The Contents of a Lease

by : Don Conrad

No matter which way you decide to come up with your rental lease, you'll need some tools to help you get the best lease possible. Personally, I am fan of checklists, so it only makes good sense to use one to help you understand what you should have in the lease you eventually decide to use

The checklist below is probably very close to the same one a lawyer would use for reference if he or she were drafting a lease for a client. This checklist will be extremely consistent, wherever you live.

We will go through the checklist and I will give a brief explanation of each item as I list it. Keep in mind that not every item may not be necessary, but should be considered. A good lawyer can help you decide.

Parties-the people involved in the lease. Each person or entity is a party to a lease. You could have two parties or many parties to a lease.

Names-all parties or entities on the lease need to be named.

Address-of the parties if different than the leased address.

Other identification-as needed.

Subject of the lease

Address or legal description of the property; address of the property being rented.

Lessee's purpose-whether residential, commercial, farm use, etc.

Restrictions on use of property-limits on use and occupancy.

Duration of agreement or option for lease-length of contract including starting and ending dates.

Provisions to be included in subsequent lease

Parties-usually refers to names of minors/pets.

Subject term-fixed day when rent is due and when considered late.

Rental payments-amount of payment and security deposit.

Access to property-right to enter property for emergency, repairs, or timely condition review.

Designation of party responsible for repairs-who's responsible for what repairs and action taken if repairs not completed in a timely manner.

Identification of appurtenance--what goes with or is related to the rented premises (appliances, equipment, etc.)

Liability for utilities-who pays sewer, water, garbage, and so forth.

Liability for taxes and assessments-in some leases, the tenants are responsible for these items.

Renewal option provisions-conditions and time frame for lease renewal of premises.

Purchase option provisions-conditions and time frame for purchase of premises.

Transferability of lease agreement-whether you can sublease or not.

Date of execution-when the lease was signed by parties.

Signatures-signatures of parties.

This completes the checklist that you may use to structure your rental lease. It is very likely and actually quite common that you might include other provisions in your lease other than those listed.

For instance, many people write their rules and regulations into the lease itself. These regulations cover such things as noise, lockouts, pets, and parking. Other landlords simply hand out the rules as an afterthought, but might write out amendments to their standard lease as they feel it's needed.

Whatever you decide to include in your lease, make sure it can do its' job where necessary; in a court of law.

If you would like further information on leases, please visit the articles page on my website at:

I am not a lawyer, therefore, if you have any legal concerns with anything in this article, please contact the appropriate legal counsel.