What Is a Residential Rental Agreement?
A Residential Rental Agreement - also known as a Rental Lease Agreement or an Apartment Lease - is an agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of a residential property tenancy. This contract must be entered into by the landlord or lessor (who is the owner of the real estate) and the tenant or lessee (who is the individual paying rent to occupy the property). It is used for renting any type of residential property, including apartments, houses, condominiums, and more.
Although Residential Rental Agreements are negotiable and many terms and conditions are agreed upon by the parties, all contracts must be made under the State Statutes. Therefore, you may want to use a standardized form customized for the state where the contract is made.
The following is a list of all the existing types of Residential Rental Agreements:
- One Page Lease Agreements. This is a simple rental agreement made between a landlord and a tenant for a fixed term or on a monthly basis, and it includes general terms for a residential lease only.
- Condominiums. By means of this agreement, the landlord rents a residential unit that is part of a condominium association with other individually owned residences, and the tenant must comply with the rules and regulations of the association and should have access to use the common areas of the premises.
- Lease-Purchase Agreements. This agreement gives the tenant the option to purchase the property in conformity with the terms of the contract.
- Month-to-Month Agreements. Also known as Tenancy at Will, this contract is a standard agreement with an extra clause that sets forth that tenancy will be valid until canceled by either party.
- Room Rental Agreements. This contract is used to lease bedrooms in a housing unit while sharing communal areas.
- Standard Lease Agreements. This is the most widely used landlord-tenant contract, and it usually lasts for a period of one (1) year.
- Sublease Agreements (Sublets). This contract is made between a tenant, or sublessor, and a person seeking to rent the same space, the sublessee. The sublessor needs the landlord’s consent and is still responsible for paying rent to the landlord every month.
- Vacation Agreements. This agreement only covers a short period, usually from 1 to 30 days.
- Weekly Agreements. In this agreement, the tenant and the landlord commit only to seven (7) days for tenancy.
Is There a Difference Between a Lease and a Rental Agreement?
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there is some difference between a rental agreement and a lease. A lease offers long-term security to both parties, as it is made for any fixed period, usually of 12 or 24 months. On the contrary, a rental agreement is a month‑to‑month agreement where the terms may be changed at the end of each month. Rentals offer flexibility for individuals who need temporary shelter during a transitional time.
How to Fill Out a Residential Rental Agreement?
Be sure to include the following clauses when filling out a Residential Rental Agreement template:
- Contact Information for the Landlord and Tenant. Enter the landlord’s name, street address, city, state, and the names of all tenants.
- Occupants. State the names of every person who will reside upon the property, apart from the tenants.
- Property details. Complete the type of residence to be rented, the address, city, state, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and amenities.
- Purpose. If the premises are to be used for any purpose apart from a residential dwelling, it must be mentioned.
- Furnishing and Appliances. Indicate if the premises are furnished with appliances and if there will be any furnishings.
- Lease Specifics. Indicate the length of the term, as well as the commencement and end dates.
- Rent. Specify the monthly installment amounts, due dates, payment method and location, charges for late payments, details about a security deposit, and pre-payment information.
- Parking. Indicate arrangements and cost.
- Rental Rights and Obligations for the Landlord and Tenant. Agree on clauses such as possession, access, subletting, abandonment, assignment, move-in inspection checklist, right of entry, sale of property, utilities, and maintenance and repairs, early termination, law compliance, default, guarantor, dispute resolution methods, severability, surrender of the premises, option to purchase, option to renew the lease, retaliation, waivers, equal housing, indemnification, covenants, notices, agent contract, and the governing law.
Sign and date all copies. As the agreement includes the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant, both parties should keep a copy of the signed agreement for their records.