A rental lease agreement includes the names of every tenant, the limits on occupancy, the terms of tenancy, the rent, and any deposits or fees, writes Nolo. Responsibilities for repairs and maintenance, legal right of access to property, and other restrictions should also be detailed.
Leases are affected by state-specific laws, according to Nolo. Different states impose various restrictions on the amount of late fee that can be collected, how much to penalize for bounced checks, and even the dollar limit on security deposits. Laws may also require landlords to disclose environmental hazards, provide itemized deductions on security deposits and dictate the circumstances under which a landlord can enter a tenant's home.
The rental agreement or lease is an immensely important legal contract because it outlines the relationship between the landlord and tenant, and it determines how long a tenant can stay on the property, states Nolo. By naming every tenant and specifying limits on occupancy, a landlord has legal recourse if a tenant illegally sublets or invites others to move in, and the lease makes every tenant responsible for the full rent in case one or more fail to pay. One tenant violating part of the lease can be grounds to evict all tenants.