Landlords must follow certain guidelines when preparing leases. This ensures that the lease agreement template is valid and binding. Although state laws may vary as to details, there are many general guidelines that landlords must follow if they want to set up a valid lease agreement.
Written Leases Only
In most states, leases must be in writing to be valid. Oral leases and agreements are difficult to enforce because there’s no evidence of what the actual agreement was, and misunderstandings can occur because both parties had a different interpretation of the terms of the agreement. For example, if you and your tenant have a verbal agreement about the day he is to pay his rent and he doesn’t pay on the first day of the month because he thought the agreement was that he has until the 15th of each month, it’s difficult to evict him. Get all important facets of the lease in writing to protect yourself against problems resulting from these types of misunderstandings.
Rental Agreement Technical Requirements
State laws vary when it comes to technical requirements, such as what fonts and font sizes the lease may be written in and what size paper the lease should be printed on. In general, however, all lease types must be written in a font size that the landlord can reasonably expect a tenant to be able to read. For example, leases should not be written in fonts that are less than eight points in size because that makes them difficult to read. Landlords should use everyday language that the tenant can be expected to understand, and the lease must be written in a language that the tenant can comprehend. For example, if a Spanish-speaking tenant knows only a few words of English, his lease should be written in Spanish.
If any clause of a lease is in conflict with state law, that clause is unenforceable because landlords can’t require tenants to do anything illegal in order to fulfill the terms of the lease. For example, if a lease says that a tenant must pay three months rent as a late fee if he is more than five days late on his rent, that provision is probably unenforceable. In most states, late fees are limited to a percentage of that month’s rent. It’s also illegal for landlords to require tenants to remain single or childless or interfere with the tenant’s right to take legal action if the landlord breaks the lease.
Required Lease Agreement Clauses
Similarly, the landlord must provide certain information in the lease. The lease must clearly state the name and address of both parties, how much rent is to be paid each month, what the tenant’s other obligations are regarding the apartment and what the procedure is if the tenant doesn’t want to renew his lease or wants to move before his lease term is up. Landlords have an obligation in most states to ensure that tenants understand these clauses before asking them to sign. Both parties must sign the lease for it to be valid, but neither party must be compelled to sign under duress, and being required to sign a document he doesn’t understand would constitute a signature under duress.
DISCLAIMER: This article provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions about lease laws in your state, please contact an attorney licensed to practice in that state to ensure that you get the most relevant information for your situation.
No related posts.