When should a landlord require tenants to sign a lease?

When you own rental property, there are many circumstances and agreements under which you may choose to rent it. However, you should always protect yourself in the event your tenant does not uphold their part of your agreement.

That is why a formal lease form can protect both landlord and tenant with an agreement prior to the beginning of the rental term and ending on a specific date. The lease spells out the amount the tenant is expected to pay each month, any terms for late payments, the security deposit (if any) they agreed to pay prior to moving in, the amount of time (usually one year) that they agree to live in the property and compensate you accordingly, and whether either party has the right to renew the lease after it expires. The lease can also make provisions more specific to the individual property. This type of contract may state that pets are not allowed, or if they are, which types; parking terms and the number of vehicles allowed on the property; the number of guests who are allowed to be at the property at any given time; the right of the landlord to refused to allow third parties to live at the property; sub-leasing provisions; any maintenance or upkeep that the tenant is expected to perform; terms of payment should the tenant wish to move out before the end of the lease (breaking the lease); and any insurance that the landlord requires the tenant to hold on their personal property. Many other provisions and stipulations may be included as long as they are not discriminatory in nature. A lease agreement is an excellent protection for landlord and tenant when setting forth the expectations of each party during the arrangement.

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