A residential lease agreement is commonly used when a property owner wishes to rent a house or apartment to someone. As long as the terms conform to any specific laws in the jurisdiction relating to rentals, then residential lease agreements may include any terms agreed upon by the parties to the agreement. Drafting residential lease agreements must begin with consideration of the terms. Common terms that are included in residential lease agreements include the length of the rental, the monthly rental amount, utilities and repairs, default, and subleasing.
The first section of a residential lease agreement is generally devoted to identifying the parties to the agreement and the property that is the subject of the agreement. The names of the landlord and renters should be included. Each person who is allowed to live at the property should be listed in this section. The legal address of the property is also noted in this section.
The basic terms of residential lease agreements generally follow the first section. In this section, the length of the lease should be clear, as well as the starting date and termination date. The monthly rental amount and any initial deposit should be included in this section. What day of the month the payment is due, the grace period, if any, and an explanation of late fees should be found in this next section.
A clear understanding of who is responsible for payment of utilities as well as repairs is essential when constructing residential lease agreements. If the landlord is responsible for paying any of the utilities, or if any of the utilities are included in the rent, then they should be explicitly noted. Repairs, both major and minor, need to also be addressed. Along the same lines, the agreement should indicate whether the renter is allowed to make any improvements to the property, such as painting.
A section of the agreement should address the allowable purposes for which the property may be used. For example, if the landlord wishes to specifically prohibit any commercial or business use of the property, then the agreement should say so. Whether or not the renter may sublease the property to another renter should also be included.
A clear explanation of what constitutes default is critical when drafting residential lease agreements. Non-payment of rent is a common reason for default, but there are often other situations that may constitute default. These situations may include use of the property for illegal purposes or abandoning the property. The process for notification upon default and the time frame to cure the default, if applicable, should also be included.