Rental lease agreements are contracts, legally binding documents, that specify the names of the people signing the agreement, the property that is being rented, and the terms such as lease length and payment amount, among other specifications. Rental lease agreements are designed to protect both the landlord and the tenant; or, the lessor and the lessee, as typically written in the document. Though it is common to think of a rental property such as a home or apartment when discussing a lease, such an agreement might also pertain to a vehicle, a commercial business, a storage unit, or a parking space, just to name a few possibilities.
It is important to draw up a rental lease agreement for every rental situation. This protects the tenant from unfair payment increases or behaviors on the part of the landlord, and it protects the landlord from the need to continually rent to the tenant after any unacceptable behavior, or a series of missed payments. Relatively standard rental lease agreements may be found for free online or purchased at most office supply stores, but for more complex cases, it may be best to seek the assistance of a lawyer.
The basic information included on nearly all rental lease agreements includes the names and addresses of those who will be signing the lease, as well as the address, and, or, a brief description of the property that is being leased. The length of the lease must also be specified; some leases are only valid for one week or one month, while others may last for years or more. The monthly payment amount must also be specified; in many cases, this amount cannot change during the course of the lease unless specified otherwise in the rental lease agreement.
In addition to these basic terms, the lease may specify other requirements of the landlord. The landlord may forbid his tenants to have pets, or to smoke in the residence, for example. He or she may reserve various rights, such as the right to ask the tenant to vacate the premises if excessive noise occurs so as to disturb neighbors or other tenants in an apartment building. The tenant may also be forbidden to sub-let the property to someone else without the express permission of the landlord. Any additional fees, such as a yearly maintenance fee or security deposit should also be specified in rental lease agreements.
Finally, rental lease agreements may specify the window of time the landlord must give before entering the premises, such as 24 hours, aside from emergencies. These are just a few of the specifications that may be found on rental lease agreements; any questions or discrepancies should be discussed ahead of time, and the document may be reviewed by a lawyer if necessary. Keep in mind that if the tenant terminates the lease before it is complete, he or she may incur penalties, which also must be specified in the lease.