew their lease. Baker Street approaches tenants about renewing often months prior to the lease end date, but you can always contact the leasing team at leasing@221b.rentals to inquire about renewing your lease.

How does parking work?

Parking varies based on property. Parking for a property will be listed on the first page, the Summary page, of the lease agreement. Check out the guide, How Does Parking Work?, for more information.

What are the up-front costs when signing a lease?

The first month’s rent and lease processing fee are due within 2 weeks of signing the lease. The security deposit is due one month before move-in. Therefore, the total upfront costs are:

  • Lease processing fee
  • First month’s rent
  • Security deposit

How long does the leasing process take?

The leasing process can be as long or as short as you make it, but Baker Street’s goal is to get leases signed as quickly and efficiently as possible. A lease can easily be signed within a 24-hour period during week days. Remember, everything is done online. As tenants, it benefits you to sign a lease quickly too, so that you can secure a property faster and allow less time for others to pass you during the leasing process.

Are there any deadlines?

There are not any deadlines to turn in your application or sign the lease; however, the rate that you do this will affect your chance to secure a property. We typically treat the lease signing process on a first-come-first-serve basis. Submitting a Wait List Deposit will grant you a higher priority to securing a property, but always remember a property is not officially secured until a lease is signed, and the up-front payments (first month’s rent and lease processing fee) have been paid.

There is a deadline for making the payment for the first month’s rent, lease processing fee, and security deposit. Our policy states the first month’s rent and lease processing fee are due within 2 weeks of lease signing. Once a lease has been signed, you will be given a concrete date to get those payments made. If the payments do not come in at the deadline, Baker Street may terminate the lease and/or pursue other tenants until the payment is made.

Is there a wait list process?

Yes, due to the city ordinance in Ann Arbor, we cannot tour properties located in Ann Arbor until the current tenants have been moved-in for at least 70 days.  That does not mean that we cannot schedule a tour for a future date.  If the property you are interested in has not reached its 70th day mark, we will be more than happy to schedule a tour after that day.

Because of this ordinance, Baker Street has implemented a wait list system to stay organized and ensure we honor our fair first-come-first-serve policy.  During the current tenants’ 70 day period, they will have the first priority to lease the property for another term.  For the next priority, we turn to the wait list.

To secure priority on the wait list, you will need to place a $1,000 deposit. You can send the deposit via Venmo at Baker-Street. The first person to place a deposit will receive next priority to the current tenants, and so on.  Note, sometimes the current tenants tell us that they do not want to stay another lease term before the 70 day period, so it is possible to receive first priority after all.  If you receive first priority of the property, your $1,000 deposit will be credited to your first month’s rent payment, which is due at lease signing.

As a side note, the security deposit (1.5 month’s rent for Ann Arbor properties), which is different than the wait list deposit, is due one month before move-in.  If you place a deposit and someone with a higher priority, such as the current tenants, leases the property instead, you will receive a full refund of your deposit.  However, if you receive first priority to lease the property and you change your mind, you will lose your deposit.

Can I sign a short-term lease?

The typical lease term is 12 months. However, this does vary based on property, so check with a leasing team member. If the property does not allow any lease terms shorter than 12 months, you can always sublease your unit or room during the time that you do not want to reside at the property. For instructions on subleasing, check out the guide, How to Sublease my room or unit.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Was this guide helpful?
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.