What are Rental Contracts Templates?

Rental contracts templates ensure that your rental agreement is legally sound. A rental contract is executed between a landlord and a tenant. It details the terms each party is agreeing to, including how much the tenant is required to pay the landlord, and what each party's rights and obligations are. Not only does it help clarify expectations, it is a binding contract that provides certain legal protections for ech party.

What Happens Without an Effective Rental Contract?

1. Landlords lose rent money and may be responsible for tenant's unpaid utility bills.

2. Rental space may be damaged.

3. Tenants may damage their credit and be unable to rent a new place to live.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rental Contracts Templates

Do I need a written rental contract when I can make a verbal agreement with the landlord?

It is always a good idea to have a written rental agreement. Verbal agreements are often ambiguous and difficult to enforce since you don't have a record of what was said. A written agreement gives you the protection that you need for rental agreements. 

Is a month-to-month agreement a rental contract?

Yes, a month-to-month agreement is a rental contract. However, unlike a fixed-term lease, the contract can be terminated at any time.

Why do I need to fill out a rental application if I have to sign a rental agreement?

The rental application helps the landlord determine if you are a good rental investment. The application will gather important details about you like your employment history, references, and credit history. 

When should there be a rental agreement?

Anytime something is rented, there should be a written rental agreement. Some examples of times when it is critical to have a rental agreement include:

  • When you rent living space, like an apartment
  • Subletting part of your house or living property

What other types of rental agreements are there?

Although they go by different names, you will often encounter a form of rental agreement when looking for housing. These names include: 

  • Residential Lease Agreement
  • Rental Agreement
  • Rental Contract
  • Lease Contract
  • House Rental Agreement

What terms should be in the rental agreement?

When a rental agreement is presented to a tenant that the landlord feels is worthy, it should include:

  • A list of applicable fees other than the cost of rent and bills (i.e. pet fees, trash, etc…)
  • The rent payment amount in monthly increments
  • The date that a tenant can move in
  • The total cost of the security deposit which must adhere to the state guidelines
  • The length of time for the agreement
  • The cost of utilities if payments are separate from rental fees

How to Write Rental Contracts Templates

1. Start with listing the information about the rental agreement. This includes:

  • What is being rented
  • Landlord information
  • Tenant information
  • Rent amount
  • Rental term

2. Go into the details of rental expectations. This includes who pays the utilities and other services included in the rental agreement, such as gym access or a parking space. For commercial properties, it may include shared resources.

3. Take photos of the property or digital schematics that you can use to document possible future property damage.

4. You do not need a witness to execute a rental agreement, but it is best to list what is exchanged at the lease signing. Typically this is a security deposit for keys to the property.

5. If any appliances are furnished, list the appliances and who is responsible for repairs and replacement.

6. If the landlord plans to charge a non-sufficient funds fee for returned checks or late fees, it needs to be detailed in the rental contract template. 

7. Some tenants want to pre-pay their lease. If this is acceptable, it should be indicated in the rental contract. 

8. The right of entry is that the landlord is able to enter the rental property for a repair or inspection.

9. Provide options should the tenant need to terminate the contract early. 

10. Clearly state what legal actions will be taken if the tenant defaults on their rental payments. 

If you need help with rental contracts templates, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.