About Home Renting Agreements

by Greg on November 20, 2019

female hand holding house keys

After you find a house or apartment to rent, you the tenant and the landlord have to reach a home renting agreement. The terms on this agreement should be understood by you the tenant, and the landlord, and the deal should be negotiated the same way you would with a car. The rental agreement between a tenant and landlord is called a lease, and this agreement has to be in writing.

The Rent

The purpose of the agreement is to set the rules and regulations of the rent. The most pertinent points that will be covered here include the rent amount, the due date, and to whom you will pay out. As a tenant you need to make sure that what you agreed upon is what is written here.

You need to remember that some of these terms may not actually be present, and if that is the case, the law will have its own stipulations for filling in the blanks. So if the agreement doesn’t say when the rent is to be paid or where, the law stipulates that it should be on the first day of every month. If the pay is weekly, the pay will be on the first day of the week.

Late Charges and Fees

The agreement should also cover the matter of late charge penalty, if any. The renting agreement should also emphasize when the charges will begin, although usually there is a 3 or 5 day grace period. What this means is the late fee won’t be charged until the end of the grace period. If the agreement has a stipulation providing for late charges, the amount must not be more than 10% of the rental charge that is required for that period.

For instance, if your monthly rent is $500 then the late charge should not be more than $50. Anything more than that is illegal. However, the landlord is entitled to ask for a modest charge in case of returned checks.

Bills and Utilities

The contract agreement should make clear who is responsible for the utilities, and if you are, then make it clear with the landlord how the metering system works. Some landlords use a separate meter for the tenant, while others have shared meters for tenants. You also need to check the agreement and make certain it specifies clearly who will pay for the utilities, and the date where you are responsible for moving the utilities to your name.

There are times when the landlord will have the name of the utilities in their name during periods when the property is vacant. Because this can lead to misunderstandings, you need to spell out the facts in the agreement. This way any problem and confusion can be avoided.

Also bear in mind that there are instances when the utilities are made part of the rental agreement. If for any reason your landlord is unable or fails to pay for the utilities, you should be given rent abatement. You can also choose to pay for the utilities and have them returned. In this event, you are entitled for reimbursement of all costs as well as damages. This is something you need to remember, as the landlord has a responsibility to pay for those bills. If they fail to pay up, you can contact the local authorities.

Appliances

The landlord is not obligated by law to provide any appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves or anything else. If these or any appliances are provided for, then the landlord is obligated to make certain they are actually working. At the same time the landlord is required by law to pay for the repairs to those appliances. However, the type of appliances that will be provided varies per landlord, so this has to be spelled out in the lease clearly. If you want a particular appliance installed, that is you are going to install this yourself, tell the landlord and have it in the agreement.

If the landlord agrees to this, it is now your responsibility to remove the appliance at the end of the lease. It is also your responsibility to ensure that everything is left as it once was on the day you moved in. If your landlord turns off the utilities or gets rid of the appliances in an effort to evict you, that is against the law and you have the right to seek damages.

Fixed Term and Periodic Tenancies

There are a lot of things that you need to consider when renting, and one of them is obviously the length of the lease. The rental length may be a week, months or years, it is up to you. However, you need to specify this clearly in the agreement. The most widely used agreement is the month to month, also known as periodic tenancy. This lease will allow you to live in the place for a month and at the end of it decide if you want to continue the lease or not.

If you agree to a month to month lease, you will get a notice at least 30 days in advance if there will be any modifications or changes that will be made in the conditions or the agreement. If you want to move out, you need to provide the landlord a notice that is 30 days in advance. If you don’t provide the 30 days’ notice, then you are probably going to have to pay for the rent in the upcoming month. The landlord might not tell you this, but that is the law.

Note also there are agreements that last less than a month, but the time restrictions are based on the agreed upon lease length. So if you are renting the place for two weeks, your landlord has to provide you with a two week notice if the rent charge will be raised. At the same time, you as the tenant has to provide the same length of notice if you are planning to go. The terms of agreement are important, and the two of you need to have a complete understanding of what is transpiring.

One more thing needs to be said, and it is that you need to have everything written down and you must read the contract. Most of the problems arise simply because tenants do not read the agreement, so be certain you do. If you need time to go through it, tell the landlord. Better yet, ask him or her the questions you need to ask. If you go over all the details, there should be no issues and you and your landlord can co-exist without any trouble.

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