ContractsCounsel Logo
Home Types of Contracts Home Rental Contract

Jump to Section

A home rental contract is a binding document containing information relating to the tenant’s and landlord’s accommodation, responsibilities, and rights. It also has provisions for any charges due to early termination, late payment, or property damage. A rental contract can also be referred to as a lease agreement, tenancy agreement, or even a rental bond.

Factors to Consider When Entering into a Home Rental Contract

  • Determine the Type of Rental Contract. There are two types of rental contracts available today. Fixed-term leases appeal to set amounts of time with an end date in mind. You may engage in a non-binding agreement, or you may ask for only one draft.
  • Verify Key Information. Some landlords might tell you that the lease only needs to have one name on it. But later on, this can cause another set of issues. If only one name appears on the rental agreement, that person will also be liable for all payments, and their name will appear on utility and tax bills. Furthermore, since you are the only one legally liable, you would have to pay out of pocket if you had a falling out with one of your roommates or if they neglected to make their rent on time. After you move out, you will also get the final utility bills or backdated tax slips. Finding former roommates or holding them accountable after the lease has expired can be difficult. It is best if all names are on the lease to save yourself all this trouble.
  • Discuss Rental Payment Terms. The rental agreement must specify exactly how payments are made. Make sure the rental agreement outlines all the costs, includes a timeline for rent payments, and outlines the repercussions for nonpayment. Some deals may include services such as the internet, electricity, and water, and others might contain only the basic rent. Some buildings will ask you to pay an annual service charge on top of rent or offer a gym for you to use. When in doubt about what you are entitled to, it is better to seek clarification before signing the contract.
  • Set Aside Money for Extra Costs. Landlords often require a security deposit equal to one or two months' rent. Rest assured that, barring normal wear and tear, you will receive this back when you move out, provided you maintain your room or apartment in the same condition as when you moved in. You will be required to pay various high fees if you choose to book through an agency, while housing platforms typically charge lower booking fees.
  • Review and Understand Lease Agreement Terms. The rental agreement will include information regarding what can and cannot be done to the property. Ensure your rental agreement permits you to hang art or paint the walls, or you risk not receiving your security deposit back. There are usually additional general prohibitions as well, like no pets or smoking. Before renting, ask the landlord if you would like any of these.

Tenant Rights in a Home Rental Contract

  • Freedom from Discrimination: The Fair Housing Act, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), shields people against discrimination when they are looking for housing assistance, renting or purchasing a property, obtaining a mortgage, or taking part in other housing-related activities." Landlords may also be forbidden from discriminating against prospective tenants at the municipal and state levels on the following grounds:
    • Nationality
    • Age
    • Status as a veteran or military personnel
    • Gender expression or identity
    • Revenue source
  • Right to Sufficient Housing: Every renter is entitled to a livable home that complies with building, health, and safety regulations. Landlords are required to fulfill the implied warranty of habitability by:
    • Ascertaining the building's fundamental structural components are secure and undamaged
    • Keeping the elevator, sanitary, HVAC, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems safe
    • Maintaining the cleanliness and safety of common areas, such as stairways and hallways
    • Making sure there is enough hot water and dependable heat
    • Making sure that risks to the environment are avoided
    • Taking appropriate safety measures to prevent illegal access
  • Right to Privacy: The landlord is the property's owner, but they cannot enter at any time. This is so that the landlord can only enter for authorized purposes, and tenants can exercise their right to privacy. Generally, your landlord must give you advance notice if they need to enter the property to make repairs or to check on something. Except for emergencies, when they are exempt from notice requirements, most states mandate that landlords give at least 24 hours notice before entering.
  • Notice of Eviction in Advance: Your landlord must give you sufficient notice, usually in writing, if they intend to evict you. The duration of what is considered "adequate" varies, but it is typically 30 or 60 days, contingent upon the situation. However, it may only last three to five days if you have broken your rental agreement.

Furthermore, notices of eviction fall into two primary categories:

  • For Cause: This kind of termination notice is used by landlords when a tenant violates the lease's terms, such as failing to pay rent or causing damage to the property. Watch this video to learn more.
  • Without Cause: If the tenant has not broken any rules, the landlord may terminate a month-to-month lease in some areas by serving a notice to vacate. Generally speaking, a landlord cannot end a fixed-term lease without good reason. Watch this video to learn more.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Nicholas M.

55 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Darryl S.

45 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Rhea d.

26 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Leonid G.

4 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Changing or Terminating a Home Rental Contract

If the tenant has a month-to-month rental agreement, the new landlord may generally end the tenancy or raise the rent before the beginning of the next month as long as you give the required notice—typically 30 days, though this varies by state and the length of time the tenant has occupied the property. Regardless of who owns the property, the tenant has the legal right to occupy the rental for the duration of the lease if a fixed-term agreement, such as one that lasts six months or a year, is in place.

Exceptions to Termination

The lease may be terminated early in certain situations:

  • One is if the lease contains language stating that the seller or owner may end it if they sell or transfer the property; if this is the case, the lease may be legally ended when you purchase the house.
  • The other possibility is that you may adhere to your state's notice-to-vacate regulations if you purchase the property due to foreclosure. For instance, in Washington, you cannot start an eviction procedure until you have given tenants sixty days' notice to vacate a foreclosed property.
  • Lastly, you can use an owner move-in eviction (OMI) to force a tenant to vacate the property if you intend to use it as your primary residence and not as a rental.

Key Terms for Home Rental Contracts

  • Easement Agreement: A real estate concept describes a situation in which one party uses another's property and pays the property owner a fee in exchange for the right to use the property.
  • Eviction: A tenant at will is someone who doesn’t pay rent and can be kicked out by the landlord through the court process called eviction.
  • Tenancy-at-will: A tenancy-at-will takes place when either the owner/landlord or the tenant can terminate it at any given moment.

Final Thoughts on Home Rental Contracts

The purpose of having a lease agreement is to protect tenants’ rights, shield you from exploitative landlords, and contribute towards making your investment safe. Regardless of how flexible your tenancy terms might appear, just remember that there are some unalterable responsibilities imposed on both sides by law.

If you want free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, Click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

Need help with a Home Rental Contract?

Create a free project posting
Clients Rate Lawyers 4.9 Stars
based on 11,002 reviews

Meet some of our Home Rental Contract Lawyers

Matthew S. on ContractsCounsel
View Matthew
4.9 (11)
Member Since:
August 5, 2020

Matthew S.

Free Consultation
Flemington, NJ
40 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University)

I am a 1984 graduate of the Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University) and have been licensed in New Jersey for over 35 years. I have extensive experience in negotiating real estate, business contracts, and loan agreements. Depending on your needs I can work remotely or face-to-face. I offer prompt and courteous service and can tailor a contract and process to meet your needs.

Bruce B. on ContractsCounsel
View Bruce
5.0 (13)
Member Since:
January 11, 2022

Bruce B.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Tampa, FL
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
University of South Carolina

Bruce Burk practice is in the area of small business, labor and employment, contracts, real estate and civil litigation. Bruce has litigated over 40 trials as well as many appeals. He prioritizes client communication and satisfaction as well as delivering high quality work product.

Faryal A. on ContractsCounsel
View Faryal
4.9 (105)
Member Since:
February 23, 2023

Faryal A.

Free Consultation
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Houston

Ms. Ayub is an attorney licensed to practice in Texas. Before moving to the US, she has a number of years of experience in contract review, analysis and drafting. Ms. Ayub is available to help you with your legal problems, as well as filling LLC and other business entity formation documents. To know more about her practice, please visit

Keidi C. on ContractsCounsel
View Keidi
5.0 (12)
Member Since:
August 25, 2021

Keidi C.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Boston, MA
26 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MA, NY
New England Law | Boston

Keidi S. Carrington brings a wealth of legal knowledge and business experience in the financial services area with a particular focus on investment management. She is a former securities examiner at the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and Associate Counsel at State Street Bank & Trust and has consulted for various investment houses and private investment entities. Her work has included developing a mutual fund that invested in equity securities of listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other listed real estate companies; establishing private equity and hedge funds that help clients raise capital by preparing offering materials, negotiating with prospective investors, preparing partnership and LLC operating agreements and advising on and documenting management arrangements; advising on the establishment of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs/Token Offerings) and counseling SEC registered and state investment advisers regarding organizational structure and compliance. Ms. Carrington is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in International Relations. She earned her Juris Doctorate from New England Law | Boston and her LL.M. in Banking and Financial Law from Boston University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York. Currently, her practice focuses on assisting investors, start-ups, small and mid-size businesses with their legal needs in the areas of corporate and securities law.

Namrita N. on ContractsCounsel
View Namrita
4.9 (12)
Member Since:
August 18, 2021

Namrita N.

Attorney at Law
Free Consultation
Plano, TX
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MN, TX
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Retired Dentist transitioned to Law, with a special interest in Commercial Real Estate, Startup businesses, Asset Purchase Agreements, and Employment Contracts. I love to help dentists and physicians with legal issues pertaining to licensing, credentialing, employment, and general business-legal questions.

Jim S. on ContractsCounsel
View Jim
Member Since:
August 13, 2021

Jim S.

Free Consultation
38 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Notre Dame

Jim Slattery most recently served as General Counsel at Regional News Network, a large owner of broadcast television stations. Jim is an experienced attorney with broad-based expertise. He is a seasoned negotiator who has been involved in negotiations as complex as the Olympic Games. Jim spent 18 years as Vice President for Business and Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal. Previously, Jim worked in the media industry in various roles at All American Television. Jim’s success can be attributed to his ability to properly analyze data, manage projects, lead teams, develop creative solutions for complex problems, focus on strategically optimizing assets, manage/allocate risk and collaborate with divergent constituent groups to achieve objectives. Jim received a J.D. and a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

Jonathan H. on ContractsCounsel
View Jonathan
Member Since:
September 19, 2021

Jonathan H.

Free Consultation
New York
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Pace Law School

I’m an attorney focusing my practice on concierge corporate and intellectual property law for startups and high-growth companies. I also serve as outside General Counsel to several businesses in various sectors. Since founding my practice I've worked with hundreds of clients across a variety of industries. My experience as a former General Counsel of a premier edtech company gives me unique insight into the challenges my clients face and how to resolve them efficiently and cost-effectively.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Need help with a Home Rental Contract?

Create a free project posting
Clients Rate Lawyers 4.9 Stars
based on 11,002 reviews
Real Estate lawyers by top cities
See All Real Estate Lawyers
Home Rental Contract lawyers by city
See All Home Rental Contract Lawyers

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Lease Review (My home renting to tenant)
Location: California
Turnaround: A week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Residential Real Estate Lease Agreement
Number of Bids: 8
Bid Range: $350 - $2,000

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Rent to Own contract help requested
Location: Florida
Turnaround: A week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Residential Real Estate Lease Agreement
Number of Bids: 2
Bid Range: $750 - $1,500

Need help with a Home Rental Contract?

Create a free project posting
Clients Rate Lawyers 4.9 Stars
based on 11,002 reviews

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city