Rental Lease Agreement

Residential Lease Agreement

  • A Residential Lease Agreement is also known as:

    • Rental Agreement

    • Lease Agreement

    • Rental Lease Agreement

    • Rental Contract

    • Lease Form

    • Apartment Lease

Why is a Residential Lease Agreement a MUST?

When entering into any type of rental situation, it’s important that you have an Agreement in writing that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party. Whether you are a property owner/manager (Landlord), or someone who wishes to rent a property to live in (Tenant), a written Lease Agreement signed by both parties is a MUST.

Verbal agreements are easily forgotten or mis-remembered, and impossible to enforce. A written Lease Agreement is a legal contract that details the Landlord-Tenant relationship and clearly specifies the rules and conditions for the rental, so that both sides understand their obligations in order to lessen or avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements in the future.

A Lease is usually prepared by the Landlord, but can also be prepared by the Tenant. Creating a Residential Lease Agreement is easy. You’re already in the right place to get started. The Lease Agreement template is free; you answer a few simple questions above, and you are on your way to create a Rental Lease Agreement.

  • A Residential Lease Agreement is Used for Living Spaces and Arrangements

    • House, Apartment, Condo

    • Townhouse, Duplex

    • Mobile Home, Trailer

    • Room, Basement, Attic

    • Guest House, In-Law Suite

    • Vacation Rental

If the rental is a place of business, it requires a different type of Lease Agreement. Use our Commercial Lease Contract.

What is Included in a Lease Contract?

  • A Basic Residential Lease Agreement form includes the following information:

    • Names and contact info of Landlord and Tenant

    • Address and type of property being rented

    • Whether the property is furnished or unfurnished

    • Start and end dates of the Lease

    • Amount of rent and when it is due

    • Any fees charged if rent is late or for missing a rent payment

    • If the rent can be increased

    • Deposits paid (security/damage deposit, pet deposit, etc.)

    • Does Tenant have option to renew lease or to purchase property (rent-to-own)

  • A Comprehensive Residential Lease Agreement may also include information about the following:

    Utilities and Upkeep

    • Who will pay for electric, water, gas, garbage, cable TV/Wi-Fi, lawn care, etc.

    • Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs to the property

  • Policies and Permissions

    • Alterations to the property such as hanging pictures, painting walls, gardening, outdoor décor, etc.

    • Pet policies

    • Rules for use of common areas: pool, clubhouse, fitness center, etc.

    • Storage areas

    • Guest policies

    • Parking instructions

    • Noise policy

    • Any fines related to breaking policies/rules

  • Access

    • Number of keys given to Tenant and fees for lost/additional keys

    • Landlord’s right to entry with advance notice

Finalizing the Rental Lease Agreement

PRINT— print 2 copies of the Rental Agreement form.

SIGN— both parties sign both copies of the contract

SAVE— give a signed copy of the Rental Contract to the Landlord and a signed copy to the Tenant.

You may also create a PDF file to e-mail for electronic signature. Be sure to save and send the signed version of the Rental Contract.

What is a security deposit?

A security deposit (also known as a damage deposit), is money paid by the Tenant to the Landlord to ensure/secure that the Tenant will meet the responsibilities and conditions of the Rental Agreement, such as pay rent on time and not damage the property. Deposits are usually paid at lease-signing, but a Landlord may allow the Tenant to make payment installments toward the security deposit amount—all of which should be stipulated in the Rental Agreement. When the Lease is over, the Landlord has the right to deduct monies from the security deposit if the Tenant owes for unpaid rent or damages beyond normal wear and tear. The Landlord then returns the balance of the deposit to the Tenant.

How Much Can a Landlord Charge for a Security Deposit?

Generally, the security deposit amount can be from 1 to 2 months’ rent. In some cases, there may be additional deposits required, such as a pet deposit. It’s important that the Lease Contract clearly specifies the amounts and terms of all deposits. In some jurisdictions, there may be a limit on the amount that can be charged for a security deposit.

What Does the Term “First/Last/Security” Mean in a Lease Contract?

This term is often used for the total amount of move-in money required. It refers to the amounts of the first month’s rent, plus the last month’s rent, plus an amount for a security deposit.

What Happens When the Lease Contract Ends?

At the end of the Rental Contract, unless stated and signed otherwise, the Tenant may continue to rent the property, but both Landlord and Tenant are exposed. An expired Lease has no legal standing and cannot be enforced. Depending on jurisdiction, when a 1-year Rental Contract expires, it automatically becomes a month-to-month Lease or similarly, it may become an “at-will” arrangement in which the rental relationship lasts only as long as both parties want it to.

What If a Tenant Wants to End the Lease Contract Early?

If the Tenant terminates the Lease early, the Tenant is still responsible for the total amount of rent due through the end-date of the Lease Contract. If allowed by the Rental Lease Agreement, a Tenant may be able to sub-lease the rental to another person(s) who will pay the rent or a portion thereof, directly to the Tenant, who then continues to make rent payments to the Landlord in accordance with the Lease Agreement. If the property can be re-rented to someone else before the end of the Lease, it is possible the former Tenant will not have to continue making rent payments, because a Landlord cannot collect double rent for a single property.

What is an Option to Purchase in a Residential Lease Agreement?

An option to purchase arrangement (also known as rent-to-own), may be considered when the Landlord wants to sell the property, yet the Tenant cannot qualify for a mortgage loan. For example, the Tenant is unable to come up with a large down payment and/or has a low credit score. An option to purchase gives a Tenant a way to purchase the rental property. Typically, the Tenant pays an option fee at the beginning of the Lease for the exclusive right to purchase the property for a set price within a certain period of time. The option fee is non-refundable. If the Tenant purchases the property, the option fee paid is used towards the purchase price of the property. If the Tenant does not purchase the property, the Landlord can keep the option fee.

Our website will help you create a Residential Lease. We offer free on-line samples and a Lease Agreement template to make the process that much faster. Simply fill in the form above to create a Lease Contract.