A residential lease agreement is an agreement between a property owner and a person who is going to live on the property. The property could be a house, apartment, condominium, room, office, mobile home, RV, or something else. The residential lease agreement specifies the various details of the arrangement that the two parties decide on together. The landlord and the tenant sign the agreement to form a solid legal document. The following is some information about residential lease agreements and some problems that sometimes occur with them.
What a Residential Lease Agreement Specifies
A residential lease agreement has many parts to it. The prospective tenant has to read through the various parts and then sign if he or she agrees with the terms. The first part of such an agreement states the length of the rental term.
Another part of the agreement states the amount of the rent, the day the rent is due, and any late fees that may accumulate if the renter does not pay the funds on time. That part of the agreement may also discuss the security deposit. It may give information on where the landlord is holding the funds. The landlord may add some additional information or stipulations about the period of grace before the landlord may take drastic measures to collect the rent.
The agreement specifies who pays for what, and it discusses situations and topics such as trash elimination, noise, visitors, insurance, property damage and the like. The consumer then decides whether or not he or she can respectfully honor such an agreement. If the answer is yes, then the person signs the agreement and moves into the property on the specified date.
Agreements also specify the modifications that tenants can make while they live in the property and which ones they cannot. For example, some landlords allow their tenants to paint the homes as long as the paint is attractive. Some landlords ask their tenants to return the property as it was before they moved in.
Types of Residential Agreements
The most common type of residential agreement is the yearly agreement. Participants usually have a residential lease or month to month rental agreement situation. A month-to-month rental agreement is one that ends and needs to be renewed every month. The regular agreement is usually for one year, but it can be for two years, five years or more. It can also be for a shorter amount of time such as six months or 90 days.
The nine-month residential lease agreement is popular with landlords that own property in vacation areas. Such people may rent their properties until the beginning of the summer and then respectfully have their tenants leave so that they can use the property as a vacation spot during the busy times of the year. Such an arrangement increases the profits for the property owner and it is sometimes fitting for the tenant.
Why Problems Occur
The main reason that problems occur with residential lease agreements is that people have misunderstandings. The tenants misunderstand the conditions because they do not ask questions when they read the documentation. In some cases, the tenants fail to read the entire document, and then they sign it without truly knowing the rules that they are supposed to follow. A misunderstanding ends up occurring for both parties, and sometimes people lose their homes because of it. The next section discusses some of the most common problems that occur because of such misunderstanding.
Common Problems that Occur
The following are some of the most common problems that occur in leasing situations:
Incomplete Pre-Move-In Inspection
It is important for the tenant to conduct an inspection before he or she moves into the property. The person should ensure that all parts of the property are undamaged and do not need placement, replacement, or repair. They are supposed to sign a document that confirms their full inspection. A common problem that occurs between landlords and tenants is that the tenants do not conduct the inspection wholeheartedly. They have issues getting help with a problem that they didn’t notice was already apparent before moving in.
Failure to Pay Rent
Failure to pay rent on time is also a common problem. Rental agreements usually specify the number of days that a tenant can be late before the landlord takes legal measures. Each state and landlord are different.
Disagreements Over Repairs
Tenants and landlords sometimes have disagreements over equipment failure and issues such as pest control, electricity problems, water heater malfunction and so forth. Sometimes the landlords take on too much responsibility. Other times, the landlords expect the renters to pay too much.
Damages, Cleanup Issues, and Unauthorized Changes
Problems sometimes occur at the end of a leasing period when the tenant starts the moving process. These problems may affect the amount of security deposit the landlord returns to the tenants.
Subleasing and Other Unauthorized Arrangements
Only authorized persons should occupy the premises due the lease term. Many landlords write this information in the agreement. Tenants should abide by it.
Moving Without Notice
Tenants sometimes move without notice, which causes a problem for a landlord. The consequences of such actions may be listed in the agreement.
Security Deposit Issues
A landlord may deduct various monies from the security deposit and return only a portion of it as stated above. The tenant will have trouble doing anything about it if it is specified in the lease.
Accidents and Robberies
The problem of responsibility may arise if a robbery occurs or something else happens to the property. It is a good idea for tenants to have rental insurance.
The landlord may increase the rent unexpectedly and may have every right to do such. Tenants must carefully examine lease agreements before they sign.
Issues with Fees
Impending tenants must be mindful of any fees that they feel are not appropriate. State laws may not permit such fees as a landlord can only charge so much.
Those are the most common problems that occur in rental agreements. Tenants should always ask questions before they sign something, and they should also enlist the help of a legal specialist if there is something they do not understand.