Dear GirlLegal: I’ve had to downsize recently, and just found an apartment. Now that I’m renting, I’m not to sure what the lease should say. Can you please help?

Dear James from N.V.: Finding yourself in this new situation can be challenging, and I hope the following information helps you. For starters, the lease is an agreement between the landlord and the tenant for renting a property. The lease can be oral (spoken) or in writing. If the tenant does not have a written lease, he/she has an oral lease.

In either situation, the lease should at least tell: 1 ) who is the tenant and who is the landlord; 2) the location being rented; 3) the amount of rent due; 4) the length of time that the property is being rented (month-to-month or year-to-year): and 5) who pays the utilities. The tenant must make sure that all blanks are filled in or crossed out of the lease and that all changes are made before signing.

The lease sets forth the obligation which the tenant owes to the landlord and the obligation which the landlord owes to the tenant. NEVER SIGN ANY LEASE BEFORE READING IT CAREFULLY. If the tenant has a written lease, every agreement between the tenant and the landlord must be put in the lease, including any promises by the landlord to make repairs. Always ask for and get a copy of the lease.

Thanks for visiting - I strive to respond to all questions as a  free service to the internet community on an ongoing basis. The intent is to provide answers that are both practical and useful. Feel free to ask questions and link back to this website.

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