A simple rental agreement is also referred to as a basic rental agreement or a residential rental agreement. This document exists between a landlord and a tenant who rents property like a house or apartment specifically for residential or personal use.
What Is a Simple Rental Agreement?
Simple rental agreements are legally binding documents that both parties sign, but these documents can be modified to fit individual circumstances, as long as the landlord does not make illegal requests of the tenant. For example, a landlord can specify in the simple rental agreement that they do not want pets on their property, or that the tenant may paint the walls of the property as long as they repaint them a neutral color when they choose to move out. These rental agreements also clearly state the amount of rent per week or month; what day the rent is due; the amount of the deposit, and how much of that is refundable; what the deposit might be used for (for example, what damages or replacement appliances the deposit exists to cover); whether the tenant paid first and/or last month’s rent as part of the rental agreement; noise policies; when the lease will be up; how to discuss changes to the lease or rent; eviction policies and grievance processes; and other details that help negotiate the relationship between the landlord and the tenant, primarily through the tenant’s use of the property.
There are many reasons a simple rental agreement could be needed. For example, a homeowner wishes to rent a room in their house, and needs a form to help them navigate the rental process for the first time. A property manager taking over a new rental property will need these specific forms. A person renting out property they own to a small business as a commercial space will need to negotiate rental arrangements as well as other legal details – for example, if the property was originally zoned for residential use.
Legal Issues with Simple Rental Agreements
Landlords may place many specific rules on their tenants, but they may never discriminate against tenants on the basis of race, religion, creed, national origin, gender, physical or mental disability, or children. Landlords may limit the number of people who can safely live on the property, but this will be based on specific local laws for emergency safety. Some states do not specify that landlords may not discriminate on the basis of marital status or sexuality, so unmarried couples or same-sex couples may find that landlords discriminate against them on this basis, but no one has to answer questions regarding their sexuality or marital status if they believe it will be a cause of discrimination.
Why Use a Simple Rental Agreement Template?
Download our free simple rental agreement to get started on creating a basic rental agreement between yourself and a potential tenant. However, if you have specific questions on legal issues around becoming a landlord, consider consulting with a tenants’ rights attorney, and research your local tenants’ rights and laws. In the meantime, our free template can get you started writing your basic needs and wants for your rental property!