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Apartment Lease basics

Before any move-ins can take place, tenants and landlords should make sure that an Apartment Lease has been signed. A written lease protects all parties by explicitly setting out expectations and preventing potential misunderstandings.

The free Apartment Lease template that Rocket Lawyer offers can be used in any of the following situations:

  • You own a personal residence that you'd like to lease to a tenant, and you would like to have a clear set of rules and conditions for the rental.
  • You are a tenant attempting to lease a residential property from a landlord who does not have their own lease document.
  • You own a residential rental property, and want to clarify the terms of a rental agreement before leasing the property to a tenant, such as converting a month-to-month rental to a two-year lease.
  • You are a landlord who currently has tenants living on your property, and you'd like to formalize the existing rental agreement with a written document.
  • You own a residential rental property, and want to clarify the terms of a rental agreement before leasing the property to a tenant, such as converting a month-to-month rental to a two-year lease.
  • You are a landlord who currently has tenants living on your property, and you'd like to formalize the existing rental agreement with a written document.

What does it mean to lease an apartment?


Leasing an apartment is another way of saying you are renting an apartment. The lease is the legal document—in other words, a contract—that outlines the terms of the rental arrangement.


How does an Apartment Lease work?


An Apartment Lease outlines the terms of the rental. For example, it contains information such as:

  • The apartment's address and a basic description
  • Details about the monthly payment
  • Security deposits
  • Any pet or guest policies
  • Duration of the lease
  • Contact information for the landlord(s), tenant(s), and property manager
  • Subletting terms
  • Parking space information
  • Storage privileges and/or location
  • Utility information
  • Noticing requirements, such as when the landlord may enter the property
  • Other disclosures

What's the difference between leasing an apartment and renting an apartment?


A lease is merely the legal document outlining the terms of an apartment rental. However, in some cases a rental agreement may cover a shorter period of time, such as a month-long vacation rental, whereas a lease more commonly is used to refer to a term of 12 months or longer.


What happens if you terminate an Apartment Lease early?


The lease usually will specify what happens in the event of an early termination. You might have to pay an early termination fee. Certain states require landlords to attempt to find a replacement tenant as quickly as they can, which is referred to as "mitigation." In those states, the landlord is only allowed to recover the rent for the period of time before they are able to lease the property to a new tenant.

If you have further questions about Apartment Leases, an experienced attorney can help.


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Sample Apartment Lease

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