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Residential Landlord-Tenant Agreement Template

This Agreement is entered into by [LANDLORD] (“Landlord”) AND [TENANT] (“Tenant”) and outlines the rights and obligations of both parties relating to rental of property at the following address — [PROPERTY] (“Rental Property”).

[LANDLORD] and [TENANT] are collectively referred to in this Residential Landlord-Tenant Agreement as the “Parties.”  Both Parties have had an opportunity, before signing this document, to fully review it and consult with a lawyer, if desired.  To their best understanding, this document accurately and fully describes the expectations and agreements between the Parties relating to the [PROPERTY] for the duration of this Residential Landlord-Tenant Agreement.

1.    Identification of the premises

Landlord owns, or has authority to rent, the premises located at [PROPERTY] which will be referred to in this Residential Landlord-Tenant Agreement as the “Rental Property.”  The Rental Property is intended and/or zoned for residential use only.

2.    Agreement to rent

According to the terms of this Agreement, Tenant agrees to rent the Rental Property from Landlord for residential use, together with the following furnishings and/or appliances [FURNISHINGS].  Rental of the premises also includes the following ancillary use — [OTHER USE].

3.    Term of tenancy

The term of rental will start on [START DATE] and continue through [END DATE].

4.    Inability to take or deliver possession of Rental Property

If the Tenant is unable to take possession of the Rental Property premises, or vacates the Rental Property before the end of the term of tenancy, Tenant will still be responsible for paying the remainder of the rental payments and complying with the terms of this Agreement.

If Landlord is unable to deliver possession of the Rental Property premises for any reason outside of the control of the Landlord (for example, destruction of the building due to natural disaster), Tenant will have the right to terminate this Agreement upon written notice to the Landlord, and Landlord’s sole responsibility will be to return sums paid by Tenant for periods of time when Landlord is unable to deliver possession of the premises.

The point here is to acknowledge that sometimes things happen that would render it unfair for the Tenant to have to continue to pay rent.  However, the limited right of the Tenant is to get his/her money back for the time period when he/she could not live in the Rental Property.

5.    Monthly rent payments

Tenant will pay Landlord monthly rent of [DOLLAR AMOUNT], payable in advance no later than the first day of every month of the term of this Agreement, except when the first day of the month falls on a weekend or legal holiday, in which case the rent will be due no later than the following business day.  For the period from Tenant’s move-in date [MOVE IN DATE] through the end of the month, Tenant will pay Landlord prorated monthly rent in the amount of [PRORATED RENT], which will be paid before Tenant moves in.

Rent payments must be received by Landlord at the following address no later than the due date — [PAYMENT ADDRESS].

Rent payments may be made by personal check, money order, or cashier’s check made payable to  [RENT PAYEE].

6.    Late fees

If Tenant fails to pay the rent in full before 5:00 p.m. on the first of the month after the rent is due, Tenant will also pay the Landlord a late charge of [LATE CHARGE], plus [DAILY LATE CHARGE] for each additional day that the rent remains unpaid.  The total late charge for any one month will not exceed [MAXIMUM LATE CHARGE].

Your state or city may have legal limitations on how much you may charge for late fees.  If you don’t know what they are, at least use something reasonable.  Contracts are not allowed to punish people for being late with payments, but may assess fees that have some reasonable relationship to the impact on the non-offending party.

7.    Returned check fees

If any check for rent payment is returned for insufficient funds, a “stop payment,” or any other reason, Tenant will pay Landlord a returned check charge of [RETURNED CHECK CHARGE].

Make this charge an estimation of the  cost to you  if this happens, such as what bank charges would be assessed against you.

8.    Limitations on use of the premises

The Rental Property is to be used only as a private residence for [TENANT] and the following minor children — [MINOR CHILDREN].  Occupancy by guests for more than one week is prohibited without Landlord’s written consent.

Tenant, minor children identified herein, and guests or invitees, will not use the Rental Property for any illegal or nuisance activity, including, though not limited to, disturbing the peace and quiet enjoyment of the neighbors, possession or use of illegal substances, or property damage.  Tenant shall be responsible to the Landlord for the actions of Tenant’s guests and invitees.

Under some circumstances, you as a Landlord can have legal liability for criminal conduct on the premises, even if you didn’t directly cause it.  Thus it is important to be aware of, and take action to stop, any illegal conduct occurring on your property.

9.    Pets

No pets of any kind, other than for assistance with a physical handicap of Tenant or the minor children identified above, are allowed without prior, written consent of the Landlord.  The Landlord may deny consent for any reason, or require a pet security deposit in the amount of [PET DEPOSIT] (or a lesser amount if limited by law).

Some states and cities place legal limitations on how much a landlord can charge as a pet deposit.  It must be reasonably related to potential damage by the pet.

Landlord hereby consents to the following pet(s) to be kept in the Rental Property– [PET NAME AND TYPE] and a pet deposit of [PET DEPOSIT] required.

10.    Water beds

Water beds are not permitted without separate, written consent of the Landlord and providing proof of rental insurance covering damages caused by said waterbed.

Water beds are a familiar hazard to landlords.  By making a prohibition in the rental agreement, or ensuring that any damages are covered by the tenant is an important protection for the landlord.

11.    Alterations or repairs

Tenant is not permitted to make any repairs or alterations to the Rental Property, or any appliances or fixtures therein, without prior consent of the Landlord.  This includes painting the premises, and [OTHER PROHIBITED ALTERATIONS].

Sometimes rental agreements go so far as to prohibit even putting a nail in the wall to hang a picture.  This may be a good place to add in information specific to this Rental Property.

12.    Keys

Keys to the Rental Property belong to the Landlord and will be returned by Tenant to Landlord at the end of the tenancy.  Tenant will not modify or rekey any locks to the Rental Property, nor make any duplicate keys.  In the event of the need for replacement keys or new locks, Tenant will request them from the Landlord.

13.    Grounds for termination

If the Tenant fails to comply with the terms of this Agreement, or misrepresents any material fact on Tenant’s rental application, this Agreement can be terminated by the Landlord, with appropriate notice to Tenant and procedures required by law.

The procedures are not detailed here because each country, state, and sometimes also cities, have specific requirements.  If you need to terminate, you will need to consult with local counsel to get the specific procedures to follow.

14.    Assignment and subletting 

Tenant may not assign this Agreement or sublet the Rental Property to anyone else without advance written consent of the Landlord.

15.    Security deposit

Upon signing this Agreement, Tenant will pay Landlord a security deposit of [SECURITY DEPOSIT].  This security deposit cannot be treated by Tenant as payment of the last month of rent or any other amounts due to the Landlord.  Landlord is not required to keep security deposit funds in a trust account, nor required to pay any interest on it.

Within 30 days of the Tenant vacating the Rental Property, returned keys to the Landlord, and provided a forwarding address, Landlord will refund to Tenant the security deposit, less any amounts due from Tenant to Landlord for any of the following items:  unpaid rent, unpaid late charges, cost of repair or cleaning above and beyond the ordinary wear and tear on the Rental Property.  Landlord will provide Tenant with an itemized written statement of any funds withheld within this same time period.

Usually security deposit funds are not required to be kept in a separate account or otherwise preserved for return to the tenant at the end of the lease, however, a better practice would be to do so.  Arguments over security deposits are commonplace when a landlord tries to increase charges to the departing tenant so the landlord does not have to come up with the money.  It is far better business practice to keep security deposits in a fund to actually pay any costs appropriately charged against it, and give a fair refund.

16.    Utilities and maintenance responsibilities

Tenant is responsible to pay all utility bills except — [UTILITIES INCLUDED IN RENT] which will be paid by the Landlord.  Tenant is required to provide utility services necessary to maintain the premises under the terms of this Agreement.

Tenant and Landlord will conduct a walk-through of the Rental Property before Tenant moves in to examine the premises.  Tenant will examine the Rental Property, including appliances, fixtures, carpets, paint, etc. and considers them to be safe and in clean condition and repair unless otherwise noted in writing to the Landlord within the first week of moving into the premises.

Tenant is responsible to keep the Rental Property clean, sanitary, and in good condition, and other than ordinary wear and tear, return the Rental Property to Landlord in the same condition as at the beginning of the lease.

Tenant is required to promptly notify Landlord of any dangerous conditions or defects found in the Rental Property, or arising during the term of this Agreement, whether pre-existing, caused by Tenant, minor children (if any), or guests, and whether negligently or intentionally caused.

17.    Insurance

Tenant is required to obtain and maintain, at Tenant’s expense, insurance that will cover bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage, occurring on the Rental Property, and naming Landlord as an additional insured.  Tenant will provide proof of this insurance coverage to Landlord.

You may want to modify the language of this paragraph somewhat, or eliminate it.  Talk with your insurance company and make sure that whether through your own insurance or Tenant insurance, you are covered in case someone slips and falls and and sues, or the Tenant causes property damage, or similar types of events.

18.    Rights of access

Landlord and Landlord’s agents are permitted to access the Rental Property in the event of an emergency without prior notice.  Otherwise, Landlord and Landlord’s agents are permitted to access the Rental Property with at least [ADVANCE NOTICE TIME advance notice for access at reasonable times during the day for the following purposes:  an annual inspection to check for safety or maintenance problems and evaluate the overall condition of the Rental Property, to make repairs and/or improvements, or to show the Rental Property to prospective buyers or tenants.  Notice of intent to access the Rental Property will be given in writing posted on or under the front door of the Rental Property.

You might want to have a 24 hour advance notice timeframe in this agreement, but in practice it might be good to give a little more notice when you can.

19.    Extended absence

Tenant will notify Landlord if Tenant will be away from the Rental Property for an extended period of time (for more than one week at a time) and Landlord may enter the Rental Property from time to time to perform necessary maintenance or upgrades to the Rental Property during that time.

20.    Notices

If not specified otherwise above, any notices required under this Agreement will be served on the other party at the following:

Landlord —






Tenant —






The notice address for the Landlord should probably be the same as the address for payments, and the Tenant address should probably be the Rental Property address, but there may be occasions for using other addresses.

If the receiving party of any notice from the other party does not receive acknowledgment of receipt of any notice sent by email within 48 hours, a follow up notice must be sent by U.S. Mail or personally delivering to the other party.

Email boxes can be tricky sometimes, as can spam filters.  Due to the importance of contact notices, this ensures that the recipient actually gets the notice.

21.    Termination of tenancy

When the tenancy under this Agreement ends, Tenant will be required to do the following:  empty and clean the Rental Property such that it is clean, sanitary, and good condition, subject only to ordinary wear and tear, return all keys to Landlord, and provide Landlord with a forwarding address for purposes of return of security deposit or other necessary communications.

22.    Additional provisions

Additional provisions to this Agreement are the following:


This is the place to add anything specific you may want to add, for example, relating to some specific feature of the property, or something not covered anywhere else in the Agreement.

23.    Disclosures

According to law, Landlord is required to provide you with the following disclosures:


These disclosures are attached to this Agreement and must be signed at the same time as executing this Agreement.

Lead-Based paint is an example of this, but there may be others in your state, city or country.

24.    Applicable law

This Agreement will be interpreted and governed by the laws of the State of [STATE] and the venue of any dispute over this Agreement will be in the County of [COUNTY] in the State of [STATE].

This term ensures that any lawsuit that might arise out of the Agreement will not result in a lawsuit in a distant location.

In the event of a dispute between the parties arising under this Agreement, the parties will make good faith efforts to discuss the dispute in person and attempt to reach resolution.

Lawsuits are expensive.  Its worth a conversation to avoid one.

25.    Severability of provisions

Should any portion of this Agreement be held to be illegal, invalid, or unenforceable under the laws of the State of [STATE] or any other court of competent jurisdiction, that provision will be considered ineffective only to the extent of that invalidity without invalidating the entire contract.

Laws change and you do not want your entire agreement undermined by a change in the law of which you were not aware.  This softens the blow of such a situation.

26.    No waiver

No waiver of any term or condition or breach of this Agreement will be binding on either party unless agreed to in writing by the waiving party.  The failure of either party to enforce the provisions of the Agreement will not affect the validity of either party’s right to enforce each and every provision at any and all times thereafter.

For example, if the Landlord excuses a late rent payment one month, that does not mean that Landlord is obligated to accept a late payment the next month.

27.    Entire agreement

This Agreement, including all attachments (if any), constitutes the entire agreement between the parties supersedes all previous negotiations, agreements and commitments whether written or oral with respect to this tenancy. Any modification of this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be signed by each party. There are no understandings, representations or warranties except as herein expressly set forth and no rights are granted except as expressly set forth herein.

This clause is important to clarify that conversations between you are not the agreement, this document is the agreement.  If something is missing, the parties need to talk about that and include it in the agreement, or it isn’t binding on them.

Executed by the Parties on the dates indicated below.



Landlord [LANDLORD]




Tenant [TENANT]

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