What is in a lease agreement? That is an excellent question, and if you have never seen a lease agreement don’t worry, you are not alone. For those just now graduating from high school and heading off to college to live on your own there is no time like now to become familiar with a lease agreement.
To this end we will walk through sample a lease agreement and highlight the major contents found within the lease agreement. Hopefully this exercise will prove informative and help calm your nerves before signing your first lease agreement. To make it easier to follow along and truly understand the contents of a lease agreement it is advised that you download the sample lease agreement here (Please note this links to a PDF file). This is a simplified example of a lease agreement offered up by Penn State Altoona.
Party to the Lease – The first part of a lease agreement will almost always state the two parties that are involved in the binding agreement. Normally these two parties are referred to as the Landlord and the Tenant.
Property – Of course, the lease agreement must specifically state the location of the property that is being provided by the Landlord and leased to the tenant. As the example shows, there will usually be a spot for the mailing address of the location. This section also includes a provision to state any and all furniture and appliances that are being included in the lease agreement.
Term – The term of the lease agreement refers to the period the property will be occupied and paid for by the tenant. Typically this will include wording that states the term starts on Jan 1, 2XXX and ends on Dec 31, 2XXX. Commonly this section of the lease agreement includes a lease option to extend the period of occupancy. For example, the tenant’s lease option might allow him/her to extend the lease another six months.
Rent – The lease agreement would be severely lacking if it didn’t include terms for the monthly payment as well as the date on which the payment is due.
Utilities/Services – The lease agreement should outline who pays for what. Some Landlords will pay for everything, while others will make the tenant foot the actual costs for utilities and services.
Deposit – Most landlords will require a deposit upon signing the lease agreement equaling one months rent. This provides the Landlord some insurance should you try to skip out on your last month’s rent or damage the property. However, if you leave the apartment in good condition and your account is paid in full, then you should receive most if not all of your deposit back in the form of a check via the mail a few weeks after moving out.
The rest of the lease agreement will vary from here on out depending on what other terms and provisions the Landlord chooses to include in the lease agreement. If your lease includes additional lease options they may be included at the end of the lease agreement as well. Now that you have a better understanding of the makeup of a lease agreement signing your first lease shouldn’t be such an intimidating experience.