Rental leases serve as legally binding contracts. A lease agreement can involve apartments, short-term car rentals, car leases, or property such as recording equipment. You should read and understand all agreements. If you disagree with a section, then voice your concerns before signing the lease because it is difficult to void the lease afterward.
Rental agreements contain common terminology. For example, a lease should specify pertinent parties such as the landlord and tenant. The agreement also should state the subject matter that forms the basis of the contract. For example, an apartment rental agreement should include the specific location of the apartment unit. Analyse the terms to understand when the agreement begins and ends as well as what penalties will arise if you terminate early. Other terms should include the payment, such as monthly or daily rental fee, plus any relevant deposit or down payment. Many times, agreements contain restrictions or limitations that cannot be waived. An apartment lease might not allow pets or animals unless the landlord provides written consent.
The state you live in may require certain clauses or phrases in a rental agreement that are not valid in another state. If you are drafting a rental agreement, check to make sure that you include essential phrases. For example, a California rental agreement should describe repairs for which the landlord is responsible. If a repair is the responsibility of the landlord, then the tenant must provide written notice identifying the needed repairs. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1174.2, a tenant cannot avoid paying rent unless the landlord commits a substantial breach of warranty (regarding habitability).
After signing a lease agreement, an applicant might undergo a credit, background or reference check. For instance, landlords can deny prospective tenants and car rental companies can reject applicants after running credit checks. There are federal and state laws designed to protect applicants. An example is the Federal Fair Housing Acts, which governs tenant discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, and disability. If you have questions about an agreement, consult with a licensed attorney for clarification.
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