A Lease Agreement is drafted to detail the arrangement between a landlord (also called the lessor) and a tenant (also called the lessee) for the lease of property. Using a Lease Agreement minimizes the risk of issues or misunderstandings between the tenant and the landlord in the future.
Standard Lease Agreements will include the following information:
- Duration of the lease: the length of time the Lease Agreement is enforceable (ie: 12 or 24 months are typical for a residential lease)
- Parties: names of the landlord and the tenant
- Payment: the amount of the payment and the schedule of payments
- Utilities: outlines who will be responsible for paying each utility (ie: gas, garbage, water, etc.)
- Landlord entry: this should include the amount of notice the landlord needs to give prior to entering the property
- Security Deposit: this should detail what the landlord may use the deposit for and how the deposit will be returned that the end of the lease
- Penalties: for late rent or payments that are returned as NSF;
- Property damage clause: how damage to the property is handled and who is responsible for the cost and repairing it
- Early termination policy: what are the penalties for early termination
In each state there are laws that control the contents of the lease agreement, as well as laws that require certain responsibilities for the landlord and the tenant. For example, the law requires the landlord to repair anything on the house that would make the property inhabitable.
A lease is a legal and binding contract between the landlord and the tenant, and can be quite lengthy and contain legal language. A landlord/tenant attorney will analyze the agreement to help you understand all the provisions and help avoid any issues in the future.