A document under which a landlord and tenant set forth the rights and obligations of each party with respect to an apartment, rental unit, or other real property owned by the landlord and used by the tenant. An instrument conveying the possession of real property for a fixed period of time in consideration of the payment of rent.

Further Defining a Lease

A lease is a contract for the possession and profits of lands and tenements on one side and a recompense of rent or other income on the other or else it is a conveyance of lands and tenements to a person for life or years or at will, in consideration of a return of rent or other recompense. The instrument in writing is also known by the name of lease; and this word sometimes signifies the term or time for which it was to run; e.g., the owner of land, containing a quarry, leases the quarry for ten years and then conveys the land, "reserving the quarry until the end of the lease;" in this case the reservation remained in force until the ten years expired, although the lease was cancelled by mutual consent within the ten years.

What's Required for a Lease

To make such contract: There must be a lessor able to grant the land; A lessee capable of accepting the grant, and; A subject-matter capable of being granted.

This contract resembles several others, namely: a sale, to constitute which there must be a thing sold, a price for which it is sold and the consent of the parties as to both. So, in a lease there must be a thing leased, the price or rent and the consent of the parties as to both. Again, a lease resembles the contract of hiring of a thing, where there must be a thing to be hired, a price or compensation called the hire, and the agreement and consent of the parties respecting both.

Difference Between an Agreement to Make a Lease and the Lease Itself

Before proceeding to the examination of the several parts of a lease, it is proper to point out the difference between an agreement or covenant to make a lease and the lease itself. When an agreement for a lease contains words of present demise and there are circumstances from which it may be collected that it was meant that the tenant should have an immediate legal interest in the term, such an agreement will amount to an actual lease; but although words of present demise are used, if it appears on the whole that no legal interest was intended to pass and that the agreement was only preparatory to a future lease to be made, the construction will be governed by the intention of the parties and the contract will be held to amount to no more than an agreement for a lease.

Having made these few preliminary observations, it is proposed to consider, 1. By what words a lease may be made. 2. Its several parts. 3. The formalities the law requires.

Whatever words are sufficient to explain the intent of the parties, that the one shall divest himself of the possession and the other come into it, for such a determinate time, whether they run in the form of a license, covenant or agreement, are of themselves sufficient and will, in construction of law, amount to a lease for years as effectually as if the most proper and pertinent words had been made use of for that purpose.

How to Create a Lease in Writing

A lease in writing by deed indented consists of the following: 1. The premises; 2. The habendum; 3. The tenendum; 4. The reddendum; 5. The covenants; 6. The conditions; 7. The warranty.

As to form, leases may be in writing or not in writing. Leases in writing are either by deed or without deed; a deed is a writing sealed and delivered by the parties, so that a lease under seal is a lease by deed. The respective parties, the lessor and lessee, whose deed the lease is, should seal and in every case also sign it. The lease must be delivered either by the parties themselves or their attorneys, which delivery is expressed in the attestation "sealed and delivered in the presence of us." However, almost any manifestation of a party's intention to deliver, if accompanied by an act importing such intention, will constitute a delivery.

Avoiding a Lease

A lease may be avoided: 1. Because it is not sufficiently formal, and; 2. Because of some matter which has arisen since its delivery.

It may be avoided for want of: 1. Proper parties and a proper subject-matter; 2. Writing or, printing on parchment or paper, in those cases where the statute of frauds requires they should be in writing; 3. Sufficient and legal words properly disposed; 4. Reading, if desired, before the execution. 5. Sealing and in most cases, signing also, or; 6. Delivery. Without these essentials it is void from the beginning.

It may be avoided by matter arising after its delivery such as: 1. By erasure, interlineation or other alteration in any material part; an immaterial alteration made by a stranger does not vitiate it, but such alteration made by the party himself renders it void; 2. By breaking or effacing the seal, unless it be done by accident; 3. By delivering it up to be cancelled; 4. By the disagreement of such whose concurrence is necessary; as the husband, where a married woman is concerned; 5. By the judgment or decree of a court of judicature.