A lease or rental agreement sets out the rules landlords and tenants agree to follow in their rental relationship. It is a legal contract, as well as an immensely practical document full of crucial business details, such as how long the tenant can occupy the property and the amount of rent due each month. Whether the lease or rental agreement is as short as one page or longer than five, typed or handwritten, it needs to cover the basic terms of the tenancy.
Here are some of the most important items to cover in your lease or rental agreement.
Names of tenants. Every adult who lives in the rental unit, including both members of a married or unmarried couple, should be named as tenants and sign the lease or rental agreement. This makes each tenant legally responsible for all terms, including the full amount of the rent and the proper use of the property.
Limits on occupancy. Your agreement should clearly specify that the rental unit is the residence of only the tenants who have signed the lease and their minor children. This guarantees your right to determine who lives in your property.
Term of the tenancy. Every rental document should state whether it is a rental agreement or a fixed-term lease. Rental agreements usually run from month-to-month and self-renew unless terminated by the landlord or tenant. Leases, on the other hand, typically last a year.
Rent. Your lease or rental agreement should specify the amount of rent, when it is due (typically, the first of the month), and how it's to be paid.
Deposits and fees. The use and return of security deposits are a frequent source of friction between landlords and tenants. To avoid confusion and legal hassles, your lease or rental agreement should be clear on the limit, use and return of deposits.