Being a landlord in New York can be a profitable endeavor, and many people in New York choose to rent rather than buy property. It is important for landlords and tenants to be familiar with what should be included in a lease. A poorly drafted lease could lead to problems, including the potential for disputes and litigation, down the road.
First: Who are the parties to the lease?
A lease agreement must identify who the landlord and/or landlord’s agent is and it should name any tenants age 18 or older that will be occupying the premises. The landlord’s and tenant’s address should also be included in the lease.
Second: What is the property being leased?
If the property being leased has a name, this name should be included in the lease. The entire mailing address for the property being leased should also be included. This means the lease should include the property’s house number, the street name, the apartment number if applicable, the town/city the property is in, the state the property is in and the property’s zip code.
Third: How long will the property be leased for?
A lease should name how long the tenants can occupy the property, using exact dates. Vague terms such as “one year” may not be enough to be enforceable. Oftentimes, a yearly lease will automatically be converted to a monthly lease at the end of the year.
Fourth: How much will rent be and when should it be paid?
A lease needs to include provisions stating the amount of money the tenants must pay in rent each month, and when rent is owed. It is important to list both the full amount of rent over the entire term of the lease, and then break that amount down to arrive at the monthly rent owed.
Fifth: What will the tenant be responsible for?
Per landlord-tenant law, tenants are responsible for keeping the premises free from safety hazards. They cannot damage the premises and must follow housing codes. If the landlord wants the tenant to be responsible for any other duties regarding the premises, this should be included in the lease.
Ensure your lease is comprehensive before signing
It is important for both landlords and tenants to carefully review the lease before signing. Each party will want to know what they are responsible for and they will want to ensure they are agreeing to the same terms. Vague terms or misunderstandings could lead to allegations that the lease was breached, leading to litigation. Landlord-tenant attorneys in the Forest Hills area can provide legal advice on leases, which this post does not provide.