What is the difference between a rent agreement and lease agreement?

Often rental agreements and lease agreements are confused due to the similarities in how they are applied. They are both legal documents that are required for a tenant and a landlord to enter into before the tenant moves in. However, they are different regarding the length of time the tenant is present on the property. There are other differences in the expectations and responsibilities of both parties.

Lease Agreement

These legal documents are less flexible and have to be followed exactly as defined in the agreement.

Strict Rental Payments

When you enter a lease agreement as a tenant, your contract will specify the amount of rent you must provide. This is agreed upon at the very beginning and typically can’t be changed throughout your entire stay on the property. This protects both you and the landlord, as the landlord cannot raise the rent, and you stick to the agreed-upon amount. The landlord may also request that you pay in a specific way, such as online, by check, by money order, or through an electronic deposit.

Fixed Time of Stay

Additionally, a lease agreement details the amount of time you agreed to remain on the property. If this changes or needs to be renewed, you have to start a new lease agreement. When you have to stay for a shorter or longer time, you will be required to give your landlord a notice. If you have to leave earlier, you may have to alert your landlord 60 days before your new move-out date to allow your landlord to accommodate this decision. In the circumstance that you wind up living there past the deadline, your landlord may request a new lease, or you become a holdover tenant who continues paying.

A New Lease is Required for Any Changes

When you want to make changes to your lease, you can’t simply update it. The lease agreement requires you to start an entirely new contract. Your landlord doesn’t have to honor your old lease if you enter into a new one. This means that the monthly rent may increase, the time of stay may change, and other details about maintenance and amenities may change. You will have to negotiate with your landlord how you would like to move forward.

Rental Agreement

These are not long-term contractual agreements and are typically used for month-to-month tenants.

The Agreement Renews Every Month

Unlike lease agreements, the rental agreement is renewed every month as you agree to stay and provide rent for the next 30 days. Your terms can continue on untouched, or you may request that your landlord include additional provisions for you so that you stay longer. This works both ways, however, as the landlord may also decide to change the agreement over time.

Rental Payment May Change

Because the rental agreement is renewed every month, this means that the landlord may increase the rental amount out of the blue. This can be because of personal needs, other renters offered to pay more, or because the neighborhood value went up. Whatever the reason, you are not protected from changes in rent like you would with a lease agreement.

Notices Are Still Required

Even though your rental agreement doesn’t require your landlord to renew with you when the month has ended, they still have to provide notice. You will need a 30-day notice to let you know that your landlord decided not to renew next month’s rental agreement and requests that you leave the apartment.

How to Do a Rental Agreements

If you are looking for additional information on apartment applications, you can look at ezLandlordForms to learn how to submit your rental application online.

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