Your Guide For a Standard Lease Agreement
Meta Description: It is exciting to lease a home of your own, whether an apartment or another type of dwelling. It is crucial you understand the standard lease agreement provisions in order to be aware of the expectations a landlord has with regard to the condition and maintenance of the property during the lease term. Stock Image: If you are considering renting an apartment or house, there are a few things you should know about a standard lease agreement. What Is a Lease? A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between two or more parties in which one side is letting the other borrow something for a specified amount of time. That's the simple way to think about it. The most common lease agreement has to do with dwellings such as homes or apartments. There are certain items that are a part of a standard lease document. 1. The Parties At the onset, the people who are entering into the agreement are identified. Every single person who is a part of the transaction is listed. If you are renting an apartment and have a child who is a minor, there may be a notation identifying the child. A traditional introductory lease paragraph looks like this: Tommy Johns and his wife, Tammy Johns (hereinafter "Landlord") and John Smith, a single man (hereinafter "Tenant") enter into this Lease Agreement with the terms and conditions as set forth below. (Tenant and Landlord are collectively known as the "Parties.") 2. The Property The property being borrowed has to be identified. In the case of a house or apartment, the address with the appropriate apartment number may suffice. The Parties have agreed to lease the property located at 123 Magic Kingdom Lane, Apartment W, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida 33000 (hereinafter the "Property) and willingly enter into this Agreement regarding the terms of the of the Lease of the Property. 3. The Lease Term The next piece of information in a lease is typically the length of time the tenant plans to rent the property. It can be as short as mandated by the local authorities, or it can be as long as permitted by state law. In some states, a lease cannot exceed a period of 12 months. This term doesn't necessarily mean a tenant has to leave the property at the end of the year; it merely means a new lease or addendum must be signed. Note that owner associations or local government do not permit short-term rentals and subleases within an apartment complex and some housing developments. You should check before signing a lease for a property the landlord is also renting. Tenant wishes to lease the Property for a period of 12 months, commencing on the ____ day of September, _____. 4. Monthly Lease Payments A rental fee will be charged by the landlord, and the tenant must pay that amount as set out in the lease. There is typically a date all rent is due. The date is usually the first of the month. However, there is often a grace period of 48 to 72 hours. This grace period exists in case the first falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday although it is a general grace period and can be applied no matter what day of the week the first of the month is. Tenant agrees to pay Landlord the sum of $1,000.00 on the first day of every month (the "Rent Payment") commencing on October 1, 2018. The Rent Payment shall be paid no later than the end of business on the fourth day of the month. If the Rent Payment is received after this date, a late fee of $35.00 per day will apply until the Rent Payment is made. This section will also go forward to set out the last day the rent payment will be accepted before eviction proceedings occur. If the Rent Payment is not received by the 10th day of the month, Landlord has the right to commence eviction proceedings through the governing legal authority. 5. Security Deposit Protocol A landlord usually likes to get some money up front from a tenant before the first month's payment. This money is a security deposit, and it does a few things. It lets the landlord know that the tenant is serious about renting the property and wants to proceed. The deposit also provides the landlord with some financial security should the tenant suddenly leave without notice and without paying rent. It comes in handy if a tenant moves and causes damage to the property. The security deposit ranges in amount and is set by the landlord. It is possible for a tenant to negotiate the deposit terms, including applying it to the final month's rent or having the amount reduced in the case of good credit history. The security deposit and its application will also be set out in this section. If a tenant trashes the property, the Landlord may retain some or all of the deposit. It is critical that both parties take pictures and document the condition including any damage to the property at move in and upon vacancy in case there is a dispute about the state of the property (inside or outside). The Tenant has paid to Landlord the sum of $1,000.00 as a Security Deposit. Landlord shall hold the Security Deposit and release it at the end of the Lease term to Tenant upon satisfaction of the terms and conditions of the Lease. If Landlord agrees the Property condition is acceptable, the Landlord will return the Security Deposit to Tenant within 30 days of the vacancy. The landlord may retain the Security Deposit if the Property is returned in poor condition or there are outstanding Rental Payments or fees due and owing to Landlord. 6. Maintenance and Care of the Property It is essential for the lease to give a general idea of the expectations of the condition the property is going to be maintained in, as well as who the responsible party is for doing certain things. If you are renting a house, it's important to know if you or the landlord is responsible for yard maintenance. Who is responsible for utility service? Is it included in the rent? Is the tenant required to allow the landlord access whenever? A standard lease more often than not calls for the tenant to hold and pay all utilities. The landlord, while allowed access under certain circumstances, cannot just show up and enter the property without the consent of the tenant. Tenant is responsible for the everyday care and maintenance of the interior of the Property, including, but not limited to: all utility services, cable television, internet and telephone services. Tenant shall keep the Property in good condition, free of damage beyond normal wear and tear. The Landlord will pay for the outside of the premises to be maintained including, but not limited to: yard maintenance in the front and rear of the Property, pool maintenance, etc. Upon Tenant's request, Landlord or an identified agent may enter the home to perform necessary repairs on fixtures in the house including appliances, structural issues, electrical and plumbing issues (not related to utility company service). The Landlord may only enter the Property upon the express permission of Tenant and with reasonable notice. 7. Miscellaneous Provisions If you have a pet, you want to make sure the landlord is aware of and lists the pet by name and breed in the lease. Legally, it is essential to have your pet identified for liability reasons. If harm comes to your pet while in the home illegally, insurance may not cover the damage. Likewise, if your pet is not supposed to be in the house and causes damage or harm while there, your landlord can start eviction proceedings immediately and take you to court to recover costs. Most landlords require a deposit to have a pet. This money, like the security deposit, is there to protect the landlord. Sometimes the pet deposit is non-refundable. It is vital that the dog's breed is disclosed and listed. There may be restrictions on breed type and size which may be dictated by an owner's association or the apartment complex. Landlord is aware of and agrees to allow Tenant to keep the dog known as "Wrigley" at the Property. Wrigley is a 3-year-old male German Shepherd mix approximately 75 pounds. Tenant has paid an additional deposit of $250.00 to Landlord which is non-refundable (the "Pet Deposit"). 8. Notice to Vacate The final section typically deals with the end of the lease agreement. There is usually a notice period that the tenant or landlord must formally give in writing to the other to declare the intention to enter into a lease extension or vacate the property. 60 days prior to the expiration of this Lease, Tenant shall inform Landlord in writing of the intent to renew or vacate the property. Landlord has the same timeline to notify Tenant in writing if Landlord does not desire to renew the Lease. Tenant shall vacate the Property at the expiration of the Lease, and no extension shall be entered into. Final Cautions While these eight items are not the only provisions covered in a standard lease agreement, they are the most common. Be sure you read the entire agreement before signing it. Once you sign it, you are legally responsible for fulfilling all obligations listed, or you may face legal consequences.