An apartment rental agreement, often called a lease, is a contract that allows one person to temporarily possess a residence that belongs to another. The person who owns the apartment and agrees to lease to another is commonly referred to as a lessor or landlord. The person who agrees to lease the apartment may be referred to as a lessee or renter.
A signed apartment rental agreement is legally binding. Many of the terms in such a contract outline the requirements and restrictions of the lessee, but there are also clauses that outline the restrictions and obligations of the lessor. For example, a landlord is generally only permitted to enter the leased residence without permission in a few specific instances. Both parties are generally obligated to adhere to the terms outlined in the agreement. Just as a landlord may take action against a renter for violating the terms of the contract, a renter may likewise take action against the landlord if he violates them.
In most instances, an apartment rental agreement is drafted by the landlord or a person acting on his behalf. It may be possible for a renter to modify or request changes to the agreement. It is rare, however, for the renter to draft a full lease for the property that she plans to rent.
Apartment rental agreements specify a lot of important information about the arrangements under which a person will live in the leased residence. An apartment is generally part of a multiple-unit structure or facility. Therefore, it is important for the contract to specifically outline which unit a person will be renting. This prevents a person from viewing a unit that is in good condition but actually renting one that is less desirable.
Most landlords also want to have in writing the names of the people who will be living in the unit and those who are responsible for payment. An apartment rental agreement may state for example that a husband, his mother, and his wife will be living in an apartment. However, the responsibility of payment may only fall upon the husband and wife. This prevents the landlord from taking action against the mother in the event that terms of the contract are violated.
The amount that is to be paid should be included in the payment terms of the rental agreement. It should also specify when that amount is to be paid. Most contracts outline what actions or penalties will apply in the event that rent is not paid or if it is paid late.