What Is the Difference Between a Property Lease and a Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement is a short-term, month to month tenancy with automatic renewal at the end of a period, according to NOLO Law. A property lease is a long-term agreement that provides the tenant the opportunity to occupy the property for a set term — typically six months to a year.

Unlike rental agreements, property leases are not automatically renewable and require contract signatures for tenants to remain at the property, according to NOLO Law. During the property lease term, the landlord cannot change the terms of the agreement as long as the tenant adheres to the terms of the agreement, pays rent on time and does not violate conditions set regarding to legal activity, possessions of pets and property damage. The landlord cannot raise the price of the property without the approval of the tenant during the duration of the agreement with a property lease.

However, with a rental agreement, tenants do not have as many protections typically provided by property lease agreements, according to NOLO Law. For example, the landlord can modify the terms of the agreement at any time as long as it is in writing. Tenants may be subject to increases in rent, changes to requirements regarding repairs or pet possession and changes to parking or occupancy limits.