The Lease

Definition of a Lease

A lease (a written rental agreement) is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that grants a tenant possession and use of the landlord’s property for a given period of time. A lease is intended to protect both the landlord and the tenant.

Typical Time Frames & Leasing Agreement Terms

Leases can be set for any length of time, but most are for six months or one year. The lease sets forth provisions that may include, but are not limited to some of the following:

  • Identification of the leased property
  • Number of persons who will reside in the unit
  • Security deposit
  • Rent amount
  • Rent due date
  • Late penalty fee
  • Utility responsibilities
  • Yard care
  • Trash removal
  • Repair responsibility
  • Subleasing
  • Whether pets are allowed

Terms may also include other rules to governing tenancy.

Signing a Lease

A lease is the best evidence of the specific rights and responsibilities for both the landlord and the tenant. A lease must be signed both the landlord and the tenant. If there is something in the lease that the landlord/tenant does not understand or agree with, do not sign it until the issue is resolved.

Once a lease is signed, there is no grace period to back out of the lease, and both the landlord and tenant are bound to it. In order to avoid landlord / tenant disputes, make sure that both parties have read and understand the lease completely.