What Is A Lease?
In short, a lease is a contract. It is a contract between the person who will be renting the property, called the lessee, and the person who owns the property, the landlord. In this contract you agree to pay a specific amount of money, at specific periods during the contract, for continued use of the property. On a lease this payment period is usually monthly. Often, you are also agreeing to care for the property in specified ways. For example keeping it clean, maintaining the yard, or reporting when things need repair. As long as you honor the terms of the contract, ie. pay your rent on time and maintain the property, you will be allowed to use the property until your lease is ‘up’, meaning the contract ends.
As a renter, if you honor all the terms of your lease, often you will have the option of renew your lease. To ‘renew’ a lease can mean one of two things:
- You are extending the period of the current lease with the same terms, or
- You are signing a new lease for the same property with different terms. For example, your rent may go up or down based on the rental market at the time of the renewal, or the property may have new rules that you have to agree to.
The landlord determines which of these options are available to you. Depending on how happy you are with your options, you can choose to renew at the landlords terms, suggest new terms, or look for a new rental property.
If you do not honor the terms of your lease, the landlord has the right to evict you. Eviction is a process by where the landlord may legal, forcibly remove you and your belongings from the property.
If your landlord does not honor the terms of your lease, you have may have legal options that you can pursue against the landlord.
It is very important to actually read your lease and understand the terms you are agreeing to. You will be legally bound to abide by them.