A lease is an essential document that should be used anytime a landlord leases a room, apartment, house or property to a tenant. Leases are the written record both landlords and tenants have to refer to in the event of any questions or disputes.
Leases protect both parties by outlining expectations, responsibilities, rent amounts, and other terms involved in the lease. Both landlords and tenants’ rights and obligations are clearly stated in writing in a lease agreement.
One of the most obvious reasons a landlord needs a lease agreement is in case a tenant fails to pay rent or abide by the terms of the lease agreement. It is a matter of argument if a tenant decides to obtain a St. Bernard after a landlord orally stipulates pets are not allowed. If the no pets rule is included in writing in the lease, the landlord can point to the exact violation and insist the dog goes, or the tenant must leave.
Renters should always insist on a lease so that landlords may not arbitrarily “change the rules.” If your lease stipulates you are not responsible for snow removal at your apartment, your landlord cannot insist it is your responsibility to shovel your driveway.
Leases should outline as many rights and obligations as both parties feel are necessary. At the very least, your lease should state the duration of the agreement, the amount of rent to be paid, the date rent is due, and responsibilities regarding utility payments and the use of outdoors areas.
Lease forms appropriate to a variety of rental situations in all states are available online. You should select and use a current lease form that is created specifically for the type of rental establishment involved, such as a house lease, or a furnished apartment lease.