A lease, also known as a rental agreement, is a legal document that defines your rights and responsibilities in relation to a rental property. The lease, or rental agreement, is defined by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) as a written, oral, or implied agreement between a landlord and a tenant in which the tenant is granted the right to use or occupy residential premises on the condition that rent is paid.
If you enter into a verbal rental agreement, the landlord is required to provide you with a written notice that includes all the information found in the Rental Agreement Notice Regulations. It is critical that you understand and are aware of what you are signing. You will be better prepared to deal with difficult situations if you understand the terms of your lease Remember that if you do not have a written rental agreement signed by both you and your landlord, you are not protected by the Newfoundland Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
There are two kinds of rental contracts:
Fixed-term (6-12-month) and temporary-term agreements (week-to-week or month-to-month). The type of rental agreement will determine when the rent is due and when the landlord or tenant must give notice of termination. A fixed-term agreement is one that lasts no less than six months and no more than twelve months. A fixed-term lease requires two months’ notice before the lease expires. If you are unable to stay for the entire year, you may be able to sublet (see the sublet section).
- You must give one month’s notice before vacating a month-to-month lease.
- A week-to-week lease must be terminated at least 7 days before the end of the rental period.
All adults living on the property, as well as the property manager or landlord, should sign the lease. If a co-signer is included in the rental agreement, they must sign the lease alongside the tenant. It is best if the tenants sign the lease agreement first. This is especially important if the lease is being signed without the presence of the owner or manager.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LEASE AND A RENTAL AGREEMENT
A rental agreement and a lease agreement have no legal distinction; however, in some cases, a rental agreement, or a periodic tenancy, may refer to a short-term rental contract. The term can apply to any length of time, but month-to-month leases are the most common. Unless the landlord or the renter gives a 30-day written notice, the tenancy automatically renews for a new term each month. Changes to the rental agreement’s terms can be made by providing the required written notice.
A lease agreement, also known as a rental agreement, A fixed term agreement allows the tenant to rent the property for a specific period. Most leases are for six months or a year. Unless the tenant agrees to the changes, the lease terms are unchangeable during the term. A lease, unlike a rental agreement, does not automatically renew upon termination. Instead, if the landlord allows the tenant to remain in the rental unit and pay rent after the lease expires, the lease becomes a month-to-month tenancy.
KINDS OF AGREEMENT UNDER RENTAL OR LEASE AGREEMENT
- LEASE AGREEMENT IN VERBAL: A verbal lease agreement is frequently considered legal and binding for one year. If the tenant moves in and you accept the rent, you will have a month-to-month tenancy. Even if you are only having a relative stay with you for a few months, it is always a good idea to have a written rental agreement. If things go wrong and you need the tenant to leave, written agreements will come in handy.
- SIGNATURE OF A WRITTEN LEASE AGREEMENT: Here’s an overview of the lease signing procedure, including who must sign the lease, who signs the lease first, who receives a copy of the lease, and who to contact if you have questions about the lease.
- THE SIGNING OF THE LEASE: Before you move into a new unit, you can sign your lease in person or online. If you sign the lease in the presence of your landlord or property manager, they should go over all the important terms with you. Make sure you ask questions and understand these lease provisions.
If you sign the rental lease online using electronic signatures, it is your responsibility to read through the document and understand everything to which you are agreeing. Do not treat the signing of a rental lease like a ‘Terms of Service’ checkbox. Lease agreements are critical legal documents. Managers and landlords who do not use electronic signatures may choose to mail their documents.
If the tenants are unable to meet in person to sign the lease prior to move-in, they will be given a lease agreement. If you mail a lease agreement, some managers may require the tenant’s signature to be notarized. A lease could also be emailed or texted to a tenant, who can then print it out, sign it, and return it to the manager or owner.
Consider this Washington Post anecdote: an owner couple mailed a lease to potential tenants to sign. The owners mailed the lease after signing it themselves, but the potential renters remained silent. They were simply waiting for a response from the renters because they had already signed the lease, but they received none. They couldn’t simply rent out the property to another applicant during this time because the original renters could show up with the signed original lease. The property was left unoccupied and earning no rental income while the couple waited. If the couple had sent an unsigned copy, another party could have rented the property because a lease is not valid without the owner’s signature.
- An approved rental applicant receives an unsigned lease agreement from the owner or manager.
- Applicant reads the lease agreement, signs it, agrees to the terms, and returns it to the owner/manager. They accept the offer to rent the property by returning a signed lease agreement.
- The signed rental contract is given to the owner/manager, who also signs it. When both parties sign the lease, the contract is considered binding on the terms outlined in the agreement.
- The signed lease agreement is given to both parties.
WHO IS GIVEN A COPY OF THE LEASE
Everyone who signed the lease agreement should receive a copy. Tenants should keep their copies in a secure location for future reference. Some property managers or landlords may charge the tenant for a duplicate lease. Copies of a rental lease can be stored online and shared with renters to access at any time in a tenant portal with the help of good property management software.
Managers and landlords should keep good copies of signed leases. It is a good idea to keep copies of lease agreements for previous tenants, at least until the tenancy’s statute of limitations expires. According to state law, a property manager may or may not provide a copy of the lease agreement to the property owner.