Example letter of intent for tenancy

Updated March 23, 2017

A detailed letter of intent for tenancy can be an important part of negotiating a lease. The reason for writing a letter of intent is to capture in writing the terms that have been tentatively agreed to by the landlord and potential tenant. The format is very similar to that of an actual lease, but is not legally binding in the same way. Modifications can be made to the agreement, but the creation of a written statement or letter of intent represents a meeting of the minds and is a step toward producing and executing an actual lease.


True to its name, a letter of intent for tenancy takes on the appearance of a standard business letter. It should be dated and addressed to a particular individual. Where it differs from a typical letter, however, is in the format of its body. Rather than paragraphs describing the terms of the proposed lease, the letter of intent sets off discrete, often enumerated, sections that have the appearance of a formal contract (see examples in References and Additional Resource sections below). Each section bears an explanatory title and the relevant terms reflecting the most recent agreement between the parties.

Essential Content

There are few basic pieces of information that must be included in any letter of intent for tenancy. It might be obvious, but the landlord, the tenant and the property in question must be unambiguously identified. Individuals and businesses can be identified by name. Property is usually identified not just by address, but also by a brief description of the premises, possibly including square footage and type of facility (office, industrial, warehouse, etc). Though they are subject to change, a letter of intent should also include an anticipated start date for the tenancy, a lease rate and a termination date.

Additional Information

Though not strictly required, it's the additional terms to the lease that are usually the object of negotiation. These terms include the landlord's responsibilities (maintenance), mutual rights to terminate the agreement under particular circumstances, the amount of security deposit and renewal options. Other terms such as parking, garbage removal, janitorial, utilities, solicitation and the posting of signs can also be included.

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About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.