Part I of FAQs: Leases And Rental Agreements

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on November 8, 2006 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

In order to be successful in his / her rental business, a landlord must have in-depth knowledge of various subjects related to his / her livelihood. First of all, he / she should know how to create a legally valid lease or rental agreement, as under, which should give a fair idea of why an agreement is of vital importance between a landlord and tenant.

Ques. Is it necessary for a landlord to have a written lease or rental agreement?
A key element of the rental business, it is vital for any landlord to ensure he / she has a signed agreement with each tenant. As well, care should be taken to ensure the following key points have been clearly stated in the agreement:

  1. The duration of the tenancy.
  2. The rental and security amount to be paid by the tenant.
  3. Number of people allowed to occupy the property.
  4. Person responsible for paying the utilities, i.e. landlord or tenant.
  5. Whether, the building has a ‘Pets Allowed’ or ‘No Pets’ policy.
  6. Whether, the tenant has the landlord’s permission to sublet the property.
  7. Landlord’s access rights to the rental property, including,
  8. Who is responsible for paying the legal fees, in the eventuality, there is a lawsuit regarding implementation of the lease or rental agreement?

A landlord should always bear in mind that leases and rental agreements should be written ones; despite the fact most states do have laws to enforce oral (spoken) agreements for a certain period of time. The easy informality of oral agreements may sound friendly; however, they often lead to heated disputes. During the course of the tenancy, if a landlord and tenant, later on, disagree about, say sub-letting by the tenant, it could all too likely lead to a court argument over who said what to whom, when, and in what context. A particular problem with long-term leases, therefore, courts in most states refuse to enforce oral agreements after the passage of a year.

Ques. Is there a difference between rental agreements and leases?
Most definitely, yes! While, a rental agreement is for short-term tenancies, providing tenancy rights for, often 30-days, and is automatically renewed each month, unless and until the landlord or tenant end it, by giving proper written notice. As well, agreement terms can be changed for month-to-month rentals, after the landlord has given adequate notice in writing.

On the other hand, a written lease agreement allows the tenant fixed-term occupancy rights to the rental unit, e.g. a fixed time-frame that can be for anywhere from six months to a year, perhaps, longer, so long as the tenant continues to pay rent and comply with all lease provisos. During the lease term, the landlord cannot raise the rent or change other tenancy terms, unless the tenant agrees.

Unlike, a rental agreement, a lease does not get automatically renewed on its expiry. And, if a tenant continues to stay on after his / her lease expires, with of course, the landlord’s consent, he / she become a month-to-month tenant, who is subject to the rental terms contained in the lease.

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