It is important that landlords and tenants are protected and leases can help ensure that. For landlords to be properly protected, there are several terms that should be included in a lease and landlords should know what those terms are when they are negotiating a lease.
Terms to include in a lease
- Names of all tenants: Every adult who will be living in the rental unit, including married and unmarried adults, should be named as tenants and sign the rental agreement. This will ensure each tenant is fully responsible for all of the lease terms including the rent.
- Limits on occupancy: The lease should specify that only tenants who have signed the lease and their minor children can reside on the premises. This can help ensure only screened and approved tenants live on the property.
- Term of tenancy: The term of tenancy is important to include and should specify if it is a fixed-term lease or if the tenancy will be month-to-month. It should also specify if the lease will automatically renew and be consistent with the laws in the state where the lease is being executed.
- Rent: The lease should specify the amount of rent that is to be paid, when it is to be paid and how it is to be paid. It should also include if there will be any fees assessed for late payments or returned checks.
- Deposits and fees: The lease should include some specifics about the security deposit such as the amount of the deposit, how the deposit will be used, when it will be returned and how deductions will be determined, if any part of the deposit is non-refundable, how the deposit is being held and if any interest will be paid on it.
- Repairs and maintenance: The lease should specify the tenant’s responsibilities for the care of the property and the landlord’s responsibilities for the maintenance of the property. This can help avoid hassles down the road.
- Entry into the property: The lease should specify when the landlord can enter the property, for what purpose and the amount and nature of notice that will be given for the landlord to enter the property.
- Restrictions on illegal activity: There should be an explicit cause in the lease prohibiting illegal behavior on the leased premises.
- Pets: The lease should specify the number and nature of pets permitted on the premises.
A rental agreement, or lease, will be looked to resolve any rental disputes that may come up between the landlord and the tenant. It is helpful to be familiar with what should be included in a lease and how landlord tenant law can protect the parties to the lease.