What is a Rental Lease Agreement?
A rental lease is a legal contract between the landlord and a tenant. It allows the tenant to occupy space/property in exchange for rent. A rental lease outlines the terms and conditions under which the tenant rents the specified space/property.
Before authorizing a rental lease, a landlord may be obligated to run a background and credit check on the proposed tenants. It allows the landlord to know if the tenant can be able to afford the rent. A lease is important for legal protection regardless of the type of lease agreement in case problems arises during the tenancy.
State-specific Rental Lease Agreements
Types of lease agreements
Month-to-Month Rental Agreement– A flexible lease that lasts for a month-long. It has an automatic lease renewal and continues when either party, (Landlord or tenant) issues a notice to terminate the tenancy.
Standard Lease Agreement – is the most common type of agreement for residential properties. The agreement lasts for a fixed period of one year or as agreed between the parties on renewal.
Commercial Lease Agreement – A lease that is used for renting out retail space, offices, industrial facility space, restaurants, or any other property/space for commercial/business operations.
Sublease Agreement– It is used when an existing tenant rents out a property or a room. It is applicable in cases where the tenants want to end their lease but cannot break the lease, thus subletting. It is also used when a tenant wants to remain in the dwelling unit while subletting a room.
Room Rental Agreement– It outlines the rules and boundaries when renting a room in a property or among sharing roommates/ roommates and the landlord. Examples are rent division, utility payments, visitors, and others.
One Page (Simple) Agreement– It is used for a fixed term and contains basic details binding the landlord and the tenant.
Short-Term (Vacation) Agreement – An agreement whose tenancy lasts for a few days. It is mostly applied to homeowners, condominiums, apartments, or any other type of residence as agreed between the parties.
Rent to Own Agreement– An agreement that contains provisions giving a tenant an option to purchase the property at the end of the lease. It includes rent payments and down payments for the property if the tenant chooses that.
What a General Lease Agreement should contain
There are primary details that every lease agreement should have regardless of the type. They are:
- Date of the agreement entered between the landlord and the tenant
- Name and addresses of both parties (Landlord and tenant)
- Description of the rental unit
- Required rent and the terms of payments
- Security deposit and terms surrounding it (amount, returning security deposits)
- Term of occupancy
State-wise Security Deposit Limits
|Alabama||One month rent|
|Alaska||Two month’s rent|
|Arizona||One and half month’s rent|
|Arkansas||Two month’s rent|
|California||Two month’s rent for the unfurnished and three month’s rent for the furnished property|
|Connecticut||For 62 years and older, One month rent. Younger than that, two month’s rent|
|Delaware||One month’s rent for a yearly lease. There is no limit for the rest|
|Hawaii||One month’s rent|
|Iowa||Two month’s rent|
|Kansas||One month’s rent for unfurnished and one half month’s rent for the furnished|
|Maine||Two month’s rent|
|Maryland||Two month’s rent|
|Massachusetts||One month’s rent|
|Michigan||One and half month’s rent|
|Missouri||Two month’s rent|
|Nebraska||One month’s rent|
|Nevada||Three month’s rent|
|New Hampshire||One month’s rent or $100, whichever is greater|
|New Jersey||One and half month’s rent|
|New Mexico||One month’s rent for one year lease and under. No limit for more than one year leases|
|New York||One month’s rent|
|North Carolina||Two month’s rent. One and a half month’s for tenancy at will|
|North Dakota||One month’s rent. Two month’s rent if there are pets.|
|Pennsylvania||Two month’s rent|
|Rhode Island||One month’s rent|
|South Carolina||No limit|
|South Dakota||One month’s rent|
|Virginia||Two month’s rent|
|West Virginia||No limit|
State-wise Security Deposit Return Deadline
|Alabama||60 days after termination of lease|
|Alaska||14 days after termination of the lease|
|Arizona||14 days after the tenant vacates|
|Arkansas||60 days after termination of the agreement|
|California||60 days after end of tenancy|
|Colorado||One month if it was on the lease agreement, if not, two months|
|Connecticut||30 days after the tenant moves out or 15 days from the time the landlord receives the tenant’s new address|
|Delaware||20 days after tenancy termination|
|Florida||15 days after termination. 30 days after termination if there are deductions to be done|
|Georgia||One month after termination date|
|Hawaii||14 days after lease termination|
|Idaho||21 days if not stated in the lease. 30 days if stated in the lease|
|Illinois||30 days if there are deductions. 45 days if no deductions|
|Indiana||45 days after tenancy termination|
|Iowa||30 days after vacating the premises|
|Kansas||30 days from termination date|
|Kentucky||60 days from the termination of tenancy|
|Louisiana||One month form termination date|
|Maine||30 days for fixed lease period. 21 days for month-month lease|
|Maryland||45 days from termination date|
|Massachusetts||30 days after the tenant vacates|
|Michigan||30 days after tenancy expires|
|Minnesota||Three weeks from termination date|
|Mississippi||45 days after tenancy expires|
|Missouri||30 days after lease termination|
|Montana||30 days if there are deductions. 10 days if there are no deductions.|
|Nebraska||14 days after tenancy termination|
|Nevada||30 days after tenancy ends|
|New Hampshire||30 days. 20 days if the property is shared with the landlord|
|New Jersey||30 days after the lease is terminated|
|New Mexico||30 days after lease termination|
|New York||14 days after the tenant vacates the premises|
|North Carolina||30 days after termination. 60 days if there are deductions|
|North Dakota||30 days after tenancy termination|
|Ohio||30 days after termination of lease|
|Oklahoma||45 days after termination of lease|
|Oregon||31 days after tenancy termination|
|Pennsylvania||30 days after lease termination|
|Rhode Island||20 days after the lease ends|
|South Carolina||30 days after termination|
|South Dakota||14 days if no deductions. 45 days where there is deductions|
|Tennessee||30 days from termination date|
|Texas||30 days after the tenancy termination|
|Utah||30 days after the lease expires|
|Vermont||14 days. 60 days for seasonal property|
|Virginia||45 days after termination of the lease|
|Washington||21 days after the tenant vacates the premises|
|West Virginia||60 days. For cases where the property is rented within 45 days, then the deposit is returned immediately|
|Wisconsin||21 days after the tenant vacates the premises|
|Wyoming||30 days after the lease expires or 15 days after receiving the tenant’s new address|
Disclosures and Addendums
The required disclosures and addendums vary according to the state. The disclosures may be written in the lease agreement and addendums may be attached in a separate sheet.
- Landlord’s Name and Address – The name and address of the landlord or any other person authorized to act on their behalf. It is important for deliveries of legal notices and demands when the need arises.
- Lead-Based Paint -The landlord should give notice of potential lead-based paint risks for the property built before 1978. A pamphlet with known hazards in the rental unit should be provided.
- Asbestos – The disclosure is required for properties built before 1981. The landlord informs the tenants of the asbestos situation and precautions to take to avoid messing with asbestos fibers.
- Mold Disclosure – current mold situation in the property to avoid future liability caused by mold damages.
- Bed-Bugs – Landlords provide information on how to deal with a bedbug infestation in buildings with a history of bed bug infestations. It outlines the tenants’ obligation to comply with bed bug prevention by informing the landlord of any signs.
- Move-in Checklist – An itemized list of damages in the property before a tenant occupies the property. A tenant is liable for any serious damage that occurs during the tenancy.
- Late and Returned Check Fees- The landlord should disclose if they intend to charge any late fees or returned check fees depending on the state requirements.
- Refundable and Non-Refundable Fees – The landlord discloses any non-refundable fees so that they are not subject to a refund when the lease agreement expires.