Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

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A lease agreement (or rental agreement) is a document that explains the terms under which a tenant rents a residential or commercial property from a landlord.

Lease agreements are legally-binding contracts that explain the obligations and rights of both the tenant and landlord. Even if you’re just renting out a room in your house to a friend or family member, you need a lease agreement for legal protection in case you encounter problems with your tenants.

Find your free printable rental/lease agreement by type below and use it to rent out a property.

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Residential Lease Agreement Forms [For Landlords]

Sublease Agreement Forms [For Tenants]

Commercial/Other Lease Agreement Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Lease?

A lease is a legally-binding contract used when a landlord (the “lessor”) rents out a property to a tenant (the “lessee”). This written agreement states the terms of the rental, such as how long the tenant will rent the property and how much they will pay, in addition to the repercussions for breaking the agreement.

A lease is also commonly called a lease agreement, a rental agreement, a rental contract, a lease form, a rental lease agreement, an apartment lease, a tenancy agreement, and a house rental agreement.

Why Do I Need a Lease Agreement?

You need a lease agreement because it explains your responsibilities as a landlord, sets rules for the tenants living in your property, and is often required by state law. Having a lease agreement helps you avoid disputes with your tenants and fix problems when they arise.

If you rent out a property but don’t use a lease agreement, you could lose rent money, be liable for illegal activities on the property, receive penalties for unpaid utility costs, or spend a lot of money on property damage repairs and lawyer fees. Anyone who rents out a home, land, or a commercial building should have a lease agreement.

All adult tenants must be given a copy of the lease agreement after they sign it. Landlords and property managers should also keep a copy on file. What is the Difference Between a Lease and a Rental Agreement?

The difference between a lease and a rental agreement is the duration of the contract. Lease agreements are typically long term contracts (12 to 24 months), whereas rental agreements are usually short-term (a few weeks or months).

If you’re deciding whether a lease or rent is best for you, remember that a lease agreement provides more security, but a rental agreement offers more flexibility.How Do I Rent Out a Room in My House?

You rent out a room in your house by using a lease agreement that states you’re just renting out a room, and not the entire property. If you’re a tenant living in a rental property, you can sublet a room to another tenant using a room rental agreement.

Both a standard residential lease and a room rental agreement allow you to establish quiet hours, times guests can visit, how to divide utility payments, and set rules regarding pets, smoking, and parking.

To rent out a room, both parties sign the agreement and the landlord collects a security deposit from the tenant before handing over the keys. What are My Responsibilities as a Landlord?

Your responsibilities as a landlord include the following:

  • Repairing and maintaining the normal wear and tear of appliances like the air conditioner or heater.
  • Respecting a tenant’s right to “quiet enjoyment” (living without disturbances). For example, not making unnecessary visits to the property, and dealing with problems that cause noise (such as dogs barking).
  • Providing a safe and clean home to the tenant for the term of the lease. Examples include getting rid of mold, resolving water damage, and fixing ventilation problems.
  • Returning the tenant’s security deposit if the tenant treats the property with respect, and it’s in good condition at the end of the lease term.
  • Giving the tenant advance notice when you need to enter the premises to fix something or show someone the property.

Landlords’ responsibilities differ according to state landlord–tenant laws, which describe how a landlord should handle access to the property, security deposits, and evictions.

What Happens if a Tenant Violates a Lease?

If a tenant violates a lease, the landlord may try to resolve the problem by giving the tenant a chance to fix it (unless the violation is major, such as using the property to sell or manufacture illegal drugs). If the issue is not resolved within a certain time period (as set by state law), the landlord can begin the eviction process to remove the tenant.

Common lease violations include unpaid rent and utility bills, damage to the property, and the tenant breaking the law. What Should I Include in a Lease Agreement?

You should include the following information and clauses in a lease agreement:

  • Names of all tenants: write the names of every adult who will be living in the property.
  • Term: state the duration of the lease, and whether it’s for a fixed term or will automatically renew.
  • Rent: set the amount of money the tenant will pay in order to live in the property, and which day of the month the rent will be paid on.
  • Premises: describe the property and where it is located.
  • Security deposit: assign an amount of money the tenant will give the landlord to hold in case of any damages

Depending on your property and where it is located, you may need to include some common disclosure and addendums that address specific situations such as smoking or pets.

 

 

 

Sample Residential Lease Agreement [& Forms by State]

STANDARD RESIDENTIAL LEASE AGREEMENT

State of __________ Rev. 133C5EE

 

This Lease Agreement (this “Agreement”) is made as of this __________, by and between __________ (“Landlord”) and __________ (“Tenant”). Each Landlord and Tenant may be referred to individually as a “Party” and collectively as the “Parties.”

  1. Premises. The premises leased is __________ located at __________, __________, __________ __________ (the “Premises”).
  1. Agreement to Lease. Landlord agrees to lease to Tenant and Tenant agrees to lease from Landlord, according to the terms and conditions set forth herein, the Premises.
  1. Term. This Agreement will be for a term beginning on __________ and ending on __________ (the “Term”).
  1. Rent. Tenant will pay Landlord a monthly rent of __________ for the Term. Rent will be payable in advance and due on the __________ day of each month during the Term. The first rent payment is payable to Landlord when Tenant signs this AgreementRent for any period during the Term which is for less than one month will be a pro rata portion of the monthly installment. Rent will be paid to Landlord at Landlord’s address provided herein (or to such other places as directed by Landlord) by mail or in person by one of the following methods: and will be payable in U.S. Dollars.
  1. Guaranty. __________ located at __________, __________, __________ __________ (“Guarantor”) promises to unconditionally guarantee to Landlord, the full payment and performance by Tenant of all financial duties and obligations arising out of this Agreement. Guarantor agrees to joint and several liability with Tenant for Tenant’s financial duties and obligations under this Agreement including rent, damages, fees and costs. Guarantor further agrees that this guaranty shall remain in full force and effect and be binding on Guarantor until this Agreement is terminated.
  1. Late Fee. Rent paid after the __________ day of each month will be deemed as late; and if rent is not paid within __________ days after such due date, Tenant agrees to pay a late charge of __________.
  1. Additional Rent. There may be instances under this Agreement where Tenant may be required to pay additional charges to Landlord. All such charges are considered additional rent under this Agreement and will be paid with the next regularly scheduled rent payment. Landlord has the same rights and Tenant has the same obligations with respect to additional rent as they do with rent.
  1. Utilities. Tenant is responsible for payment of all utility and other services for the Premises.
  1. Security Deposit. Upon signing this Agreement, Tenant will pay a security deposit in the amount of __________ to Landlord. The security deposit will be retained by Landlord as security for Tenant’s performance of its obligations under this Agreement. The security deposit may not be used or deducted by Tenant as the last month’s rent of the Term.Tenant will be entitled to a full refund of the security deposit if Tenant returns possession of the Premises to Landlord in the same condition as accepted, ordinary wear and tear excepted. Within __________ days after the termination of this Agreement, Landlord will return the security deposit to Tenant (minus any amount applied by Landlord in accordance with this section). Any reason for retaining a portion of the security deposit will be explained in writing. The security deposit will not bear interest while held by Landlord in accordance with applicable state laws and/or local ordinances.
  1. Landlord’s Failure to Give Possession. In the event Landlord is unable to give possession of the Premises to Tenant on the start date of the Term, Landlord will not be subject to any liability for such failure, the validity of this Agreement will not be affected, and the Term will not be extended. Tenant will not be liable for rent until Landlord gives possession of the Premises to Tenant.
  1. Holdover Tenancy. Unless this Agreement has been extended by mutual written agreement of the Parties, there will be no holding over past the Term under the terms of this Agreement under any circumstances. If it becomes necessary to commence legal action to remove Tenant from the Premises, the prevailing Party will be entitled to attorney’s fees and costs in addition to damages.
  1. Use of Premises. The Premises will be occupied only by Tenant and Tenant’s immediate family and used only for residential purposes. Tenant will not engage in any objectionable conduct, including behavior which will make the Premises less fit to live in, will cause dangerous, hazardous or unsanitary conditions or will interfere with the rights of others to enjoy their property. Tenant will be liable for any damage occurring to the Premises and any damage to or loss of the contents thereof which is done by Tenant or Tenant’s guests or invitees.
  1. Condition of the Premises. Tenant has examined the Premises, including the appliances, fixtures and furnishings, and acknowledges that they are in good condition and repair, normal wear and tear excepted and accepts them in its current condition.
  1. Maintenance and Repairs. Tenant will maintain the Premises, including the grounds and all appliances, fixtures and furnishings, in clean, sanitary and good condition and repair. Tenant will not remove Landlord’s appliances, fixtures, or furnishings from the Premises for any purpose. If repairs other than general maintenance are required, Tenant will notify Landlord for such repairs. In the event of default by Tenant, Tenant will reimburse Landlord for the cost of any repairs or replacement.
  1. Reasonable Accommodations. Landlord agrees to comply with all applicable laws providing equal housing opportunities, including making reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental limitations of qualified individuals with a disability, unless undue hardship would result. Tenant is responsible for making Landlord aware of any such required accommodations that are reasonable and will not impose an undue hardship. If Tenant discloses a disability and requests an accommodation, Landlord has the right to have a qualified healthcare provider verify the disability if the disability is not readily apparent, and Landlord has the right to use the qualified healthcare provider verifying the disability as a resource for providing the reasonable accommodation.
  1. Sex Offender Registry. Pursuant to law, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public. Tenant understands and agrees that Tenant is solely responsible for obtaining any and all information contained in the state or national sex offender registry for the area surrounding the Premises, which can be obtained online or from the local sheriff’s department or other appropriate law enforcement officials. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and zip code in which he or she resides.
  1. Compliance. Tenant agrees to comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, requirements and regulations of any federal, state, county, municipal or other authority.
  1. Mechanics’ Lien. Tenant understands and agrees that Tenant and anyone acting on Tenant’s behalf do not have the right to file for mechanic’s liens or any other kind of liens on the Premises. Tenant agrees to give actual advance notice to any contractors, subcontractors or suppliers of goods, labor or services that such liens are invalid. Tenant further agrees to take the additional steps necessary to keep the Premises free of any and all liens that may result from construction completed by or for Tenant.
  1. Subordination. With respect to the Premises, this Agreement is subordinate to any mortgage that now exists, or may be given later by Landlord.
  1. Alterations. Tenant will not make any alteration, addition or improvement to the Premises without first obtaining Landlord’s written consent. Any and all alterations, additions or improvements to the Premises are without payment to Tenant and will become Landlord’s property immediately on completion and remain on the Premises, unless Landlord requests or permits removal, in which case Tenant will return that part of the Premises to the same condition as existed prior to the alteration, addition or improvement. Tenant will not change any existing locks or install any additional locks on the Premises without first obtaining Landlord’s written consent and without providing Landlord a copy of all keys.
  1. Smoking. Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on any part of the Premises. This prohibition applies to Tenant and any visitor, guest or other occupant on the Premises.
  1. Pets. Tenant is not allowed to have or keep any pets, even temporarily, on any part of the Premises. The unauthorized presence of any pet will subject Tenant to penalties, damages, deductions and/or termination of this Agreement. Properly trained service animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities may be permitted on the Premises with the prior written consent of Landlord, which shall not be unreasonably withheld. Tenant will be responsible for the costs of de-fleaing, deodorizing and/or shampooing all or any portion of the Premises if a pet has been on the Premises at any time during the Term (whether with or without written consent of Landlord).
  1. Fire and Casualty. If the Premises are damaged by fire or other serious disaster or accident and the Premises becomes uninhabitable as a result, Tenant may immediately vacate the Premises and terminate this Agreement upon notice to Landlord. Tenant will be responsible for any unpaid rent or will receive any prepaid rent up to the day of such fire, disaster or accident. If the Premises are only partially damaged and inhabitable, Landlord may make full repairs and will do so within a prompt and reasonable amount of time. At the discretion of Landlord, the rent may be reduced while the repairs are being made.
  1. Liability. Landlord is not responsible or liable for any loss, claim, damage or expense as a result of any accident, injury or damage to any person or property occurring anywhere on the Premises, unless resulting from the negligence or willful misconduct of Landlord.
  1. Renter’s Insurance. Tenant is required to obtain, and maintain at all times during the Term, a renter’s insurance policy with a minimum of $100,000.00 personal liability coverage. Tenant will name Landlord as an interested party or additional insured. Tenant will provide Landlord with a certificate or proof of insurance upon request.
  1. Assignment and Subletting. Tenant will not assign this Agreement as to any portion or all of the Premises or make or permit any total or partial sublease or other transfer of any portion or all of the Premises.
  1. Insurance Requirements. Tenant will not do or permit to be done any act or thing that will increase the insurance risk under any policy of insurance covering the Premises. If the premium for such policy of insurance increases due to a breach of Tenant’s obligations under this Agreement, Tenant will pay the additional amount of premium as additional rent under this Agreement.
  1. Right of Entry. Landlord or its agents may enter the Premises at reasonable times to inspect the Premises, to make any alternations, improvements or repairs or to show the Premises to a prospective tenant, buyer or lender. In the event of an emergency, Landlord may enter the Premises at any time.
  1. Surrender. Tenant will deliver and surrender to Landlord possession of the Premises immediately upon the expiration of the Term or the termination of this Agreement, clean and in as good condition and repair as the Premises was at the commencement of the Term, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
  1. Default. In the event of any default under this Agreement, Landlord may provide Tenant a notice of default and an opportunity to correct such default. If Tenant fails to correct the default, other than a failure to pay rent or additional rent, Landlord may terminate this Agreement by giving a __________ day written notice. If the default is Tenant’s failure to timely pay rent or additional rent as specified in this Agreement, Landlord may terminate this Agreement by giving a __________ day written notice to Tenant. After termination of this Agreement, Tenant remains liable for any rent, additional late, costs, including costs to remedy any defaults, and damages under this Agreement.
  1. Remedies. If this Agreement is terminated due to Tenant’s default, Landlord may, in addition to any rights and remedies available under this Agreement and applicable law, use any dispossession, eviction or other similar legal proceeding available in law or equity.
  1. Subordination. This Agreement and Tenant’s right under it shall be subject and subordinate to the lien, operation and effect of each existing or future mortgage, deed of trust, ground lease and/or any other similar instrument of encumbrance covering any or all of the Premises, if any, and each renewal, modification, consolidation, replacement or extension thereof.
  1. Condemnation. If all or substantially all of the Premises are covered by a condemnation including the exercise of any power of eminent domain by a governmental authority, this Agreement shall terminate on the date possession of the Premises is taken by the condemning authority, and all rent under this Agreement shall be prorated and paid to such date. Landlord is entitled to collect from the condemning authority the entire amount of any award made in any proceeding. Tenant waives any right, title or interest which Tenant may have to any such award and agrees to not make any claim for the Term of this Agreement.
  1. Hazardous Materials. Tenant shall not keep on the Premises any item of a dangerous, flammable, or explosive character that might unreasonably increase the danger of fire or explosion on the Premises or that might be considered hazardous or extra hazardous by any responsible insurance company.
  1. Notices. All notices given under this Agreement must be in writing. A notice is effective upon receipt and shall be delivered in person, sent via certified or registered mail to the following addresses (or to another address that either Party may designate upon reasonable notice to the other Party):

__________

__________, __________ __________

Notices shall be sent to the Tenant at the following address:

__________

__________, __________ __________

  1. Quiet Enjoyment. If Tenant pays the rent and performs all other obligations under this Agreement, Tenant may peaceably and quietly hold and enjoy the Premises during the Term.
  1. No Waiver. No Party shall be deemed to have waived any provision of this Agreement or the exercise of any rights held under this Agreement unless such waiver is made expressly and in writing.
  1. Severability. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in whole or in part, the remaining provisions shall not be affected and shall continue to be valid, legal and enforceable as though the invalid, illegal or unenforceable part had not been included in this Agreement.
  1. Successors and Assigns. This Agreement will inure to the benefit of and be binding upon the Parties and their permitted successors and assigns.
  1. Governing Law. The terms of this Agreement and the rights and obligations of the Parties hereto shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of __________, without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions.
  1. Disputes. Any dispute arising from this Agreement shall be resolved through mediation. If the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, then the dispute will be resolved through binding arbitration conducted in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association.
  1. Amendments. This Agreement may be amended or modified only by a written agreement signed by the Parties.
  1. Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed to be an original, and all of which together shall constitute one and the same document.
  1. Headings. The section headings herein are for reference purposes only and shall not otherwise affect the meaning, construction or interpretation of any provision in this Agreement.
  1. Entire Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties and supersedes and cancels all prior agreements of the Parties, whether written or oral, with respect to the subject matter.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties hereto, individually or by their duly authorized representatives, have executed this Agreement as of the Effective Date.

__________ __________
Landlord Signature Landlord Full Name
__________ __________
Tenant Signature Tenant Full Name
__________ __________
Guarantor Signature Guarantor Full Name

 

How to Write (Fill Out) a Lease/Rental Agreement

Here’s how to write a lease by filling out our free lease agreement template:

1. Name the parties

A simple rental agreement form needs to name the parties signing the lease and where they live. First, you should write down:

  • the landlord or property management company and their current address
  • the tenant or tenants and their current address
    highlighted name section of a lease agreement template
    An example of where to write the Tenant and Landlord names in our lease template.

2. Describe the premises

The “premises” are simply the exact address and type of property being rented, such as an apartment, house, or condominium.

highlighted premises section of a sample rental agreement
An example of the “Premises” section from our rental agreement template.

3. Define the term of the lease

The “term” is the length of time a tenant will rent the listed property. A standard lease agreement should detail exactly when the lease term begins and ends.

Furthermore, a lease can either be fixed-term or month-to-month.

  • fixed-term rental lease means the agreement is set for a predetermined, or fixed, period of time. This type of lease expires on the end date listed in the agreement (usually up to 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years from the start date).
  • month-to-month rental lease means the agreement is for a one month period with no defined end date. It continues on a per month basis until either the landlord or tenant terminates the agreement.
highlighted term section of a lease agreement example form
An example of the “Term” section from our printable lease agreement.

4. Set how much rent is owed

A lease agreement must explicitly list the monthly rental amount, and outline what the consequences are if the rent is late.

It’s up to the landlord to decide how much to charge for rent, but the cost is usually comparable to other properties within the same area.

In addition, standard rent control laws may limit the amount that you’re able to charge for rent. Check your local rent control ordinance to ensure that your lease agreement is compliant with those regulations.

highlighted rent section of a sample rental lease agreement
An example of the “Rent” and “Additional Rent” sections of our free lease agreement.

5. Assign a security deposit amount

A security deposit is a set amount of money usually collected at the beginning of the lease. Landlords have the right to collect a security deposit from their tenants, but what that money can be used for is strictly determined by the security deposit laws of your state.

highlight security deposit section of a free lease template
An example of the “Security Deposit” section from a generic lease agreement.

6. Finalize the lease

Once you finish discussing the details with your tenant, remember to:

  • Print – print at least two copies of the rental lease for you and the other party
  • Sign – sign and date the lease agreement form (both the tenant(s) and landlord)
  • Save – file a hard copy of the signed document in a safe place and consider scanning an electronic copy for extra safekeeping.

Whether you’re an experienced or first-time landlord, you can use these resources and guides to understand in simple terms what the law says about leases and rental contracts:

  • How to Lease a Residential Property [Step by Step]
  • Common Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums
  • Landlord and Tenant Laws by State
  • Rental/Lease Agreement Glossary

How to Lease a Residential Property [Step by Step]

Follow the steps below to easily rent out your property:

1. Show your rental unit to tenants

landlord shaking hands with tenants in empty apartment

The first step in renting out a house or an apartment is to allow people to view the property. If a tenant likes the property and wants to move in, they will make a verbal offer regarding the monthly rent.

Hosting viewings can be inconvenient if you have multiple properties, so many landlords hire a property management company to show their rental units to potential tenants.

2. Give the tenant a rental application form to fill out

Once you agree on the rent price, the tenant needs to fill out a rental application. This form helps the tenant show that they are trustworthy, and includes information such as their:

  • Name
  • Current address
  • Place of employment
  • Income level
  • Rental references

The tenant can confirm their workplace using an employment verification letter. This document is also an easy way for renters to show proof of income.

Typically, landlords require a small, nonrefundable fee from the tenant in order to process the rental application.

3. Run a background and credit check

landlord or property manager using a computer to run a credit and background check

After reviewing the tenant’s application, you should run a background check (and/or a credit check). Tenant screening like this can help you avoid scams and problem tenants. The cost is usually paid for by the tenant.

A background check shows if the applicant has a prior criminal history, and a credit check confirms whether the applicant has good or bad credit. Bad credit may be a sign of poor financial planning, which could result in missed rent payments.

Although these checks help you avoid dealing with bad tenants, you shouldn’t base your decision to rent the property solely on the results. Many states have strict guidelines on tenant discrimination. Refusing tenancy because of minor criminal offenses or bad credit may be justifiably considered a violation of federal anti-discrimination law.

4. Check the tenant’s references

landlord on the phone calling and checking a tenant's references

Next, you need to check the references that the tenant included in their rental application form mentioned in step 2 above.

You should contact the references and ask questions such as:

  • Did the applicant pay their rent and utilities on time?
  • Were there any noise complaints at the tenant’s previous apartment?
  • Have the police ever been called to the tenant’s last rental unit?
  • Would you consider renting to this person again?

Rental references are usually current or previous landlords, and can give you insight into the tenant’s character and behavior.

5. Create a lease agreement

landlord handing apartment keys to new tenant

Once you’re happy to rent out your property to a tenant, you need to create a lease/rental agreement in the correct format.

You make a lease agreement by writing it yourself from scratch, filling in a blank [lease agreement template] that includes all the necessary clauses, or using a [lease agreement builder] to create a lease specific to your property.

Remember to include:

  • The move-in date
  • The monthly rent payment amount
  • When the rent is due each month
  • What will be done about late rent payments
  • Who should pay or manage the utilities
  • The penalties, if any, of breaking a lease

After you’ve created the lease contract and gone over everything with your new tenant, both parties sign the agreement. You may need to calculate prorated rent depending on when the tenant moves in.

6. Hand over the keys

Once the lease agreement is completed and signed, give the tenant the keys so they can move in to the property.

To finish the process, a final walkthrough of the unit should be done alongside the tenant. Bring a rental inspection checklist with you, and document the condition of the property before the tenant moves in.

Common Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums

Because each rental property is different and laws vary by state, your lease agreement may require additional disclosures and addendums. These documents, attached separately to your lease agreement, inform new or current tenants about issues with your property and their rights.

Download the most common disclosures and addendums below in MS Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF format:

  • Asbestos Disclosure (Word) – notifies tenants of the existence of asbestos at the property (required for properties built before 1979).
  • Bed Bug Addendum (Word) – explains how both parties should act in the event of a bedbug infestation.
  • Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector Addendum (Word)– states whether the landlord will provide carbon monoxide/smoke detectors, and how the tenant is responsible for keeping them in good condition.
  • Death in Rental Unit Disclosure (Word) – informs the tenant if anyone previously died in the property.
  • Disclosure of Lead-Based Hazards (PDF) – notifies tenants of the existence of lead-based paint or other materials (required for properties built before 1978).
  • Flood Hazard Area Disclosure (Word) – states whether the property is located in a special flood hazard area.
  • Foreclosure Notice (Word) – should be provided to the tenant during the lease if you need to explain that the rental agreement terminates on a specified date.
  • Illegal Substance Contamination Disclosure (Word) – notifies the tenant if parts of the property have been contaminated by the manufacturing or storage of an illegal substance (such as methamphetamine).
  • Mold Disclosure (Word) – notifies the tenant that the property contains or may contain mold, and whether the landlord will fix it.
  • Notice of Abandoned Personal Property (Word) – tells the tenant that they left something in the unit when they moved out, and that they need to collect it before it’s thrown out.
  • Pet Addendum (Word) – a pet addendum states the rules regarding pets at the property.
  • Shared Utilities Disclosure (Word) – explains how how utilities are calculated and shared between multiple residents
  • Smoking Lease Addendum (PDF) – a smoking lease addendum tells the tenant whether they can smoke tobacco or marijuana on the property

Landlord and Tenant Laws by State

Federal law recognizes that landlords and tenants have individual legal rights and obligations. Find out what the law in your state says about your rights using the table below, or check the following specific laws for your property:

  • State Laws on Landlord’s Access to Rental Property

Tenants have the right to privacy when they rent a property. However, there may be situations when a landlord needs to access the property, such as for maintenance or inspections.

Nearly every state requires a landlord to give advance notice to their tenants before they access a rental unit.Security Deposit Laws

Each state regulates the maximum amount of money a landlord can collect from a tenant as a security deposit. Some states also require landlords to return security deposits to their tenants within a certain amount of time (potentially with interest).

Usually, a landlord can deduct the following costs from the tenant’s security deposit:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Cleaning costs
  • Key replacement costs
  • Cost to repair damages above ordinary wear and tear
  • Any other amount legally allowable under the lease

Rental/Lease Agreement Glossary

Here are some useful definitions for the legal language commonly used in lease and rental agreement forms:

  • Access: the right to enter a property.
  • Accidents: manmade or naturally occurring events that may damage a property (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.).
  • Alterations: modifications made to a property.
  • Appliances: common home equipment like a refrigerator or dishwasher.
  • Assignment: the transfer of interest in a lease.
  • Attorney Fees: a payment made to a lawyer.
  • Condemnation: the government seizure of private property for a public purpose such as the construction of a highway.
  • Default: when a breach of contract occurs and persists such as not paying rent or violating other terms of a rental lease agreement.
  • Furniture: common home equipment such as couches, tables, beds, etc.
  • Guarantor / Co-Signer: someone that is held accountable for paying rent if the tenant is unable to do so.
  • Guests: short-term occupants of a rental property.
  • Joint and several liability: where two or more people are independently held accountable for damages, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Late Rent Fee: an additional, reasonable sum of money paid by a tenant after making a rent payment past the due date listed in the lease agreement.
  • Noise Policy: a provision of a lease agreement outlining “quiet hours” in the apartment building, condominium, or neighborhood.
  • Notice: a written announcement of some fact or observation.
  • Option to Purchase: the tenant’s right to purchase a piece of rental property at a later date.
  • Parking: designated spaces where the tenant can keep their vehicles.
  • Pet Policy: the permission or restriction of a tenant’s ability to have an animal in a rental property.
  • Property Maintenance: the process of preserving a rental unit and who is responsible for doing so. Such as cutting the grass, taking out the garbage, or unclogging the kitchen and bathroom drains.
  • Renewal: a tenant’s option to continue the lease.
  • Renter’s Insurance: a paid policy which protects personal belongings against theft or damage.
  • Severability: a clause of a lease stating that if one part of the agreement is invalid for any reason, the rest of the lease is still enforceable.
  • Smoking Policy: the permission or restriction of a tenant’s ability to smoke inside a rental property.
  • Sublet: a temporary housing arrangement between a current tenant and a new tenant to rent all or part of the currently leased property. The subletting period must be for less than the lease term.
  • Successor: someone who takes over the obligations of a lease from a tenant or landlord.
  • Utilities: a public or private service supplying electricity, water, gas, or trash collection to a property.
  • Waterbed: a water-filled furnishing used to sleep and not typically permitted in most rental properties

Specification: Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

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