Free Lease/Rental Agreement
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Lease Agreement Forms by State
Lease Agreement Forms by Type
Commercial Lease Agreement
Land/Ground Lease Agreement
Document a long term lease on land that a tenant can improve and develop.
Month-to-Month Rental/Lease Agreement
Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement
Room Rental Agreement
Form a sublease or rental agreement between a tenant and third party.
Vacation Rental Short Term Lease Agreement
Table of Contents
1. Download a Lease Agreement Template
2. The Basics: What is a Lease Agreement?
What is a lease agreement?
A lease agreement is a written document that officially recognizes a legally binding relationship between two parties — a landlord and a tenant. This page covers residential agreements — click the following link if you’re looking for information about commercial lease agreements.
A landlord and a tenant shake hands after successfully negotiating an agreement.
A simple residential lease agreement in writing will identify the following basic elements:
- Premises: a house, apartment, condo, basement, or attic
- Landlord: the owner of the Premise, aka “Lessor”
- Tenant: renter who wants to live in the Premises, aka “Lessee”
- Rent: amount of money paid by the Tenant to the Landlord
- Term: length of time the Tenant has the right to stay on the Premises
An example of an agreement that contains all of the necessary basic information.
PDF Sample Lease Agreement
The sample residential lease agreement below describes a contract between “Landlord” Keith Richards and “Tenant” Clara Trueba. She agrees to rent a two bed room, two bathroom apartment in Los Angeles for $2,000 per month for a fixed length of 12 months. The tenant agrees to pay for electricity, gas, water, cable television, and telephone, and the landlord agrees to pay for trash and sewage. This is a good example of what provisions a simple lease agreement might contain, and how one should look in its final form.
As a reference, people often call this document by other names:
Lease agreements are not limited to the above. It may also be used to cover these additional Premises:
If you’re looking for an alternative to leasing out your place, there is also the option of being a host on Airbnb for guests instead. However, take a look at our guide before considering such option.
3. When Do I Need One?
When a formal relationship exists between two parties, the law recognizes that both the Landlord and Tenant have a special set of rights and obligations.
In contrast, an oral agreement (verbal, spoken, or word of mouth) is difficult to enforce in a court and is unlikely to accurately capture important details over time. Memories fade, people remember different things, and sometimes we understandably change our minds because circumstances change.
A written version, however, serves as a constant reminder to everyone, including you and the court, about what everyone agreed to at the beginning of the relationship.
The Landlord promises to:
- Repair and maintain the air conditioner or heater
- Respect the Tenant’s privacy and not make any surprise visits or allow anyone else to use the condo (“Quiet Enjoyment”)
- Provide a safe and clean home to the Tenant for the Term of the Lease
- Return the Tenant’s Security Deposit (with interest if required) if the Tenant treats the Premises like their own and it is still in good condition at the end of the lease
- Tell the Tenant in advance if they need to enter the Premises to fix something or show someone the property
The Tenant promises to:
- Pay the Landlord on time each month on a specific day
- Pay the utility company directly for light, gas, heating, and water
- Live in the home only with their spouse, children, and maybe even their parents or grandparents (“immediate family”)
- Not have a dog, cat, chinchilla, pork belly pig, or pet goat in the house without first asking the Landlord or paying a small fee (“Pet Policy”)
- Not start an illegal business like a meth lab or human trafficking scheme (only “residential” and “lawful” purposes)
In contrast to a verbal, spoken, or oral agreement, an agreement in writing clearly spells out the detailed promises between the Landlord and Tenant and also explains what should happen if they break their promises to each other. If you’re planning on running a landlord business professionally, keep in mind that these promises carry the full weight of the law — avoid making these 7 major mistakes that could spell the end your business.
4. The Consequences of Not Having One
This document can resolve problems in a neutral and objective manner before a simple problem becomes a more complicated problem.