What should the lease cover?

At a minimum, a good lease should address:

  • Identification of the leased property (including parking)
  • The amount of rent, what day rent is due, to whom and where rent should be paid, what the grace periods are and what the penalties are, if any, for late payment, the length or "term" of the lease, whether the tenant can stay after the lease expires and under what conditions
  • Who pays for utilities
  • Who is responsible for repairs, specifically repairs to appliances, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, the roof and broken windows
  • Who is responsible for snow removal, garbage pickup, and care of the lawn
  • The amount of the security deposit
  • Whether and under what conditions the tenant can sublet or assign the lease
  • Whether the tenant may terminate the lease should the tenant be forced to move due to military service or business requirements
  • Circumstances under which the landlord may enter the unit (if the landlord does not reserve the right in the lease to show the unit for sale or rental or to put a lock-box on the unit while it is listed for sale, then the landlord will not have this right)
  • Whether and under what circumstances pets are allowed

Be sure to talk about concerns before they become problems.

Show All Answers

1. What is a lease?
2. Does the lease have to be in writing?
3. What should the lease cover?
4. What can be done about violence or drugs on the premises?
5. How should the lease be signed?
6. What happens to the lease if the apartment building or house is sold to a new owner?
7. Do roommates have obligations under the lease?
8. What happens to the lease if the tenant remains after the lease term ends - holdover tenant?
9. Are all clauses in a lease legal?
10. Can a landlord refuse to rent to a prospective tenant?