A lease is an agreement between a tenant and a landlord regarding use of the house or apartment the tenant rents from the landlord.
motenanthelpLast updated 07/19/2023
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What is a Lease
A lease is an agreement between a tenant and a landlord regarding use of the house or apartment the tenant rents from the landlord. A lease is both a contract (an agreement between two or more parties) and a conveyance (a transfer of a property interest).
A lease can be oral (spoken) or written. If a lease is not written, the landlord can't get attorney fees.
A lease is a contract. Breaking the contract is not easy, so a tenant should not sign a lease unless they fully agree with its terms.
Length of Lease
A lease term (length) can last for any period of time, including month-to-month, year-to-year, or a definite period of time (for example, one year). A lease for more than one year must be in writing.
The following information should be included in a lease
- Names of the landlord and tenant
- Address of property
- The date the lease begins and ends
- The monthly rent
- The rent due date and grace period (if any)
- Where the rent payment is made
- The security deposit amount
- Who pays each utility (gas, electric, water, sewer, trash)
- How to notify the landlord about problems
- Who makes which repairs and who pays for those repairs
- Who is allowed to live on the property (including the policy on pets and whether subleasing is allowed)
- Whether the landlord will provide appliances, and who is responsible for repair
- The phone number and address for the landlord
Keep a copy of your lease
If you have a problem with your landlord in the future, it may be very important to have a copy of your lease. If you put your lease in a folder you can find, you can also keep other documents and evidence that you may need in the future. Keep any receipts from the security deposit or other payments and any changes to the lease you may have made with the landlord. Get proof every time you pay your rent, such as a rent receipt, canceled check, or money order receipt. Keep copies of all letters, emails, and text messages between you and your landlord.