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The importance of lease agreements

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2016 | Landlord/Tenant Matters

When a dispute develops between landlords and tenants in Delaware, the lease agreement is generally the first document that is consulted. Tenants hoping to avoid such misunderstandings may wish to read lease agreements and accompanying documentation thoroughly before signing them, and they should ask questions about any provisions that are unclear or seem contradictory. Keeping copies of all signed documents on hand to refer to if questions arise in the future could also be a prudent step for tenants to take.

In addition to stipulating whether or not tenants are able to keep pets and have overnight guests, lease agreements may establish the type of repair work that will be performed by landlords and the procedures tenants should follow if work needs to be done. When repairs are needed that are not due to fault of the tenant, landlords are expected to have the necessary work completed within 10 days of receiving written notice. Certain repairs, such as those depriving tenants of water or electricity, should be taken care of right away.

Many disputes between landlords and tenants develop when the tenant moves out and asks for their security deposit to be refunded. Tenants hoping to avoid arguments over the condition that the apartment or house was in at the beginning of the lease should take photographs of the empty premises before they move in and provide landlords with a comprehensive list of all existing damage.

Disputes between landlords and tenants can become extremely contentious, but protracted court battles drain resources while providing no guarantee of a successful outcome. Attorneys with experience of landlord and tenant matters may seek to avoid such disputes by scrutinizing lease agreements before they are signed and ensuring that all parties concerned understand their rights and responsibilities.