The Puerto Rico Rental Lease Agreements are a set of legal agreements designed to facilitate the transfer of property from a property owner or manager (typically known as a landlord) to a temporary owner (known as a tenant). Due to Puerto Rico’s nature within the US, many of the laws governing leases there may be complete unique to it. For example, unlike most areas in the US, selling or leasing property in Puerto Rico requires a license directly from the Commissioner.
Each lease is unique, due to the wide variety of types of leases, properties they cover and lengths of the leases. As such, all leases should be read carefully, to minimize the risk of misunderstandings. Residential leases are required to contain simple, clear language to help a layperson understand them, but should still be read carefully. What follows are some of the most common examples of leases.
Form Description Types
Puerto Rico Rental Laws
Laws are pursuant to Puerto Rico, Title 10, Chapter 49A.
Most landlords will want to charge a security deposit, in order to pay for repairs for any damages the property undergoes during a tenancy. Under Puerto Rico law, there is no limit to how much a landlord can charge for a deposit, although one month’s rent is fairly common. A landlord is required to return the deposit within thirty (30) days of the tenant vacating the property.
Regardless of the type and length of a lease, all of the rules for rent (including, but no limited to, how much it is, when it is due, what forms are acceptable and where it must be delivered to) will be spelled out in the lease. As there are no rent controlled areas in Puerto Rico, there is no legal limit to how much a landlord can charge for rent.
Under a One Year or longer Lease, a landlord cannot alter the rent in any way until the lease has terminated, unless their is a provision in the lease that allows for an increase in the rent. Under a Month to Month Lease, the landlord can change the rent at their discretion by giving the tenant thirty (30) days written notice.
If a tenant fails to pay rent on time and in full, they may accrue a late fee. There are no laws in Puerto Rico governing late fees, so there is no legal limit to how much a landlord can charge for a late fee. However, a late fee policy including both how much it is and when it will be charged must be spelled out in the lease or the landlord cannot charge a late fee.
Unless it is a Month to Month Lease, in which case the landlord can end the tenancy at their discretion by giving thirty (30) days written notice, a Puerto Rico landlord cannot end a tenancy without cause. In this case, in the tenant violates the lease in such a way that the lease specifies eviction (such as causing significant damage to the property or failing to pay rent) the landlord must serve them with written notice to vacate the property and give them five (5) days to comply.
If the tenant does not vacate in that time, the landlord must go to the local court and seek an Eviction Notice from a Judge. Typically the Judge will hold a hearing, giving the tenant an opportunity to defend themselves before being evicted. Until the tenant has been served with an Eviction Notice, the landlord cannot attempt to force them out by turning off utilities, changing locks, installing a deadbolt, etc.
Rental discrimination (IE, refusing to rent, denying property is available when it is, evicting, charging different rent) for the following reasons is illegal in Puerto Rico:
- race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability
- note that age, sexual orientation and gender identity are not covered
Landlord’s Right to Enter
Puerto Rico has no laws regarding a landlord’s right to enter a property, and as such they will be governed by common sense and good manners, usually known as Common Law in legal circles. As such it is typical for a landlord to give at least twenty four (24) hours notice before entering a property, and can only do so at a reasonable time and for a reasonable purpose. This is, of course, not applicable in an emergency, during which a landlord can enter without consent or notice.