November 6, 2019

Leasing FAQs

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

Applications

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. 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.

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 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, 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.

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 do not ask co-signers to fill out background/credit check forms or run background/credit checks for them.

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.

Is there an application fee?

Yes, there is a $95 application fee per application. When you fill out the application, you will be asked to submit payment for this fee. The fee will be processed after your lease is signed.

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 us at leasing@bakerstreet.properties to receive applications or ask any questions!

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

Because the application fee is processed after lease signing, you will not be charged the application fee if you change your mind or do not end up leasing the property.

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. 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 expect the tenants to resolve the conflict themselves. Check out our Understanding A Group Lease For Tenants guide.

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 Landlord, which states the responsibilities 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 and email with a link to sign the lease in his/her designated spot. Therefore, each email link is unique to that person, so you cannot forward your email or link to another person. To preview our sample lease, check out the Sample Lease Agreement.

When is my lease agreement official?

Baker Street does not consider your lease valid until the first month’s rent payment is made. Instead of the security deposit, Baker Street uses the first month’s rent payment to secure a property. This is beneficial to tenants in most cases, because the security deposit is typically larger than the first month’s rent. Note, the security deposit is typically due one month before the tenant moves in. To make your first month’s rent and other 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 Making Payments and Payment & Lease Ledger FAQs guides.

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 and some properties. 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 agreement’s Summary page if you are unsure. Utilities that may be included for tenants are: water, electric, gas, and/or internet. 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.

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 Early Termination section stated in the lease. In the standard lease, in summary, 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 four month’s rent as damages.

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. 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 or emotional support animal 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 guide for more information.

Can I move-in early?

You can move in beginning on the start date of your lease. Although we will try to accomodate early move ins we cannot guarantee them. We need the time between when the last lease ended and when yours begins to clean, paint and take care of any maintenance. Please read our 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. Check out the guide, How to Renew my Lease, to see how this process works.

How does parking work?

Parking varies based on property. Check out the guide, How Does Parking Work?, for more information.

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

Baker Street has the policy that the first month’s rent must be paid at lease signing before a property is officially secured. Also, each tenant will be charged an application fee of $95.00 after the lease agreement is signed. The security deposit is due one month before move-in. Therefore, the total upfront costs are:

  • $95.00 application fee per tenant
  • 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 as possible. A lease can easily be signed within a 24-hour period. 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 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 first month’s rent is paid.There is a deadline for making the first month’s rent payment. Our policy states the first month’s rent is due at lease signing. Once a lease has been signed, you will be given a concrete date to get the payment made. If the payment does not come in at the deadline, we shall 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 a property until the current tenants have been moved-in for at least 70 days. That does not mean though that we cannot schedule a tour for a future date. If the property you are interested in has not reached its 70th day, 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. 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. The security deposit (1.5 month’s rent) 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 immediately. However, if you receive first priority to lease the property and you change your mind, you will lose your deposit.

Check out our Wait List Sign-Up page to place a 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.

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