What Is a Residential Lease Agreement?
A lease agreement is a legal contract in which one party agrees to rent real estate, equipment, or vehicles from another party for a specified period of time.
A residential lease agreement (not to be confused with a commercial lease agreement) is a legal document that allows you (as a landlord) to rent out a room, apartment, house or other real estate to someone (a tenant) for residential purposes.
Lease vs. Rental Agreements
When it comes to renting out all or part of a home, one common question is: what’s the difference between a rental and lease agreement?
Let’s clear that up right away. Both are contracts used by landlords when renting out property but the key difference is that rental contracts are typically short term, whereas leases typically run for terms anywhere between 6 months and 3-5 years.
So which is better? It really depends on the situation. If you are going to rent out your home while you are away on vacation or a business trip, there is no reason to enter into a long-term contract. However, if you are looking for stable income from property you own, a residential lease agreement is a better solution.
The advantages of leases to a landlord are plain to see. First of all, you are renting the property for a known period of time, which largely guarantees that the tenant won’t do a disappearing act and leave you to find a new tenant. You’re also minimizing the risks associated with your property’s downtime and getting a stable income.
Standard Lease Agreement for Residential Premises
The following steps will guide you through filling out a generic lease agreement for letting out a residential property.
First, download and install PDFChef on your computer. It’s free!
Secondly, download a fillable template from:
Free Residential Lease Template
Open a fillable form in PDFChef and start filling in the blanks.
At the top of the form, enter your personal information, including your full name, street address, city, and state.
Disclaimer: The templates here are provided for reference only and you should always talk to a professional for all legal matters.
In the next line, provide the full name(s) of your tenant(s).
In the “Term” section, specify the duration of the contract in months or years and enter the start and termination dates.
In the “Rent” section, enter the amount of rent due each month, then list the late fees and penalties in the event the tenant doesn't pay the rent on time.
In the “Security Deposit” section, set the amount of the security deposit (in case the tenant breaches the terms of the lease); it’s typically equal to one month’s rent.
If you have an agent who is acting on your behalf, you should provide their full name in the “Agent” section. If you don’t have an agent, just leave it empty.
In the “Utilities” section, specify in detail who is responsible for paying which utilities (see the example below).
At the bottom of the apartment lease form, you and your tenant should sign the completed form to validate it.