Free Residential Lease Agreement

A Residential Lease Agreement is a legally-binding document that formalizes a landlord-tenant relationship and outlines specifics related to the property being leased. Using a Residential Lease Agreement when leasing property is standard practice as it helps protect both tenant and landlord rights.

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Being a landlord is much more regulated than you might expect. Keeping track of who occupies your property and the terms under which they occupy it is not only smart, it's required by federal law.

Being a tenant comes with certain rights and responsibilities. Having those rights and responsibilities clear from the outset should be a priority for any tenant.

A Residential Lease Agreement protects both parties. The landlord complies with regulatory requirements and makes the conditions of tenancy clear. The tenant understands what they can and cannot do to the property and what they can demand from the landlord.

What Is a Residential Lease Agreement?

A Residential Lease Agreement is a legally-binding document that establishes a tenant-landlord relationship for a specified property. It outlines the terms and conditions under which a tenancy is legitimate and the obligations and responsibilities of each party to maintain that legitimacy.

Residential Lease Agreements can be used for any kind of residential property, including apartments, houses, and condominiums. Whenever a tenant leases a residential property from a landlord, this type of agreement can be used to govern the relationship.

Other Names for Residential Lease Agreement

Depending on your state, a Residential Lease Agreement may also be known as:

  • Rental Agreement

  • Apartment Lease

  • House Rental Agreement

  • Lease Form

  • Rental Contract

Who Needs a Residential Lease Agreement?

Anyone entering a residential rental relationship is advised to use a Residential Lease Agreement. This includes:

  • Homeowners renting some or all of their property

  • Tenants renting a residential property

  • Individuals renting property to friends or relatives

  • Property managers

Using this type of agreement outlines, in writing, the rights and responsibilities of the contracting parties and prevents either from trying to alter conditions of the residency.

Typically, only individuals will need a Residential Lease Agreement. Businesses and other organizations use Commercial Lease Agreements.

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How to Create a Residential Lease Agreement with 360 Legal Forms

Making sure your Residential Lease Agreement contains all the right clauses is crucial to protect your property. With 360 Legal Forms, all you need to do is fill out a few required fields, and we will put together a Residential Lease Agreement that's right for your needs and your local laws.

Let 360 Legal Forms help with our extensive library of attorney-vetted legal forms. The process is fast and easy. All you have to do is fill out our simple-to-understand questionnaire. Once complete, just download your form as a PDF or Word document from your secure online account.

What Information Will I Need to Create My Residential Lease Agreement?

To create your document, please provide:

  • Landlord: The full name and address of the person who owns the property.

  • Tenant: The full name and address of the person leasing the property.

  • Property: Full description of the property in question. This should include the address, square footage, amenities, and other relevant details.

  • Lease Specifics: The terms and conditions of the lease. These should include the length of the lease agreement and type of lease.

  • Payment Details: All the details relating to rent payment for the lease, including the amount due, payment frequency, and other details, such as security deposit information.

  • Rights and Obligations: The rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord.

  • Dispute Resolution: How disputes arising from the Residential Lease Agreement will be settled, whether through mediation, arbitration, or both.

  • Other Details: Any other clauses that apply to the lease agreement. Common clauses include options to renew the lease, options to purchase the property (rent-to-own), and any signing incentives for the tenant.

Residential Lease Agreement Terms

  • Pro Rata: Describes a situation in which a payment is made in proportion to something received. For example, if the tenant overstays at the property for a few days, they will only have to pay for that time rather than a whole month even if rent is established on a monthly basis.

  • Residential Purposes: The use of property only as a place to live and not to do business in.

  • Mechanic's Lien: The right of a filer (usually a contractor) to seek unpaid compensation for work done on a property. Usually, a Residential Lease Agreement does not allow Mechanics' Liens to be placed on a property.

  • Remedies: A contract clause that explains what the landlord can do if the lease is terminated by the tenant's inability to pay rent.

  • Guarantor: A person who guarantees they will pay for the tenant's debt if the tenant cannot or will not pay.

What Payments Are Associated With a Residential Lease Agreement?

There are two categories of payments typically found in this lease agreement, recurring payments and one-time payments.

Recurring Payments

  • Rent: The primary recurring financial obligation exchanged in order to occupy the premises.

  • Pet Rent: In addition to or in place of the pet deposit, pet rent may be required by the landlord for a tenant living with pets.

  • Parking Fee: The landlord may have an additional charge for the use of parking spaces.

One-Time Payments

  • Security Deposit: An amount of money the tenant deposits with the landlord. It is kept for the duration of the tenancy and may be applied by the landlord to damages and unpaid rent after the lease ends. Some states require the security deposit to be placed in an account with a financial institution. 

  • Pet Deposit: For tenants that bring pets into the premises, the landlord may require a pet deposit. This amount is usually retained for damage caused by the animals.

  • Prepaid Rent: The Landlord may require prepayment of a certain number of months of rent. There are also instances where the tenant may want to pay for multiple months up front.

Residential Lease Agreement Signing Requirements

To be valid, a Residential Lease Agreement needs to be signed by the landlord and all tenants. If a guarantor is used, the guarantor should also sign the agreement.

In most cases, a Residential Lease Agreement doesn't need to be notarized. As soon as it is signed by the tenants and the landlord, the agreement is legally enforceable. However, using a notary is a good way to avoid any trouble down the line and ensures that no one can challenge the signatures in the future.

What to Do With Your Rental Lease Agreement

Tenants should keep a signed copy of the Rental Lease Agreement for their personal records. Keep this copy as long as you reside at the property and until you have moved out and received your security deposit back.

As a landlord, go through the lease agreement thoroughly with your tenants and make sure they understand all the important points and provisions. After it's signed and dated, provide a copy to your tenants and retain a copy for your personal records.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Generally, a lease agreement does not need to be notarized. Both the tenant(s) and landlord only need to sign the document to make it legally enforceable. However, the use of a notary ensures that no one challenges any signatures later and is a secure way to firmly establish the effectiveness of your document.

A fixed-term lease states the duration of the tenancy. Upon expiration, the tenant has to renew the lease to stay in the premises. On the other hand, a month-to-month tenancy automatically renews at the end of each month until either the tenant or landlord decides to terminate the lease.

Under normal circumstances, landlords must give notice to tenants before entering a rental property. Exceptions to this are emergencies, such as a fire or a gas leak.
If the landlord gives written notice in accordance with local law and has a valid cause, the tenant cannot refuse them entry to the premises.

A fixed-term lease specifies when the tenancy will end. In other words, the date when the lease expires is set in the agreement. Once that date comes, the lease automatically ends and neither party has to give notice to the other about the termination of the lease. This type of lease usually doesn't allow the landlord to change the terms during the fixed period.
A periodic lease with automatic renewal terminates at the end of every period and renews automatically. Unless either party chooses to terminate the lease, it will continue to renew after every period ends.

Most Residential Lease Agreements are structured to allow only people listed as occupants to reside at the property. Children born to occupants are automatically added to the lease. However, landlords must be informed of any additional residents and need to approve the change to the agreement's list of occupants.

The basic difference between these two terms lies in the time period of the agreement. Rental agreements typically encompass 30 days or less of property use. Residential leases, on the other hand, usually last between six and 24 months. An annual lease is the standard practice.

Generally speaking, this is not a good idea. Renting to yourself creates what's known as phantom losses and phantom income. From a tax standpoint, this sets you up for major problems in the future and the situations in which it could benefit you are highly circumspect.

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