How to Write up a Lease Agreement: 7 Terms to Include
Updated: Jun 15
If you own a property you plan to rent, you'll want to prioritize legalizing any arrangements with tenants. A written rental agreement should make the process straightforward for you.
What is a Lease Agreement?
A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant. It outlines the terms and conditions of renting a property. It specifies details such as the duration of the lease, rent payment terms, responsibilities of both parties, and other essential provisions.
By having a formal agreement in place, you'll be in a stronger position during a landlord-tenant legal dispute.
What to Look for in a Lease Agreement?
When writing a standard lease agreement, review its contents to ensure your understanding and agreement with all the terms and conditions.
There are seven essential things to look for in a lease agreement. These can significantly impact your renting experience and protect your rights as a rental property manager.
1. Names of landlord and tenant(s)
A landlord must include their name and contact information in the rental lease agreement. Additionally, include the names of each individual 18 years and older living on the property. Make sure each party dates and signs the contract.
Pro tip: Clearly state any occupancy limits on the rental
2. Address of the rental
The lease should clearly state the home, apartment, condo, or room address. Landlords should be clear and specific about the rental address and the areas within the property that tenants will occupy. These include the apartment number, floor, or any other relevant locations.
If only a portion of a home is rented, specify which spaces the tenant (s) will occupy.
3. Rental Terms
Rental terms should include the monthly rent amount and the due date. If late fees are potentially applied, clearly specify this. Other important rental terms include the tenancy length of time and stipulating the exact date the lease starts and ends.
Calculate the total amount of the lease rental and divide it by how much will be due each month. Spelling out the whole rental terms avoids potential confusion for either party.
4. Security Deposit Terms
Most landlords require a security deposit, but the amount they collect often varies. You should check with your local government about potential security deposit limits.
In addition to the security deposit, include the date of collection, name and address of the financial institution where the deposit will be held, the interest rate, and procedures for returning the deposit.
The reasons should be clearly outlined if deductions are potentially taken from the deposit.
5. Rental Inclusions and Exclusions
The contract should also outline what services are included within the rental price and what expenses are the tenants' responsibility. For instance, list any rent-inclusive utilities or services, such as electricity, heat, air conditioning, cable, or furniture.
If the rent does not cover any services or regular maintenance, clearly state this in the lease contract. Examples of such services may include lawn care, snow removal, etc.
6. Tenant Responsibilities
Tenants have specific responsibilities under landlord-tenant laws. For example, tenants must agree to maintain a sanitized property, refrain from causing damage, and adhere to building and housing codes. Any state-required responsibilities should be clearly outlined for tenants.
7. Additional Tenancy Rules
This section outlines your expectations for tenants. It covers rules regarding smoking, pets, the prohibition of illegal activities, and any noise and quiet hours guidelines. If a tenant fails to follow the rules, note in writing the lease can be terminated.
Ensure All Bases are Covered
Before renting your property, plan for legally binding leases and adhere to all federal and state housing laws. Consulting with an experienced law firm will ensure leases are correctly structured and you're protected. To learn more, contact Bay State Law today.
*. Reimbursement for Attorney's Fees and Costs. In Massachusetts, if such language is appropriate in your lease, you can request those funds during an eviction. Otherwise, it would have to be a separate suit.