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What should be included in a lease?

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When written well and executed properly, leases provide important protections for both landlords and tenants. Because of their value to landlords and tenants, it is helpful for both parties to be familiar with what should be included in a lease.

The particulars can vary from property to property, but the following points address common scenarios:

  • All tenants should be named in the lease: It is important that every adult that will be living in the rental unit is named in the lease and signs the lease.
  • Limits on occupancy: The lease should provide limits on occupancy so that only the adults on the lease and their minor children are permitted to live in the rental unit.
  • Term of lease: The lease should outline the term of tenancy. It can also include how the lease will renew which may also be controlled by law.
  • Rent: The lease should specify the amount of rent to be paid and where and how. It can also include information concerning acceptable payment methods, how late fees will be charged and what will happen if a check is returned for nonpayment.
  • Deposits: The lease should account for how any security deposit will be handled including the amount to be paid, where it will be held, what it will be used for, when it will be returned and if any portion of it is nonrefundable. Security deposit provisions will also need to comply with local law.
  • Repairs and maintenance: The lease should outline how repairs and maintenance will be handled and what the tenant’s responsibilities are related to maintaining the property and reporting maintenance needs and the landlord’s responsibilities to repair the property when needed.
  • Entry into the property: The lease should outline when and why the landlord can enter the property. Entry provisions will need to comply with local law.
  • Pets: The lease should outline pets permitted on the property.
  • Restrictions on illegal activity: a prohibition against illegal activity on the property should be included in the lease.

There are many important provisions to include in a lease to ensure the rights of the landlord and the tenants are protected. Real estate law can help guide owners and renters through the process of setting up the lease to ensure the rental unit is a good place to call home and the relationship is beneficial to both parties.