A residential lease agreement is customarily signed by both the landlord and tenant when renting a house, apartment, or condominium. A lease establishes the rights and obligations of each party. For example, the lease defines the length of the rental period (such as one-year or month-to-month), the amount of rent and its due date, and when the landlord may withhold from the security deposit. Most states require the landlord to make disclosures in their lease agreements, using specific language. A landlord who uses a lease not compliant with state law may lose valuable rights if the tenant defaults, and it may subject the landlord to penalties.

Select your state below to preview a residential lease that is certified compliant with state law. Purchase the lease for immediate access to it in a professionally formatted and fully editable Microsoft Word and fillable Adobe PDF. Purchasers receive all supplementary forms or addenda required in your state and are entitled to lifetime updates.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I edit the terms of this lease agreement?
A: Yes. Our residential lease agreements are provided to you in standard Microsoft Word format and a form-fillable Adobe PDF format. If you wish to make any deletions or additions to the documents, we suggest that you work with the Word version. Using that version, you can make any edits that you wish to meet the needs of your rental transaction. Although you can easily modify our lease forms, it is imperative to exercise extreme caution when doing so, as you run the risk of undermining the legal effectiveness of the document if you inadvertently remove a material term or other language required under state or federal law.

Q: Can I re-use this lease agreement?
A: Yes. Because our documents are provided to you in standard, unlocked Microsoft Word format and Adobe PDF format, they are completely re-usable with no expiration. You may re-use and edit the forms an infinite number of times.

Q: Am I required to hire a lawyer to have a valid lease?
No state law in the U.S. requires a landlord to hire a lawyer to complete a lease agreement. While hiring a lawyer can help landlords avoid certain common mistakes and ensure that all rights are protected, no law exists that requires the hiring of a lawyer. The most critical factors are that the landlord and tenant use a valid lease agreement form that complies with current state and federal law, and that both parties understand their rights and obligations under the lease. The laws governing landlord and tenant relationships in the U.S. change frequently, so it is imperative that a reputable legal forms vendor is selected when choosing a lease agreement form. PublicLegal has been in continuous operation since 1996, and our staff pays meticulous attention to ensuring our legal products comply with all applicable laws.

Q: What are some of the most common issues overlooked by landlords when leasing a property or selecting a lease?
A: A rental agreement form must contain all statutorily required disclosures and provisions obligated under state and federal law. Some states require the text of these disclosures and provisions to appear in the document in a certain format, such as a specific font size, bolded or underscored letters, all capital letters, or other conspicuous manner of notation. Failure to make the statutory disclosures in the required format can substantially undermine or invalidate the landlord's right to recover from the tenant in the event of default or breach. A vast number of landlord-tenant legal forms products available online do not comply with state and federal law.

A well-drafted lease should address many issues, and among them is the proper use of the dwelling. For example, our leases contain provisions that prohibit the tenant from using the premises for any commercial purpose, such as operating a business. The provisions prohibit the tenant's using the property for any purpose other than as a private single-family home. Our leases further restrict who may reside on the premises, the obligations of the tenant to maintain the premises in reasonable condition and repair, and the circumstances under which the landlord may withhold any portion of the security deposit. A lease should clearly define what constitutes a default by the tenant and when the landlord has the right to terminate the lease.

Q: I see a disclosure document related to lead-based paint, but I am not sure I need it. Am I required to have my tenant sign this form?
A: When renting any residential property in the U.S. constructed before 1978, the landlord is required under federal law to provide the tenant with specific disclosures regarding the hazards of lead-based paint. The addition of lead to paint products was common before 1978 for aesthetic reasons until the U.S. federal government passed a law outlawing such products due to serious health concerns. The purchased versions of our lease agreements include the required lead-based paint disclosure form and an addendum that the tenant should sign to evidence the fact that the landlord has complied with this disclosure requirement. Failure to make a proper disclosure may result in civil fines on the landlord, civil liability for any related health problems proven by the tenant, and invalidation of the landlord's rights to recover from the tenant in the event of the tenant's breach.