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Apartment Lease Agreement Template

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An apartment lease agreement is a rental contract designed specifically for renting out single units within a larger apartment building. A property manager or landlord will use the same rental agreement for all tenants, with slight modifications made depending on the unit, length of stay, and the terms and conditions.

Contents

How to Write an Apartment Lease

Follow the steps below to form a binding apartment lease contract with a tenant:

Step 1 – Identify the Parties

The first step involves identifying the parties; the names of both landlord and tenant and the landlord’s mailing address should be provided. This is the address the tenant will use to mail any notices, rent payments, fees, and more.

In addition to the parties, the landlord will need to enter the full address of the apartment (including the unit number). This is where all notices and other documents should be sent (unless the tenant specifies otherwise in step 3).

Step 2 – Establish the Terms

Arguably, the two most important sections in a rental agreement are the rent amount the tenant will pay on a regular basis and the term of the agreement. The landlord has two (2) options when it comes to the lease term:

  1. Fixed-term lease: This is the most common type of apartment lease. The landlord specifies a start and end date to the contract, and the tenant cannot end the lease without consequences. If the landlord checks the box corresponding to a fixed-term lease, they will have the additional options of either having the agreement continue on a month-to-month basis at the end of the lease or requiring the tenant to move out (the most common option).
  2. Month-to-month (periodic) lease: A more relaxed agreement that does not specify an exact end date. Instead, the agreement continuously renews on a monthly basis. To end the contract, either party has to notify the other in advance of the next rental payment (typically 30 days).

In regards to the rent payments and other fees, the landlord will need to enter the following:

  • Rent
    • The amount ($) of monthly rent.
    • What day it is due (per month).
    • How the tenant should go about paying it.
  • Late Charges (leave blank if no late fee)
    • How many days the rent can be before the landlord charges a late fee.
    • The amount ($) of the late fee.
  • Proration
    • If the tenant is moving in prior to the start date of the lease, check the first box. Then enter the date on which they are moving in followed by the amount of rent they are required to pay for the proration period; OR
    • Check the second box.
  • Insufficient Funds
    • Enter the amount ($) that will be charged to the tenant if they pay rent with a check that bounces due to insufficient funds.
  • Security Deposits
    • This is the amount the tenant will be required to pay alongside the first month’s rent. It is reimbursed to the tenant as long as they leave the rental damage-free, make all payments, and don’t breach the agreement. Check the first box if a security deposit will be required, followed by the amount ($) the tenant will have to pay. In the second field, specify the number (#) of days the landlord has to return the deposit. If a deposit won’t be collected, the second box should be checked.

Step 3 – Cover the Rules

In addition to the basic information covered above, the landlord will need to cover the specifics of the contract, which include the following:

  • Utilities / Services
    • Any utilities the tenant will be responsible for paying should be listed on the lines provided.
  • Occupants
    • Check the first box if there will be other people staying in the rental other than those written on the lease. If it will just be the tenant, check the second box.
  • Holdover
    • If the landlord opted to have the agreement function as a month-to-month agreement after the lease terminates, enter the amount of monthly rent they will be required to pay for each month they reside in the apartment after the lease ends. Otherwise, the field can be left blank.
  • Extended Absences
    • To avoid the landlord considering the property abandoned, they typically require the tenant to notify them if they will be leaving the premises for an extended period of time. Enter the number (#) of consecutive days the tenant must be absent in order to necessitate notifying the landlord.
  • Keys
    • Write the number (#) of apartment keys and mailbox keys the tenant will be given. Write the amount ($) the tenant will be charged if they don’t return all of the keys at the end of the lease.
  • Smoking
    • Smoking is typically prohibited in residential buildings. If it is permitted in a certain area (or areas), check the first box and list all places tenants can smoke. If smoking is forbidden on all of the landlord’s property, the second box should be selected.
  • Parking
    • If the tenants will be limited to street parking, check the second box. If parking spacings are available, check the first box and write the number (#) of parking space(s) they will have access to. Next, indicate whether the parking space(s) are free-of-charge or come at an expense. Enter the additional monthly charge for each space if applicable.
  • Pets
    • If the tenant can have pets in the apartment, the landlord will need to do the following:
      • Check the second box;
      • Enter the number (#) of pets they can have;
      • Enter the type(s) of permissible pets;
      • Check whether an additional charge will be required AND if it is refundable or not; and
      • Enter the additional payment the tenant will be required to pay each month to the landlord (if any).
  • Notices
    • Although this was already entered in the first section, the landlord should write their mailing address that all notices should be sent to. This field occurs twice because it is very important the tenant understands where they can make contact with the landlord.
    • For the tenant, either check the box that says their notice address is the address of the apartment, or check the “other” box and enter the mailing address notices should be sent to.
  • Right of Entry
    • Enter the number of hours the landlord must provide to the tenant before entering. The standard length of time is twenty-four (24) hours, although certain states require different notice periods.

Step 4 – Add any Custom Rules/Terms

The section titled “additional terms and conditions” gives the landlord the option to enter any rules or notes that aren’t already included in the lease. This can include guidelines on using a certain amenity (such as a shared pool), restrictions on cannabis or other substances, or instructions on moving in or out. As long as the landlord doesn’t include anything that can be deemed as discrimination (or anything that breaks the state’s landlord-tenant laws), it can be included.

Step 5 – Sign it

The parties must sign the apartment lease agreement once all the fields have been completed. This can be accomplished by printing out the agreement and signing it by hand, or by using eSign to digitally sign the document. In this case, once all signatures have been inscribed, the parties will have a signed and completed lease agreement emailed to them automatically.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long are apartment leases?

The average (and recommended) length of time to rent out an apartment is one (1) year. However, the term can be as long as the parties wish. Anywhere from a six (6) month lease term to a two (2) to three (3) year lease term can be negotiated.

How to break an apartment lease? (for tenants)

For tenants that sign fixed-term apartment leases, they are legally bound to pay rent until the termination date. In other words, the renter is agreeing to pay the full rent owed, and the landlord permits the renter to pay it in monthly increments. A tenant can try one of the following options to get out of a lease agreement:

  1. Try and find a new renter (and sign a sublease agreement).
  2. Pay rent until the landlord finds a new renter.
  3. Talk with the landlord and try to come to a fair resolution.

What documents are needed to lease an apartment?

To rent out an apartment, the landlord should have the following paperwork ready:

  1. A state-specific rental application;
  2. The apartment lease agreement ready to be signed by the tenant; and
  3. Eviction/termination forms prepared in case they need to evict the tenant.

The following documentation will need to be collected from all applicants who wish to rent out the apartment:

  1. Paystubs/proof of income.
  2. Reference letters.
  3. Photo identification.
  4. Tax return.
  5. Bank statements.