A house rental agreement is a document that outlines the arrangement of the house owner, referred to as the “lessor” or “landlord,” and anyone else looking to pay rent while occupying the property, known as the “tenant” or the “lessee.” Simply put, a house rental agreement is used when someone is looking to rent out their house for a certain period in exchange for monthly rent. The set terms of the rental agreement are negotiable between the Tenant and the Landlord, and once signed, the form is considered mutually and legally binding.
Who needs a house rental agreement?
A house rental agreement is an agreement that is specific to residential rental properties and is used to underline the terms and conditions of tenancy, including the rights and obligations of the Tenant and the Landlord. Anybody looking to rent out their house for a specific period should have a house rental agreement that defines the terms of the agreement and keeps all the parties involved protected by the law. It can be used for various types of residential properties, including:
- Homeowners looking to rent out their homes
- Tenants looking to rent a home
- Individuals looking to rent out their property to friends and family
Common Types of Rental Agreements
While there are various types of rental agreements, the most common leases are:
Short-Term Agreements – Short-term rental agreements usually have fixed monthly rental fees payable for the duration of the agreement. These are perfect for people looking to occupy a house for a relatively short period of time.
Month-to-Month Agreements – Month-to-month rental agreements indicate that tenants are renting their houses one month at a time. Rental prices in these agreements may change without prior notice, but if you’re not too sure just how long you’ll be renting, these kinds of agreements may better suit your personal needs.
Subleasing – Some people refer to subleasing as subletting houses or apartments, which means that they are effectively living in a home that is being paid by another tenant. Arrangements regarding payment are usually worked out between the occupant and the original tenant and usually do not involve the landlord. Keep in mind that subleasing requires written consent from a landlord.
What should be included (basic terms)
- The name of the Tenant (s): One key thing that you must not forget to include in your house rental agreement is the names of all the tenants who will be renting to. In the case of a family, make sure to include every adult who will be staying at the property.
- Terms: The terms governing your relationship with the Tenant should be included in the agreement. It should also state the duration of the agreement.
- Deposits and Fees: In the agreement, make sure to include all the fees the Tenant is supposed to pay before and after moving in. Make sure that this information is clear from the onset to avoid inconveniencing the Tenant. Declare whether you will require them to pay a security deposit and the first and last month’s rent.
- Rent: The rent amount should also be made clear in the agreement. Other than the amount, you should also include when and how they are supposed to remit their payments.
- Occupancy limits: If you are looking to regulate the number of people allowed to live in the premises, you should make it clear in the agreement. Most people usually allow only the adults who have been included in the rental agreement and their minors to occupy the property.
- Restrictions and Illegal activities: Include a clause prohibiting excessive noise in the premise and illegal activities. You should make this clause clear from the onset; should the Tenant be involved in any illegal activity, and you will have an easy time getting them off your property.
- Pets: If you don’t allow pets in your premise, it is important to let the Tenant know in advance. If not, let them know which type you allow and the restrictions you have against other pets.
- Maintenance and Repairs: Highlight the Tenant’s duties and responsibilities in maintaining the property. State that they will be liable for any damages caused due to abuse, and you will only be liable to damages resulting from wear and tear.
- Utilities: establish who will be responsible for paying the utility bills and -if it’s the Tenant- what will happen if they fail to make their payments on time.
- Entry to the property: This is very important. It would help if you let the Tenant know when, how, and under what circumstances you will be allowed entry into the property. For instance, if you are looking to make repairs, they must allow you entry into the premise. Also, include how much notice you will provide before accessing the property.
In addition to these provisions, you should consult with your state and local laws to ensure that the provisions in your house rental agreement comply with the legal requirements. For example, local or state laws may regulate subleases, notice requirements, and how you deal with a tenant’s property when they fail to make their payments and vacate with unpaid rent.
How to Write Rental Agreement
Regardless of which type of rental agreement you’re looking to set up, you want it to look professional and more importantly, concise. There are a few basics that need to be included in every rental agreement. Essentially, the following five elements will form the building blocks for your successful rental agreement.
1. Stipulate All Parties Agreeing on the Lease
Your rental agreement has to clearly indicate who the lease will be between. Generally, the rental agreement will be between a landlord and-or his or her agent, and the tenant renting the property. You may wish to structure your lease to resemble this format:
“This Lease is between the Tenant(s)
Insert Tenant Name Here
Insert the Rental Property’s Full Address Here
Hereafter referred to as the Tenant.”
AND the Landlord
Insert Landlord Name Here
Insert Mailing Address of Landlord Here
Hereafter referred to as the Landlord.”
2. Identify the Property Location
You will have to identify the full address of the property being rented, which includes the house number, street name, apartment number (if applicable), town, state, postal code.
3. Include the Term of Rental Lease
In your rental agreement, you’ll have to include the year, month, and day on which the lease will begin as well as the exact date on which the agreement will end. You should not write terms such as “one year” or “six months” as these terms may be misleading and unclear.
4. Stipulate the Rent Due
Including the full amount of rent due by the tenant over the rental agreement’s full term is essential. After stipulating the total amount due by the tenant, you can break it down into monthly payments, indicating how much the tenant has to pay each month and a day in the month of which the rent is due. You may structure this paragraph to look something like this:
“The Tenant agrees to pay a total amount of $24,000 for rent, to be paid in increments of $2,000 per month over the duration of this contract, payable by no later than the 1st day of every month. Upon signing this Lease, the Tenant agrees to pay an advance of the first month’s rent as well as any security deposits which may be required. The Tenant agrees to pay a penalty of $40, in addition, to rent for payments that are more than three (3) days overdue.”
5. Add a Date and Signature Line
Rental agreements without dates and signatures are worthless. You should include a space where both parties, the landlord, and the tenant, can place their signatures, indicating that the agreement has commenced and that both parties agree to follow the terms and conditions set out in the rental agreement.
How to Format Rental Agreement
Here are some pointers on where to start with formatting your rental agreement, what should be put in which paragraphs, when and where to include the terms and conditions, and how to close off the rental agreement.
1. Start with a title
At the top of your page, write “Rental Agreement” to indicate that this is a legally binding contract.
2. Explain the title
Just under the title, identify all parties agreeing to this renal agreement. Include the name of the landlord and his address, after which you should indicate the names and addresses of the tenant, clearly identifying the lessee and the lessor. At this stage, you should also be including the full address of the rental property as well as a start and end date for the rental agreement.
3. Stipulate the rent
As your second paragraph, your rental agreement should account for all funds associated with the agreement. The payment information should include a total rent amount for the duration of the agreement as well as stipulations regarding when and how the funds should be paid to the landlord.
4. Mention terms and conditions
In the third paragraph of your rental agreement, you should be assigned responsibilities. Stipulate who will be in charge of paying utility bills, maintaining the exterior areas of the property, as well as any other property-specific responsibilities.
5. Summarize the tenant’s obligations under the lease agreement
The fourth paragraph of your contract should revolve around the tenant’s responsibility for adhering to the law, that the tenant shall not misuse the property for manners other than those indicated on the contract, and that the tenant shall be held liable for all fines in the event of failing to comply with these rules. Clearly, point out that the tenant may only use the property for residential purposes. Stipulate what should be done if something on the property breaks or is stolen. Clearly, state whether or not the tenant is allowed to make any changes to the property such as painting the walls or installing cables.
6. Be clear on what happens with defaults and missed payments
In the fifth paragraph of your rental agreement, you should be focusing on what will happen if the tenant violates the terms of the agreement. This could include details on action stat will be taken by the landlord should the tenant default or miss a few payments on rent, which could include remedies such as repossession eviction, and/or lawsuits.
7. Add date and signature lines
Make sure that you include the date and signature lines at the bottom of your rental agreement contract to indicate how and when the contract was initiated and bound.
Download Free Templates
For you to write an effective house rental agreement, you’ll need to first determine if you want it to be legally binding and what you are looking to offer. A professionally designed house rental agreement is a key ingredient in any business relationship. Whether you are a property manager, a landlord, or a property management company, our agreement template can help protect your rights while saving you time during document creation. Below is a house rental agreement template you can download and use as it is. Simply fill in the required information, or you can tailor it to fit your specific needs.
House Rental Agreement Template
This House Rental Lease Agreement herein referred to as the “Agreement” or the “Lease Agreement” dated ____________________ of 20 is between The landlord ____________________ and the Tenant____________ in consideration of the Landlord leasing the house to the Tenant and other valuable contemplation, the receipt and sufficiency of which consideration is herein acknowledged by both the Landlord and the Tenant agree as follows:
i. The Landlord hereby agrees to rent the house to the Tenant, herein described as ____________________ (“the property”), for residential purposes only.
ii. Subject to the provision of this lease agreement, other than the Tenant, their immediate family and their children will live in the property without written consent from the Landlord.
iii. The Tenant’s guests may not occupy the property for longer than one week without the consent of the Landlord
iv. No pets/animals can be kept in the property.
v. The Tenant shall be afforded only two parking spots, and they shall not park more than two vehicles in the property
vi. The Tenant, their guests, or family member will not smoke in or about the property
vii. This lease shall officially commence at ____________________ on , 20_____________________and end at on____________________.
viii. Subject to the provisions of this rental lease agreement, the rent for the property is ____________________ per month. ix. The Tenant shall be required to pay the rent on or before of every month of the term of this Lease Agreement to the Landlord at _____________________or at such other places as directed by the Landlord.
Damage to Property
x. If the Tenant damages to the property due to negligence or wilful act or that their employees, family, visitor, agent, and the Landlord decides not to repair or rebuild the property, the Landlord may end this lease by issuing the Tenant with the appropriate notice.
Rules and Regulations
xi. The Tenant shall obey all the terms and conditions set by the Landlord regarding the Property.
IN WITNESS WHEROF _____________________ [name] and _______________________ [name] have duly signed this agreement on this day of_____________________,
The Tenant acknowledges that they have received a duplicate copy of this Lease Agreement signed by the Tenant and the Landlord on ______________________
More Templates & Examples
Even if you decide on using a generic rental agreement or a blank rental agreement, furnish yourself with the protection every Landlord should have by making sure you have included all the key items of the lease in your rental lease agreement. One of the common mistakes most landlords make when leasing out their property is buzzing through the lease agreement with their tenants. It may feel awkward or maybe too long for them, so they decide to hurry the process. As a landlord, you should take your time to go over the lease agreement with the Tenant and ensure that they understand all aspects of the lease. Having good communication with your tenant upfront helps you avoid any issues that may arise later in the relationship.
- Keep local and state laws in mind
- Include late payment penalties
- Stipulate who the lessee and lessor will be
- Stipulate commencement and end dates for the rental lease agreement
- Use generic agreements, set up your own to include property details and special terms and conditions
- Be vague on responsibilities
- Forget about including house rules in the contract
- Forget to consider and include a pet-friendliness clause in the contract
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a lease Agreement Cancellable?
A lease agreement is normally for a fixed term, such as one year. However, as a house owner, you may decide to waive any penalties and allow the Tenant to break the lease if they have a valid reason to do so. It is important that you consult with your local real estate laws before terminating a lease agreement.
Should a house rental lease agreement be notarized?
Notarization, in general, for house rental agreements for any period is not mandatory; rather, it’s optional, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not good to get it done.
Notarization of house rental lease agreement helps accord its legal effect and verifies its authenticity.
How many witnesses should sign the rental agreement?
The answer to this question is that an assured house rental lease agreement doesn’t require any witnesses, especially if the duration of the tenancy is below three years. However, having the signing of the agreement witnessed not only offers more protection to either party involved but also gives the lease agreement a more professional look.
When is the rent due for house rental lease agreements?
The due date for paying rent usually varies due to various factors. However, the due date for most rental agreements is usually the 5th of every month.