Our Free Printable Lease Agreement is a standard Lease Agreement between a Landlord and a Residential Tenant (individual(s) seeking to inhabit the Premises for living purposes). Often referred to as a Residential Lease Agreement, it is the most common of all leases, and can be used to lease a house, a condominium, an apartment, or even a separate room within any of the aforementioned. Typically, a lease is treated as a contract.
A Residential Lease should always be in writing and signed by all of the Tenants, and the Landlord. All the parties to the Lease should take the time to read the Lease before it is signed.
The basic provisions of a Residential Lease Agreement that are included in our free printable lease agreement include the following:
• RENT: The lease language regarding rent specifies i) the amount of rent to be paid each month, ii) how the rent is to be paid (in what form? To whom? Where?), iii) what day of the month the rent needs to be paid on, iv) whether there is a penalty for the late payment of rent, and v) whether the Landlord is allowed to increase the Tenants’ rent, and if so, when?
• UTILITIES: The lease language will specify whether Landlord or Tenant is responsible to pay utilities such as water, garbage disposal / pick-up, sewer, electricity, gas, and cable.
• SECURITY DEPOSIT: The Landlord normally requires the Tenant to pay a security deposit when the Lease commences. This deposit is intended to protect the Landlord in the event that the Tenant causes any damage to the Premises beyond normal wear and tear. When the lease term ends, most state laws require that the Landlord return the security deposit to the Tenant within one month. If the Landlord is required to retain some portion of the security deposit due to damage to the Premises committed by the Tenant, the Landlord is required to provide the Tenant with a written notice specifying the exact reasons.
• TERM: A Residential Lease will specify a fixed period or “Term” during which the Tenant can occupy the Premises, and the Landlord cannot increase the rent. The Term can extend for any length of time that the parties agree on. Most Residential Leases require a minimum term of six months to a year. Some Residential Leases will allow a Tenant to “hold over” when the Lease term expires on a month-to-month basis. Other leases have an “automatic renewal” provision. If this is the case, both Landlord and Tenant should be aware of the provision so that neither party gets stuck in an “automatic renewal” that it does not want to be in.
• DEFAULT: A Residential Lease will also specify the various ways in which a Tenant can commit a “Default.” A default is a basic violation of the lease, and the most common default is the failure to pay rent on time. When the Tenant commits a default, the Landlord has the option to deliver to the Tenant or post on the Premises a 3 Day Demand for Compliance / Payment or Possession. This Demand gives the Tenant 3 days to fix the violation and restore its tenancy to good standing. If the Tenant cannot or fails to fix the violation, then the Landlord can initiate legal proceedings to evict the Tenant from the Premises.
When the Tenant moves out of the Premises, he should always take photographs of the condition of the Premises for his records. The Tenant should also leave a forwarding address with the Landlord. If the Landlord does not have the Tenant’s forwarding address, he may not be required to return the security deposit to the Tenant. The Landlord has no legal obligation to spend his time and money tracking down the Tenant.