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What Is A Residential Rental Agreement?

The most common form of real property rental is a residential rental 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 rental agreement form is a contract specifying the rental terms and conditions of occupancy.

A rental 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 rental agreement cannot be contrary to the law even if all parties agree, unless the law specifically states that parties to a rental agreement have the option to negotiate the issue.

In general, by paying the agreed upon fee in the rental agreement to the landlord, the tenant has possession and use of the rented property to the exclusion of the landlord and all others. The rental agreement also provides the tenant the right to invite others to the premises. A rental agreement is usually automatically renewing at the end of each term, i.e., a month-to-month rental agreement automatically renews every month while a weekly rental agreement renews each week. The term of a rental agreement is month-to-month or less while the term of a lease agreement is usually one year.

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.