Lease Agreement

LandLordStation.com offers lease agreement tips to help you have a successful tenant relationship.

A lease agreement for rental of residential property for a specified term sets out the specific terms and considerations of the contractual agreement between the owner or manager of a property and the tenant or renter of the property. Once you have established your lease agreement template, you can add or take away a variety of provisions. Your leasing agreement must contain certain items to make it an effective legal document.

A lease agreement should include the names of each adult who lives in the rental unit. Generally, each adult who will live in the rental property should sign the residential lease agreement. Every tenant who signs the lease agreement is legally responsible for all terms included in the lease agreement template. Every tenant will be responsible for payment of the rental and for maintaining the property. If one tenant leaves prior to the end of the lease period, the other tenant or tenants are responsible. In most states, if one tenant violates a provision of the lease, all tenants can have their tenancy terminated if you choose.

A leasing agreement needs to clearly state that the rental unit is the residence of only the tenants who have signed the lease and their minor children. It is a good idea to include the names of the minor children in the lease for informational purposes. This will limit the number of occupants that are allowed to live in the property. It is a good idea to include a provision that defines the length of a visit by anyone who is not a party to the lease. In most states, you can evict a tenant who moves in a friend or relative or sublets the unit without your permission if you choose.

Every lease agreement should clearly specify whether a residential lease agreement is a fixed-term lease or month-to-month. In addition, it is recommended that you insert a paragraph that sets out the procedure you want for lease completion. Do you want to be able to extend the term of the residential lease agreement with another lease agreement or do you want to extend the term on a month to month basis? How much notice do you require if a tenant intends to vacate, both before the end of the lease term and/or after.

A residential lease agreement should specify the amount of rent, the date when it is due and how it should be paid. Be sure to list the address where the rent can be mailed and an address where the rent can be personally delivered, if they are different. On what date will the rent be considered late and accrue a late charge. Some property managers state that the rent is due on the 1st day of the month and a late charge will be levied if the rent is received after the 5th day of the month. If you are going to report late payments to a credit bureau, include that date in your lease. A lease agreement should also state the charges that the tenant will incur if their check is returned for insufficient funds. In addition, the method of paying for a returned check should be specified. Will the tenant have to bring you cash or a certified bank check?

A lease agreement should specifically set out all information about the use and return of security deposits, including pet deposits. Be sure that your residential lease agreement includes the dollar amount of the security deposit. Be sure that your deposit conforms to state laws setting maximum amounts. Include in your residential lease agreement what you can apply the security deposit to (repairs for example) and how the tenant may use it left over funds (applying it to the last month’s rent for example). Be very specific as to when and how you will return the deposit and account for deductions after the tenant moves out. In your lease agreement template also list any legal, non-refundable fees. Almost every state requires that a security deposit under a lease agreement must be held in an escrow account. Some states allow a deposit to be held in an interest bearing account and some do not. The law also differs on whether the recipient of the interest should be the landlord or the tenant.

Your residential leasing agreement should be as specific about all the provisions as possible. It is a good idea for you to read and review the lease with your tenant at the time of signing and have the tenant initial each page. Using a lease agreement template is quick and easy but may not have the detail you need to avoid problems and disputes later. Be sure to become familiar with the Landlord and Tenant Act in your state and make sure that your lease agreement conforms to the provisions of the law.

LandLordStation.com recommends that you consult an attorney if you have any questions about specific laws pertaining to the lease agreement in the state in which the property is located. Visit our LandLordStation.com Community page to find on-going discussions with leaders in the real estate management community regarding this issue. If you don’t see information that answers your question, you can ask the Community your question at no charge. This is a unique and invaluable service that LandLordStation.com provides our customers. For the best information on landlord forms, visit LandLordStation.com.

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