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Rental and Lease Agreements

The rental agreement or lease agreement is the most important legal contract between a landlord and tenant. This document states the specific terms of the agreement including the rental amount, the number of occupants allowed in the rental unit, the duties of each party involved, restrictions and prohibited activities, and the financial or legal consequences to both parties if they fail to perform.

Because leases and rental agreements are so critical to the landlord tenant relationship it is important that both parties learn the basics about how these contracts work.

Tenant Leases and Rental Agreements

The lease or rental agreement is designed to protect both the tenant and the landlord. While leases may vary depending on the landlord or rental agency, there are a few basic provisions that must be included.

Important Terms to Have

• Name of landlord with contact information
• Name and contact information of each tenant
• Rental payment information—where, when and how much
• Details designating who is responsible for payment of utilities—landlord or tenant
• Contact information for repairs
• Information about whether the rental can be sublet
• Termination of lease procedures
• Consequences for breaking lease agreement
• Length of time before new lease is required after lease expiration

It is critical that tenants read and understand the lease clearly. There may be other restrictions regarding such things as smoking, pets or noise that are included in the contract.

Changing the Lease

There may come a time in the course of the rental relationship that the contract must be altered. Sometimes situations change such as the replacement of a roommate or the extension of the lease term. It may be possible to amend the existing rental or lease agreement if all parties, including the landlord are in agreement.
If major changes to the agreement are necessary it is critical that the request be made in writing. This ensures the specific provisions are clear to both the landlord and the tenant and the receiving party has time to respond to the request without pressure for an immediate answer. A new lease containing the changes should also be signed before acting on any new provisions.

If major changes to the agreement are necessary it is critical that the request be made in writing. This ensures the specific provisions are clear to both the landlord and the tenant and the receiving party has time to respond to the request without pressure for an immediate answer. A new lease containing the changes should also be signed before acting on any new provisions.

Breaking the Lease

It is a breach of contract to break a lease agreement in many U.S. states.

If it is the tenant who breaks the lease they are responsible for paying the rent for the remaining time left. Both parties to the lease have a “duty to mitigate damages”. Because of this, the landlord must attempt to rent the property as quickly as possible. Once a new tenant moves in however, the previous tenant that broke the contract is not usually responsible for the rent any longer. The landlord can also choose to release the tenant from the lease agreement completely.

To get help with a rental or lease agreement, contact a Englett and Associates Real Estate Attorney today, (855) 215-2280

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