5 Basics Every Rental Lease Must Include

Clauses Every Landlord Must Put in Their Lease

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Rental Lease Agreement Basics. Soren Svendsen/Cultura/Getty Images

Before you rent out a unit in your property, you should always make a tenant sign a lease agreement. Each lease should include certain basics. These five clauses answer the questions, who, where, when, what, and how and are the building blocks of any successful rental agreement.

1. Parties- 'Who' the Lease Agreement is Between

Every lease agreement must clearly state who the lease is between. In the case of a lease for rental property, this agreement is between the landlord, and/or the landlord’s agent, and the tenant.

Here is an example of a clause identifying the parties of a lease:

“This Lease is between the Tenant(s)
Insert Tenant(s) Name
whose address is
Insert Full Address of the Rental Property
referred to as the “Tenant,”

AND the Landlord
Insert Landlord's Name
whose address is
Insert Landlord's Full Mailing Address
referred to as the “Landlord.”

The word “Tenant” means each Tenant named above.”

2. Identification of Property- 'Where' the Property is Located

You will want to include the name of your property, if you have a name for it, such as "Sunset Estates," or "Half-Moon Villas." You will also include the full mailing address of the property:

  • House Number,
  • Street name,
  • Apartment Number the Tenant is Renting.
  • Town,
  • State,
  • Postal Code.

Here is an example of a lease clause identifying the property:

"The landlord agrees to rent to the tenant and the tenant agrees to lease from the landlord, Apartment #1 with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, located at 123 Sunny Lane, Sunnyside, MI 12345. This rental unit will be referred to in this lease as the 'Apartment.'"

3. Term of Rental Lease- 'When' the Contract Is Valid

You will want to include the exact date: day, month, and year, the lease begins and the exact date: day, month, and year, the lease ends. Even though the lease may be for six months or for a year, do not write “this lease is for six months” or “this lease is for one year.” It can be confusing and contradictory if the lease term isn’t an exact year.

Here is an example of a lease clause identifying the term of the lease:

 "The lease begins on January 3, 2017 and ends on December 31, 2017."

4. Amount of Rent Due- 'What' the Tenant Has to Pay

It is essential to include the full amount of rent due over the period of the entire lease and then break it down by the amount due per month. You should include the dollar amount of rent the tenant must pay each month and the date on which this rent is due.

Here is an example of a rent amount clause in a lease:

"The Tenant agrees to pay $12,000 as rent, to be paid as follows: $1,000 per month, due on the 1st day of each month. Payment of the first month’s rent and any security deposit is due upon the signing of this Lease by the Tenant. The Tenant must pay a late charge of $ 50.00 as additional rent for each rent payment that is more than five (5) days late."

5. Acknowledgment- 'How' the Contract Becomes Binding

If the lease is not signed and dated, it is worthless. The signatures acknowledge that the landlord and the tenant agree to follow the terms of the lease.

The landlord, or the landlord’s agent, such as a property manager, must sign and date the lease. The tenants must also sign and date the lease. Make sure to have all tenants over the age of 18 sign and date the lease. These tenants should all be named in the “parties” clause of the lease.

Here is an example of a lease acknowledgment clause:

By signing this Lease agreement, the Tenant acknowledges that they have read, understood and agree to comply with all rules, terms and conditions in this Lease.

Print Name of Landlord..........Landlord’s Signature...........Date..........

Print Name of Tenant.............Tenant’s Signature..............Date..........

Print Name of Tenant.............Tenant’s Signature..............Date..........

You must keep a signed copy of the lease for your records and must provide the Tenant with a signed copy of the lease as well.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website, and any outside information linked to, is for guidance only. It is not legal advice. Please consult legal counsel for advice specific to your situation.

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