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What Is A Residential Lease Agreement?

The most common form of real property lease is a residential lease agreement between a landlord and tenant. The landlord tenant relationship is referred to as a tenancy while the right to possession of the premises by the tenant is called a leasehold interest. A lease agreement form is a contract specifying the lease terms and conditions of occupancy.

A lease agreement can provide:

   1. Specific provisions regarding the responsibilities and rights of the landlord and tenant,

  2. Rely on the automatic provisions incorporated in state and local law or

  3. Utilize a combination of both specific provisions and law.

In any event, a lease agreement cannot be contrary to the law even if all parties agree, unless the law specifically states that parties to a lease agreement have the option to negotioate the issue.

In general, by paying the agreed upon fee in the lease agreement to the landlord, the tenant has possession and use of the leased property to the exclusion of the landlord and all others. The lease also provides the tenant the right to invite others to the premises. A lease agreement can be for a fixed period of time referred to as the lease term or automatically renewing such as the case with a month-to-month rental agreement. The term of a lease agreement is usually one year, while the term of a rental agreement is month-to-month or less.

Normally, owners of real property are at liberty to utilize their property for any lawful activity they choose including handing over possession of the property to a third party, i.e., tenant for a limited time. If an owner surrenders possession of the property to another person, the owner then becomes a landlord and the person taking possession becomes a tenant and any interference with the quiet enjoyment of the property by the tenant in lawful possession is itself unlawful.