Lease Agreement

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,680 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Lease Agreement?

CREATE A FREE PROJECT POSTING
Post Project Now

What Is a Lease Agreement?

A lease agreement is a legal document outlining the rental terms for either a commercial or residential property between the property owner, also known as the landlord or lessor, and the renter, also known as the tenant or lessee. These documents can also be called apartment leases or lease forms.

Creating a thorough and effective lease agreement is very important as it protects all parties involved throughout the length of the lease. While many landlords begin with boilerplate lease agreements, the language and terms are negotiable by all parties until signed, at which point the lease agreement becomes a legally binding document.

Types of Leases

People can lease all manner of property, including items like cars and boats. Most frequently, however, lease agreements are used for real estate, both residential and commercial. A few of the most common types of leases include:

  • Commercial lease: Commercial property like offices.
  • Condominium lease: A residential property that shares some building amenities with other tenants.
  • Family member lease: For family members leasing property.
  • Hunting lease: To use private property for hunting.
  • Lease-to-own lease: Provides the option to purchase the property from the landlord.
  • Month-to-month lease: A type of short-term lease agreement.
  • Parking space lease: To use for parking a vehicle on private property.
  • Room lease: Leasing a single room within a home.
  • Standard lease: Used for single-family homes, apartments, and other residential properties.
  • Sublet lease: A lease created by the renter for adding a renter to the lease.
  • Short-term lease: Used for short-term leases of unusual periods.
  • Weekly lease: Used often for vacation properties.

Elements of a Lease Agreement

Lease agreement terms can differ greatly depending on the type of lease and the specific needs of the renter and landlord. However, basic elements include:

  • Contact information: Include information for the landlord and all adults who will live at the property.
  • Property details: Describe the property with its address, square footage, amenities, and other important identifiers.
  • Lease specifics: Explain the type of lease, such as residential, and the terms, such as the end date.
  • Rent details: List the monthly rent amount and the date it's due each month.
  • Rights and obligations: Provide the rights for the landlord and tenants, such as entry or giving notices.
  • Dispute resolution: Outline the steps to resolve any disputes over the property or lease agreement.
  • Deposit and fees: List the amount of any security or other deposits or additional fees.
  • Occupancy limits: Provide specifics for how many people and who specifically can reside at the property.
  • Restrictions: List any restrictions, like installing additional appliances or making changes to permanent fixtures.
  • Pets: Describe whether or not pets are allowed and the specifics related to pets on the property.
  • Maintenance and repairs: List what maintenance and repairs are provided by the landlord.
  • Utilities: Explain who is responsible for paying which utilities.

Lease Agreement Templates

Purchase and download fillable PDF templates that match your Lease Agreement needs.
Standard Lease
For annual residential leases.
Room Rental
For residential room rentals.
Month-to-Month Lease
For monthly residential leases.
Roommate Agreement
For agreement among roommates.
Lease Addendum
For updating a current lease.
Lease Termination
For terminating a current lease.
*By purchasing a template, you acknowledge that you have read and understood ContractsCounsel's Terms of Use.

Addendum, Disclosures, and Notices

Some leases require additional documentation in the form of addenda, disclosures, and notices. Usually, disclosures are included with the initial lease, while addenda and notices can be added to the lease later.

  • Addendum: An addendum is an addition to the lease. Common examples include adding pet terms to a lease or documenting a change in one of the renters.
  • Disclosures: Disclosures are often legally required to ensure renters understand all aspects of the property they're renting. An example might be the possible existence of old lead paint in a home built prior to a certain date.
  • Notices: Notices are official announcements. For example, a renter might give notice that they don't intend to renew their lease for another year.

Lease Agreement End Dates

Leases generally have two possible end dates — either fixed term or automatic renewal. Fixed-term end dates provide a specific time frame in which the lease is active. At the end of the lease, both parties must agree to renew and either include an addendum to the lease extending its length or write up a new lease. An automatic renewal continues indefinitely unless either the landlord or the renter provides notice dissolving the lease.

Image via Unsplash by Sebastian Herrmann

Lease Agreement vs. Rental Agreement

Often, the terms "lease agreement" and "rental agreement" are used interchangeably. However, some people do use them to mean specific things, so it's essential that you clarify with the other parties involved in a lease agreement what the terms of the contract are.

Generally, lease agreements refer to long-term property contracts, usually over 30 days. Lease agreements also tend to have fixed-term end dates. Rental agreements, by contrast, refer to short-term property contracts, usually under 30 days. These often renew automatically.

What Is a Rent-to-Own Lease Agreement?

Rent-to-own lease agreements, also called option-to-purchase or lease-to-own agreements, give the renter the option to buy the property at a predetermined price. In most cases, the renter pays an option fee to the landlord for the right to purchase the property later. If the renter decides not to go through with the purchase, then the landlord keeps the option fee.

Lease Agreement Laws

Every state in the country has its own laws and regulations regarding leasing and renting property. If you're a landlord, it's vital you understand the laws for your state to ensure your lease agreement properly accounts for all the legal necessities for you and your tenants. Most states have laws outlining:

  • General landlord and tenant rights.
  • Security deposits.
  • Landlord's access to the property once the tenant takes up residence.
  • Late rent payments.
  • Lease agreement violations.

How to Create a Lease Agreement

Landlords have a couple of options when writing a lease agreement. You can create your own by using a standard template and adjusting it to meet the needs of your tenants. However, if you're not well-versed in the landlord and tenant laws that govern your state, you may not adequately cover all the necessary terms in your lease. It's often better to consult a contract attorney who can help you draft a lease agreement that protects both you and your tenant while meeting all state legal obligations.

Important Terms

When writing or reviewing a lease, you'll probably come across some industry terms. These are the most common and important to understand:

  • Alterations: Changes to the property,  such as paint or fixtures.
  • Appliances: Items like ranges and refrigerators that are included with the property.
  • Cosigner: A third-party who helps the primary tenant pay the rent.
  • Furnishings: A list of all included furniture like tables, couches, and beds.
  • Guarantor: A third-party who will pay the rent if the primary tenant cannot.
  • Governing law: Reference to the state laws that govern the lease.
  • Guests: The number of people who can visit the property at one time.
  • House rules: Agreed-upon rules like quiet hours.
  • Insurance: Disclosure of any landlord-provided insurance protection for the tenants.
  • Late charges: The amount of money the tenant will have to pay in addition to their rent if payment is late.
  • Monthly rent: The amount of money due each month.
  • Parking: Explanation of whether parking is included, where, and for how many vehicles.
  • Receipt of agreement: All parties must have a copy of the signed lease for it to be valid.
  • Renewal option: An explanation of the terms and conditions related to renewing the lease.
  • Security deposit: The amount of the security deposit and the terms for the tenant to get it back at the end of the lease.
  • Subletting: An explanation of whether subletting is allowed and the specifics for adding a subletter.
  • Termination: Specifics for early termination of the lease and any monetary penalties associated.
  • Utilities: A description of which party is responsible for which utilities.

Lease agreements are legally binding agreements, so the language within the lease must be clear and comprehensive. Consider using the expertise of a contract lawyer to help you craft an effective lease agreement that protects everyone involved.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lease Agreement Lawyers

View Daliah
Member Since:
September 1, 2021

Daliah S.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Chicago, IL
18 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
University of Illinois College of Law

Daliah Saper operates a cutting-edge internet and social media law practice that regularly leads local and national media outlets to solicit her commentary on emerging internet law issues involving cyberbullying, sexting, catfishing, revenge porn, anonymous online defamation, domain name and user-name squatting, privacy, and the latest business decisions made by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. As a litigator Daliah represents companies bringing or defending business and intellectual property disputes. (She has argued cases in a number of jurisdictions including taking a case all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.) As a transactional lawyer she helps clients choose the right business entity, drafts contracts and licensing agreements, advises on sweepstakes and contest rules, and ensures website terms of use and privacy policies are compliant, and provides comprehensive trademark and copyright counseling. Since founding Saper Law Offices in 2005, Daliah has been named a 40 Under 40 by Law Bulletin Publishing Co., a top Media & Advertising attorney by Super Lawyers Magazine 14 years in a row, and has been repeatedly recognized as a leading media and entertainment lawyer by Chambers and Partners. For the past eleven years, she also has taught entertainment and social media law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

View Alex
Member Since:
August 26, 2021

Alex M.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles, California
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Southwestern Law School

Mr. Mehdipour attended the University of California San Diego where he received his degree in political science. After graduating from UCSD, Mr. Mehdipour attended Southwestern University School of Law where he received his JD. Upon passing the bar, Mr. Mehdipour gained invaluable experience both in a law firm and business setting. Mr. Mehdipour uses his prior business and legal experiences to negotiate the most advantageous results for his clients.

View Alen
Member Since:
August 26, 2021

Alen A.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles, CA
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of West Los Angeles

Alen Aydinian is a versatile attorney with over a decade of experience working with business owners and real estate professionals. Client engagement is central to a successful attorney/client relationship. Alen personally manages all client relationships so that his clients can see how their interests are being served at every stage of the process.

View Nicholas
Member Since:
August 28, 2021

Nicholas A.

Founder, Victrix Legal LLC
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Buffalo, NY
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in NY
Liberty University School of Law

I help small business owners build and protect their dreams. I always thought that I would just be a litigator. Then I joined an intellectual property clinic in law school. We were helping nonprofits and small businesses reach their goals. I fell in love with the work and decided to open my own firm so I could keep helping them. When I decided to start Victrix Legal, I decided that it would be a modern law firm designed to serve professionals. It would be different from every other law firm. In my experience, my law firms are designed to promote inefficiency and reactionary lawyering. Because in most firms, you make more money when you spend more time on a project. And you lose money if your client doesn't get sued. In my opinion, that's a built-in conflict of interest. My firm is different. I use flat fees for most basic projects to keep costs predictable for you and incentivize efficiency. I offer long-term advisory plans and legal audits to prevent issues from happening. I want my clients to see me as their business partner, not just the guy they call when they are in trouble. If any of that interests you, please reach out to me. I offer free consultations. Let's set aside some time and talk about what your legal needs are.

View Gerald
Member Since:
August 28, 2021

Gerald W.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Round Rock, Texas
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL, TX
Valparaiso University School of Law

My clients know me as more than just an attorney. First and foremost, my background is much broader than that. Prior to attending the Valparaiso University School of Law, I earned a Master of Business Administration and ran a small business as a certified public accountant. Thanks to this experience, I possess unique insight which in turn allows me to better assist my clients with a wide range of business and tax matters today. In total, I have over 20 years of experience in financial management, tax law, and business consulting, and I’m proud to say that I’m utilizing the knowledge I’ve gained to assist the community of Round Rock in a variety of ways. In my current practice, I provide counsel to small to medium-sized businesses, nonprofit organizations, and everyday individuals. Though my primary areas of practice are estate planning, elder law, business consulting, and tax planning, I pride myself on assisting my clients in a comprehensive manner. Whenever I take on a new client, I make an effort to get to know them on a personal level. This, of course, begins with listening. It is important that I fully understand their vision so I can help them successfully translate it into a concrete plan of action that meets their goals and expectations. I appreciate the individual attributes of each client and know firsthand that thoughtful, creative, and customized planning can maximize both financial security and personal happiness. During my time as a certified public accountant, I cultivated an invaluable skill set. After all, while my legal education has given me a deep understanding of tax law, I would not be the tax attorney I am today without my background in accounting. Due to my far-reaching experience, I am competent in unraveling even the most complex tax mysteries and disputes. My CPA training benefits my estate planning practice, too. In the process of drafting comprehensive wills and trusts, I carefully account for every asset and plan for any tax burdens that may arise, often facilitating a much smoother inheritance for the heirs of my clients. Prior to becoming certified as a CPA, I made sure to establish a solid foundation in business both in and out of the classroom, and the acumen I’ve attained has served me well. Not only am I better able to run my own practice than I otherwise would be; I am able to help other small business owners fulfill their dreams, as well.

View Garrett
Member Since:
August 30, 2021

Garrett M.

Associate
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Dexter, MO
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Texas

Hello! I am a young attorney with four years' experience in real estate transactions, fund formation, and general corporate transactional work. I graduated in 2016 from the University of Texas - Austin and I am barred in Texas.

View Billy Joe
Member Since:
October 25, 2021

Billy Joe M.

Partner Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Chicago, IL
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 with a degree in Political Science, Finance, and Economics. I stayed around Champaign for law school and graduated in 2009. I then worked at a big law firm in downtown Chicago. It was boring, so I quit in early 2011. I thought that I could not be happy practicing law - I was wrong. After I quit the traditional law firm life, I began representing my own clients. I realize now that I love helping normal people, small business owners, and non-profits address a variety of legal issues. I hope to hear from you.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

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

Request a call