Leaving aside obvious issues like the monthly costs and which utilities are included, there are other things to take into consideration before signing a lease. Take your time to read the fine print!
The more you can agree with your landlord by written, the better protected you’ll be against any surprises or upsets once the lease starts. A rental experience can be stressful, but if you prevent some aspects, you can even enjoy this process.
First of all, you need to agree with your landlord which will be the lease term, and how the renewal process would be like if you decided to extend your stay in his place. For example, ask when you should notify them about your intentions and if there'd be any changes to your security deposit.
Speaking of which, it should be written down that your security deposit will be returned if you leave the unit in the same good condition that it had been in when you moved in. Read carefully the general rules of security deposits so you know what you should expect when ending the lease.
In some cases, unexpected situations can occur and you could decide to break the lease early. You may be transferred to another city, you may move out to your friend's home, or any other scenario that forces you to leave early. The lease should consider this option and the penalties that come with it.
Other aspects to take into account are how and when you should make your rent payments. You need to know this beforehand in order to use the best payment method, which can even help you to save money on rent. The same applies to when the rent’s due: you could match it with your payday to avoid making cash advances. Try to fix a flexible rent due-date for the first week of the month, for example.
Last, but not least, take a good look at the unit's rules. See if there are any specific rules around guests and meeting schedules. In the same way, if you've got a pet or you're planning to adopt one, check if there is any pet policy. In some cases, leases are suspended at the very last moment because of rules that may not match with the tenant's lifestyle.