Glossary and Definitions
Residential Rental/Lease (USA)
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A Residential Lease Agreement (or Residential Rental Agreement) is used by a landlord to rent property to a tenant. For example, this form may be used to rent an apartment, condo, basement suite, house, duplex, or any other form of habitation. This document is one of the more important legal documents available to a landlord, as it records the entirety of the agreement between the landlord and tenant including rent payment, damage deposit, repairs, pets, smoking, and several other key topics. A Residential Rental Agreement is dependent on the rules of the jurisdiction in which it is executed, so landlords should be sure to research their jurisdiction's requirements to ensure that their lease agreement is compliant.
To create a Residential Lease Agreement, you may talk to a lawyer, use a template form, or draft the document yourself. A typical lease form contains the following information:
- Full contact information of both the landlord(s) and tenant(s)
- Type and address of habitation. Number of bedrooms and bathrooms may also be included
- A list of included furniture, appliances, amenities, and a description of any available parking
- A description of the landlord's stance on operation of a home business out of the premises, on how many and how long guests will be permitted on the premises, and on whether smoking or pets are permitted
- The start date of the lease, any applicable signing incentives, and whether there will be an inspection prior to move-in
- How the lease will terminate; In other words, describe whether it will continue indefinitely until terminated, or be active for a set time period (e.g. 1 year), or on a month-to-month basis. The document should also state whether renewal of the lease is an option or not
- The amount of payment for security deposits, rent, utilities and additional fees, along with a payment schedule
- Rent increases, defaults, and late fees
- Landlord and tenant improvements to the property; also, the notice period for the landlord entering the property
- Any additional information such as maintenance, insurance, lead paint disclosure, etc. as applicable
The landlord(s) and tenant(s) should all sign the document. To ensure the validity of the document, we recommend the presence of a witness or a notary public at the signing.
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