Comprehensive Legal Guide for Renting a House

Updated June 30, 2023
8 min read
Comprehensive Legal Guide for Renting a House

Introduction

A lease agreement for renting a house, also known as a rental agreement, is like a trusty map that outlines the terms and conditions of renting a property from a landlord. It covers everything you need to know to ensure a smooth tenancy, from rent and occupancy rules to deposits, pets, subletting, and assignment clauses.

This guide covers all information about the responsibilities and rights of both parties involved in the retention process. Knowing what is a lease agreement for renting a house and your rights as either the tenant or landlord will help you make informed decisions when entering any kind of house rental agreement.

The Role of a Lease Agreement for Renting a House

A basic lease agreement for renting a house is an important document that outlines the terms between two parties — the renter (the tenant) and the landlord. It defines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of each party. 

The lease agreement for renting a house typically includes information such as when rent is due, what pets are allowed, if any, if the tenant can sublet or assign their lease to someone else, and eviction procedures — more on the context of such an agreement can be found in special guides. Even the most basic lease agreement for renting a house should always be in writing so that both parties have a record of their obligations and agreements.

Types of Lease Agreements for Renting a House

Lease agreements come in different flavors, each tailored to suit your renting needs. Standard terms include month-to-month rental agreements, fixed-term rental agreements, and lease renewal options. Whether you're up for a short-term adventure or a long-term commitment, read on to see the main details about each lease agreement for renting a house.

  • Month-to-month rental agreement: It is an amazing opportunity for those not going to stay in one place for long. With a month-to-month lease agreement for renting a house, you have the freedom to move on to new horizons without being tied down to one place with a piece of paper. This lease agreement for renting a house lasts only one month, so you and the landlord can terminate the deal with a 30-day notice.

  • Fixed-term rental agreement: Another convenient and concise option for those who want a specific duration for their rental period is a fixed-term lease agreement for renting a house. Typically, the parties agree on a rental period (usually from 6 months to a year). When the contract ends, the parties may renew or terminate it.

  • Automatic renewal leases: Very convenient option for those who plan to live in one convenient location but still want to save themselves from creating a lifelong contract. Parties can enter into a basic fixed-term lease agreement for renting a house and automatically continue living under the contract. However, reviewing the document before signing it is a must.

  • Rent-to-own lease agreement: If you want to buy a property but don't have enough money for a down payment yet, you can discuss with the owner the rent-to-own lease agreement for renting a house. As the name suggests, this agreement is entered into when the resident plans to gradually purchase the property.

  • Short-term or vacation lease agreement: Another type of house rental agreement, a short-term or vacation lease agreement, is entered into between parties when the tenant provides housing for temporary rentals, typically for a few days to a few months.

  • Sublease agreement: A sublease agreement allows a tenant currently renting a property to lease all or part of the property to another person, known as the subtenant. This type of lease agreement for renting a house is useful when the original tenant needs to move out temporarily or permanently but wants to avoid breaking the lease. 

Creating a Lease Agreement for Renting a House Online

When entering into a house rental arrangement, it is crucial to clearly understand your rights and responsibilities as both a tenant and a landlord. Creating a lease agreement for renting a house is one effective way to ensure that all essential requirements and rights are properly addressed. 

To create a lease agreement, you don't need to reinvent the wheel, you can use a lease agreement template and get fully legit documents without even leaving the house. Utilizing a template ensures that all essential elements are included and that both parties interests are protected. Usually, such lease agreements for renting a house are created by professional lawyers specializing in real estate law, so the final result is ready to be used as an official document. 

A well-crafted lease agreement for renting a house or flat isn't just a bunch of legal jargon — it's the key to unlocking a rental relationship built on trust and cooperation. It sets the stage for a harmonious coexistence, where everyone knows their part and can enjoy the journey together.

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants

When entering into a lease agreement for renting a house, tenants have certain rights and responsibilities that they should be aware of. Understanding these rights and responsibilities is crucial for maintaining a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship. Some of the tenants’ responsibilities may include: 

  • Paying rent on time according to the terms outlined in the lease agreement.

  • Keeping the rented property clean and in good condition.

  • Conducting minor repairs and maintenance, such as replacing light bulbs or unclogging drains.

  • Complying with the rules and regulations outlined in the lease agreement, including restrictions on activities.

  • Notifying the landlord promptly of any necessary repairs or maintenance issues.

  • Abiding by the terms regarding pets, subletting, and assignment of the lease.

By understanding and fulfilling these responsibilities, tenants can ensure a smooth and mutually beneficial tenancy. It is essential to thoroughly read and comprehend the lease agreement for renting a house to clearly understand these rights and responsibilities before signing the document.

When a lease agreement for renting a house, tenants have several main rights that come with their lease agreement. These may include:

  • Right to privacy: If the situation is not urgent or life-threatening, the landlord must give the tenant at least 24 hours' notice before entering the rental property.

  • Fair housing rights: As stated many times in the requirements for a lease agreement for renting a house, the landlord cannot discriminate against tenants based on their gender, skin color, sexual preferences, or physical condition.

  • Right to safe and habitable conditions: Another important point is a lease agreement for renting a house, which means that tenants have the right to decent conditions, which means no mold on the walls, creaky floors, or leaking faucets. The landlord must maintain the property in a normal state.

  • Right to proper notice: Landlord must clearly provide tenants with proper written notice if he wants to make any changes to the lease agreement for renting a house or even evicting a tenant. Although the owner of the apartment has rights to the property, he still has to comply with local laws and regulations.

  • Right to quiet enjoyment: Landlord must respect the rights of tenants and not interfere in their affairs or household management unless it contradicts the lease agreement for renting a house.

Each resident must understand that their rights are protected by the law and the government, so they are not dependent on the will and desire of the landlord. Therefore, if you clearly know your rights and see that they are not violated in a lease agreement for renting a house, then you have every right to demand respect for your rights from the landlord.

Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords

If you are a landlord, you should know about your rights and responsibilities even before signing any lease agreements for renting a house. So, what can and cannot be done by a property owner in the U.S.?

  • Landlord's right to access the property: One of the rights of the landlord is the ability to conduct inspections, repairs, or maintenance. This is what lease agreements for renting a house state. However, the landlord cannot visit their tenants without prior notice.

  • Repairs and maintenance: It is the duty of every landlord to maintain the housing in good condition. Firstly, this helps to keep the property in livable condition for a longer time, and secondly, every tenant has the right to live in safe conditions.

  • Tenant screening process: Landlords can choose who will live on their property, but they cannot discriminate against people based on their gender, sexual preferences, physical condition, or other personal qualities. However, landlords have the full right to conduct background checks, employment verification, and checking references before signing lease agreements for renting a house.

  • Eviction procedures: Landlord has the right to initiate the eviction procedure if there is a valid reason for it. However, this process must be strictly follow the law.

Before signing lease agreements for renting a house, the parties must clearly define what they can and cannot do according to the law. Even if you are a landlord, you cannot arbitrarily evict a tenant or visit your property daily without notice.

Conclusion

Renting a house can be a pleasant experience for both tenants and landlords, but it requires effort from both parties. This is not a one-time meeting to sign a lease agreement for renting a house; it is all about a long-term cooperation process. Therefore, both landlords and tenants must know their rights, obligations and clearly understand what is stipulated in the contract between them.

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Article by
Inna Chumachenko
Lawrina

Inna Chumachenko is the Content Lead at Lawrina. She is responsible for managing all the content found on the blog, guides, and other website pages. Inna has a degree in philology and a vast interest in law. In her role at Lawrina, Inna oversees the content team, establishes collaborations with writers, and curates content from various contributors.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the content for Lawrina, please feel free to contact Inna directly via email at i.chumachenko@lawrina.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can landlords evict tenants arbitrarily?

Landlords cannot evict tenants for no reason. They must follow the law and have a valid reason according to local laws. They must also give written notice to tenants before starting the eviction process.

For example, a landlord may be able to evict a tenant for consistently paying rent late or damaging the property but cannot evict the tenant simply because they do not like them or because they have a personal disagreement.

What are the landlord's limitations in terms of accessing the rental property?

Landlords can enter the property for inspections, repairs, or maintenance, but they must tell the tenants ahead of time. Usually, they need to give at least 24 hours' notice before going inside the rental property.

For example, if a landlord needs to fix a leaky faucet, they can enter the rental property to make the repair. However, they must give the tenant advance notice and schedule a time that is convenient for both parties.

Can I create a lease agreement for renting a house online?

It's possible to make a lease agreement for renting a house online by using a template. This way, you can make sure that all necessary information is included and that both parties are protected. The templates are usually made by lawyers who specialize in real estate law, so the document is legally valid.