A lease or rental agreement sets out the rules landlords and tenants agree to follow in their rental relationship. It is a legal contract, as well as a practical document full of crucial business details, such as how long the tenant can occupy the property and the amount of rent due each month. Whether the lease or rental agreement is as short as one page or longer than five, typed or handwritten, it needs to cover the basic terms of the tenancy.
Renting your property without a clear rental agreement or lease is an invitation for trouble. The landlord-tenant relationship is complicated today, with laws and regulations governing all aspects of renting residential property. Landlords have more responsibilities, tenants have more rights, and small claims court makes it easy to take disputes to a judge. Don't take a chance -- use a legal, complete rental agreement or lease.
Questions What's the difference between a rental agreement and a lease? How do rent control laws work? How much security deposit can a landlord charge? What can it be used for? Where can I find a dependable lease or rental agreement? Do I need a written lease or rental agreement? What's the difference
A tenant has been in my single-family rental for three years, on a month-to-month basis. When she moved in, I collected a security deposit (equal to a month's rent) and the last month's rent. Last year, I raised the rent by $50 per month. I now want to terminate her tenancy with a 30-day notice. I know that I have been paid for the last month, but can I legally expect her to pay the extra $50?
I'm in the middle of an argument with a tenant of mine who is demanding I issue her receipts for rent when she presents me with a check. I'm telling her that's not possible -- I travel a lot and am also worried about the occasional bounced check -- but she insists. What should I do?
My house has a separate apartment that I rent out. In my newspaper ad, I specified NO PETS because I am severely allergic to cats. The apartment and my living quarters share the heating system, so any hair makes its way into my rooms. Now my tenant has brought in a cat and refuses to get rid of it. My allergic reactions are making my life miserable, and my doctor tells me I must get away from the cat hair and dander. I'm desperate -- this person has a year's lease!
I have a tenant who has broken her lease by moving out of the condo. She complained that the upstairs tenant was making too much noise while entertaining a female guest, and that she couldn't get any sleep and had to get prescription sleeping pills. According to the tenant upstairs, he and any guests went as far as to take off their shoes when they entered the unit so as not to disturb the departed tenant. I had instructed the tenant to call the police if the fellow upstairs was really making that much noise. On one occasion, she did, but the police drove by the unit and didn't hear any noise, so drove on. The tenant informed me that she was buying a house and was moving out. Because the lease agreement stated that the security deposit would only be returned if the tenant didn't default on the lease, I have not returned the security deposit. I have informed the tenant that the security deposit would be returned once rent is paid to fulfill the term of the lease. She has since filed a claim in small claims court for the security deposit plus moving expenses. I have countersued for the unpaid rental, commission charge for finding a new tenant and the make ready. Who is in the right?
What can I do about a landlord who promised a clean and newly painted apartment before we moved in, but didn't deliver? We have moved in because we had nowhere else to go, but I am concerned about our children's health and the total well-being of our family. Can I report the unhealthy living conditions to the health department? Please let me know of my legal rights or how to go about this problem in a dignified manner.
Use Nolo's Residential Lease Cosigner Agreement, Landlord's Version to create a favorable agreement that's powerful enough to protect you and your landlording business and legally valid for the life of the lease.