- Lease agreements are terms that both the landlord and tenant have agreed on. These terms are listed in a contract, and once both parties agree, they will sign it, making the lease a binding contract. If either party disagrees with the terms, they may consult each other to work those disagreements out. If they do not come to an agreement, the contract remains valid.
- When a tenant signs a lease, it is usually for a length of time--perhaps three, six or 12 months. If the tenant wants to terminate the lease before then, the landlord will have to agree. If the landlord does not agree, the tenant must have a suitable reason for terminating the agreement, such as a safety issue pertaining to the property, illness or a loss of a job. If the tenant has a suitable reason, he may petition the court to allow him out of the lease. If the tenant breaks the lease with no suitable reason, the landlord may file a suit to collect the rent.
Right of Entry
- When a tenant signs a lease, he is generally acknowledging that the landlord has the right to enter the property during normal business hours. The landlord may enter on the grounds of inspecting the premises or when the tenant has asked about a maintenance issue. Even though the landlord has the right to enter the premises, the tenant often has the right to be notified at least 24 hours in advance.
- Lease agreements list the amount of rent the tenant is to pay. When the lease has expired, the landlord may raise the rent with a new lease, but not beforehand, unless otherwise agreed to. Likewise, the tenant must pay the amount of rent both parties agreed to, on the date they agreed it was due each month, or fees and lease termination may occur.
Pets, Maintenance and Discrimination
- Leases often include pet policies. If the landlord does not allow pets on the property, the tenant must abide by the rules or the landlord can terminate the lease. Another issue that may break the lease is maintenance. The landlord must keep the property current on safety codes. The landlord must also provide equal housing opportunity to all tenants. Discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, age, disability or the tenant's having young children is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Any tenant who experiences these types of discrimination may file a suit against the landlord.
- The law does not require the landlord to maintain insurance on the tenant's belongings. The tenant is responsible for insuring his own property against fires, thefts or floods.