Five Essential Terms to Have in A Rental Agreement

by Lilly on January 14, 2013

When signing a rental agreement, your whole future may be on the line—and not just for the time that you will live at the rental property in question. Of the nearly endless list of things that can possibly go wrong during your lease term, many of them present issues that could stick with you for years to come. If a landlord attempts to sue you or hikes the price of your stay without warning, you may find yourself  in an unpleasant situation or worse yet, a legal battle that you never expected. That’s why it’s important to sign an official rental agreement with terms necessary for your protection. The most essential elements of the ideal agreement are simple ones, but you must be certain they are included in the terms of your agreement before you sign off on your new place.

Your Rent

Making sure that the price of your rent is included in your agreement is perhaps the most basic but essential concern for any new tenant. Don’t just assume that your future landlord has included the dollar amount for your stay in the long list of papers you must sign. Without a set amount for your rent in the terms of your agreement, you may be left open to less-than-honest landlords who raise the price of their property. Landlords may employ such tactics if they fall upon hard times and want increased cash flow, or they may use this tactic to force tenants into an early move. Making sure that your rent is a part of your agreement protects you from these nightmare scenarios and offers you a chance to negotiate other terms of your agreement if your landlord is forced to raise rent prices because of unforeseen circumstances.

Your Name

This is another term that may seem so simple that you forget to check it. It is especially important, though, that your name is on the document in case there are future legal problems with your landlord. Making sure that your name is on a rental agreement is especially important for those who are signing an agreement with a roommate or boyfriend/girlfriend. Having your name on the agreement will cover you in the unfortunate but sometimes unavoidable circumstance that things go wrong with your fellow tenants.

Your Signature

Never let a roommate, friend, parent, significant other sign off on a rental agreement for you. Having your signature on the document demonstrates that you have a right to the terms set out in the rental agreement. If future issues arise and the signature is not your own, you may be in for trouble.

Names of All Occupants

You may think that rooming with your best friend or life partner means that you will not have any disputes over finances or property damages, but it is always best to protect yourself from liabilities or fees that may not be your own. Having your roomate’s name on your rental agreement will make them responsible for their share of rental payments and any property damage they may cause.

Dates of Occupancy

Check to be sure that the correct start date and end date are listed on your rental agreement. Otherwise, your landlord may try to end your stay early or hold you liable for charges that occurred before your move-in date.


While writing this article I checked, an apartment rating and review site, to collect information from apartment communities.



I'm Lilly Sheperd, an occasional guest-blogger and a full time freelance communication consultant. When not blogging, I like to travel and read a lot, especially about education and law.

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