The 5 Most Important Elements of a Rent Lease

By Sam Feeder , last updated December 22, 2011

The five most important elements of a rent lease are integral to know for a landlord and for a tenant as these will specify who is on the lease, what the responsibilities are and what the term and rent is for the time the property, house or apartment is being rented. All of these elements should be included on the lease that is signed by both the tenant and the landlord and the beginning of the term and are usually the main points of interaction between the landlord and tenant, as it covers paying rent and the amount of rent that is agreed upon to paid for the property. A lease is a legal contract which protects both the landlord and tenant, so the more specific it is, the better everyone is protected in case a dispute arises. Check out the most important elements of a rent lease listed below and make sure they are all included on the lease document you are about to sign in the future.

Names of Tenants

The names of the tenants, the business, and the person who runs the business should be mentioned on the lease. These should all be signed correctly and should match the signatures on the lease when the tenants finally sign with the landlord. The landlord or the management company's name should also be mentioned on the lease as well, so that everyone is clear on who has what role in the tenant and landlord relationship. As soon as everyone signs, these names will be held accountable for everything that is included in the lease, so it is integral that all the names are right, otherwise the lease might not hold up in court if a lawsuit does arise.

Lease Term

The lease term is another integral part of the rent lease agreement which governs how long the tenant is allowed to rent the space from the landlord who manages or owns the property. In most cases, there will be an option at the end of the lease term for the tenant to renew their lease for another amount of time as agreed upon by the landlord and tenant. Most lease terms are about a year for residential places; however, this amount of time can vary between month to month to many years straight. For commercial properties, leasing terms can vary between a few years to a decade, depending on what the business is. Make sure that this amount of time is clearly stated in the lease, saying what date you are renting the property on and what date the lease will be up. The more clearly spelled out, the better.

Payment of Rent

Payment of rent is an important element of the lease rental agreement because it clearly stipulates how much rent is to be paid for the property per month. It also should say what date the rent should be paid and where it should be sent specifically, so that there is no confusion when the tenant is trying to give the landlord money. The amount the rent may change from year to year may also be specified in this portion of the rent lease agreement, so that should also be looked at when figuring out the lease.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are required by most rental properties so that they can ensure the tenant doesn't destroy the property and they won't have any money left over to repair it. These security deposits are typically a month to a month and a half of rent that is given to the landlord when the rent lease is signed which they will hold onto until the end of the rental term. These security deposits, along with the first month of rent, can be a lot of money down off the bat but the good thing is that the security deposit can often be used for the last month of rent, so that the half month will cover any minor damages that may have occurred. Make sure the amount of the security deposit is specified in the lease and what is considered damage to the property when you rent it.

Responsibilities

Both the tenant and the landlord have responsibilities which need to be highlighted in the rent lease agreement. Fines can be added on to the lease if the tenant doesn't pay on time but this must be specified in the agreement. The landlord also has a number of things that they must do to ensure the property is kept up to the tenant's standards, namely that there is working electricity and plumbing, among other things. The landlord's responsibilities should be specified in the lease as well.

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