What Is a Rental Lease Agreement?

A rental lease agreement is a legal type of document that states the different terms and other necessary pieces of information that is presented to the tenant or lessee by the landlord or the lessor. The rental lease agreement will cover every detail about the space or area. This will also specify the specific restrictions in the living area, the utilities included in the rent as well as the maintenance and repairs. This can be used in occupying either a residential unit or a commercial space.

Key Elements Included in a Rental Lease Agreement

The terms: The terms will state how long the tenant will be occupying the rental space. This will be a detailed section. Include the start date as well as the date of expiry. For a rental agreement this is usually a monthly basis. On the other hand, for lease agreement the minimum length of the term is usually a year.The description of the property: Write a brief but clear description of the property that the tenants will be living in. Included in this section is the complete address of the unit they will be occupying as well as the different storage areas they are entitled to. Another important thing to mention is the parking space that they are assigned to. This is optional though. In some cases, especially in residential areas, there are no parking lots offered.The rent: The rent will pertain to the price. This is usually paid every month. In this section it is important to be specific. List out specific details on when it is to be paid. For example others prefer that the rent is paid during the first week of the month. On the other hand, others prefer that the payment is done during the last week of the month. This will also state the mode of payment. This will instruct the tenants on how they can send the payment to the landlord. Other things to specify here are the penalties if there is a delay in the payment as well as the grace period and different exemptions.The deposits and different fees: This will refer to the security deposit that the landlord will be requiring. In order to avoid having complications and arguments with the tenant, specify what the purpose of the security deposit is. In case that the security deposit is used for repairs and unpaid monthly dues, the security deposit is usually used. Also, state how the security deposit may be returned to the original amount.The information of the tenant: It is important to know the name of the tenants that will be living in the residential area. Also, included is their contact information.The limit of the occupancy: This is a key element as well. But, sometimes it is under the section of information of the tenant. However, this is a sensitive matter and in order to explain it clearly, it can be a separate discussion. The limit of the occupancy will determine how many people are occupying the residential area. This will also explain the what if’s. This will state that only the main occupant may stay along with his or her family. In case of visitors that are coming from out of town, specify here the details whether they can stay or they cannot stay. If they are allowed to stay, this will explain the restrictions and the length of days they can stay within the unit.The different restrictions: Before moving in it is important to know what is prohibited. This will state the set of rules and regulations that an occupant must abide by. This will include the common restrictions like no smoking, no illegal activities and no noise after the curfew hours. The landlord will have complete authority over these things. For no smoking, they have the power to deny or remove tenants who are smoking or in some cases even vaping. If there are tenants who smoke, the landlord may assign a particular area for smoking. A trash can for cigarette butts must be provided as well in order to maintain the cleanliness of the area. For the no illegal activity clause, this will state that any illegal dealings and activities are not allowed in the area. In the moment that the tenant is caught performing illegal activities, the landlord may remove them immediately. For the no noise clause, some spaces are near other living areas that is why there must be specified clauses for this. Set out a curfew hours for excessive noise. In some cases, there is another clause included in this section. This is the pet clause. Some landlords do not allow pets to live in the area. On the other hand, if you are a landlord that does allow this, it is still important to have a pet policy and procedure. This is important in order to instruct the tenants about the rules and regulations regarding their pets. This must clearly state that they are to clean after their pets.The maintenance and repairs: This is the section where a landlord must clearly state and explain the policies about the maintenance and repairs. This will state that the tenant is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness in the area. This will also state that in terms of damages, the landlord will not be responsible for it except for normal wear and tear. This can also be used to prohibit the tenants from making changes within the boundaries of the residential space. An examples of this is prohibiting the tenants from changing the paint color of the walls.The access to the property: This will state the policy for the landlords regarding their entry on the premises. The main purpose of the entry is usually inspection. Specify to the tenants about the notice that you will be providing in inspecting the area.The utilities included: This will state who will manage and pay the utility bills. If there are appliances and furniture that are included, it is important to point them out in the rental lease agreement. It is important to clearly state what is included in the rent and what is not.The contact information of the lessor: Another important section is to provide the contact information of the landlord. This will give the tenants the means of communicating with them in case of inquiries and emergencies.The signature: Lastly, to make the document official and to make sure that both parties have agreed to the different terms stated in the rental lease agreement, it is a must for both tenant and landlord to affix their signature along with the date.

Step by Step Process of Creating a Rental Lease Agreement

With the templates that are available above the process of writing one will become easier and faster. Still, to fully know and understand the agreement here are the different steps necessary.

Step 1: Select a Format

The first step would be to select a template that will be presentable and that would fit your taste. In some cases there are more and longer descriptions of the restrictions and different key elements of the agreement that is why it is important to carefully select a template that will be perfect for you.

Step 2: Fill Out the Agreement

Fill out the necessary pieces of information in the document. Remember to politely ask the information of the tenants and thoroughly explain why there is a need for their name and contact information. Also, be detailed in explaining to them the restrictions and the occupancy limit this will be helpful in having a peaceful agreement between the two parties in the long run.

Step 3: Review the Agreement

It is a crucial step to go over the document before making it official. In this step, both parties have to check for any errors in the agreement. Go over the renting price, payment method, maintenance and repairs and the security deposits once more as this is crucial because it involves financial assets.

Step 4: Sign the Agreement

After reviewing the agreement, both parties must sign the agreement to make it an official document. This will be a testament that both parties have agreed to the different terms stated in the agreement. This is important so that in times that there are complications and arguments, a rental lease agreement may be put forward to check the terms.

What Are the Do’s and Don’ts of a Rental Lease Agreement

The Do’s of a Rental Lease Agreement

The Agreement Should Be Complete

It is important that the document must be finished. In order to avoid suspicion and problems in the future, every section in the agreement should be stated and filled out.

Prove That You Are Credible

Some landlords may require you to provide an employment history. This will show that you are capable of paying the rent regularly. If you are not working, give them details on how you plan and how you will manage the payment.

Have a Good Reference

In some cases landlords may ask for recommendations and ask if the tenant is a good housemate and does not have any illegal activities. It is important to select a good reference in order to persuade the landlord that you are a potential candidate. This is just like in a curriculum vitae wherein you need to include a character reference.


Before moving in, you should prepare a home checklist. This will help in making sure that the property you will be renting and living in will meet your taste and standards.

Throw Questions

It is important to fully know the details about the property. Ask some questions, this will also show the landlord that you are credible and responsible.

Beat Your Competitors

This is optional. In some cases there are competitions that are also eyeing the property you want. In this case it is best to offer to pay a little bit of an extra in order to beat your competitors.

Follow Up

It is important to follow up your application. This will show that you are really interested in the property. Also, be responsive, this will help to persuade the landlord to select you as the winning tenant.

The Don’ts of a Rental Lease Agreement

No Bribes

In trying to win a property. It is definitely a bad thing to offer a bribe. This can be considered offensive and will seem creepy. Sucking up to the landlord might make them feel uneasy.

Do Not Lie

In providing your employment history it is better to be honest. This will prove that you are hardworking and willing to win the property. Also, in the rental lease agreement restriction section, it is better to be honest if you are smoking or if you have a pet. This will help in proving that you are responsible. This may lead to a negotiation with the landlord.

Do Not Be Late

In this industry, it will always be first come, first served. It is important to complete the agreement as soon as possible.


What are the responsibilities of a landlord?

The usual duties of a landlord is repairing the normal wear and tear in the house as well as fixing ventilation problems and water problems. They should also respect the privacy of the tenant. After the term of the lease has ended, it is a must that the landlord return the security deposit to the tenant.

What is the difference between a rental agreement and lease agreement?

A rental and lease agreement is often interchangeable. However, there is a slight difference between the two terms. A rental agreement is usually a short-term agreement. It is an agreement that lasts only for months. On the other hand, the minimum length of a lease agreement lasts for one whole year. In case that there is a violation in the lease agreement someone has to take over and pay for the lease or else the advance or the deposit will not be returned to the tenant. These instances must be covered in the lease termination letter.

A rental lease agreement is an important document that will prove that you are a legitimate landlord as well as prove that the tenant is responsible. It is important to remember that all the sections in the document must be read and reviewed carefully to fully understand the terms. This will help in avoiding issues and complications. This will also be a proof that both of the parties are in agreement. Make sure to try out the templates that are available above. This will help in creating a detailed and complete rental lease agreement.