Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Rental Agreement Form

June 5, 2012

Lizzie asks…

They had us sign an “offer to buy” form with buyer & seller crossed out, replaced with landlord & tenant. Why?

We rented a condo. Why would they not use a standard rental agreement form? I am assuming they do not want us to be month-to-month once the initial year lease runs out, which is standard for renting an apartment. It was clear we were renting and not buying, and when I questioned the form I did not get much of an answer.

Also, according to the landlord-tenant act we can still stay month-to-month despite what the form says. I am assuming that condo landlords strongly do not prefer this, any insights? Thanks!

Administrator answers:

I live in the US, but it seems like you are asking if the landlord tenant act will supercede the “lease” you have signed. And that’s a good question, given that it would mean your “contract” is not legal in the first place. It sounds like they were trying to make it a ‘rent to buy.’

It also sounds like the LLs are trying to make sure they have a tenant ‘forever’ and not on a month-by-month basis. I don’t know who can clarify all this, but there must be a real estate board or mediation group that you can call.

Robert asks…

is there any way to get out of a rental lease agreement due to loss of job and financial trouble?

My dad is 75 and recently lost his job as a barber. He’s currently seeking other employment, but will not be able to earn the same income as when he was a barber. Naturally he just signed his new one year lease agreement right before he lost his job. He’s asked the apartment complex if they can rent him a cheaper apartment in the complex, but they’ve declined his offer and said he must fulfill his lease agreement before switching apartments. Are there any organizations (like Consumer Credit Couseling or similar) that could possibly persuade them to reconsider? I haven’t seen the lease agreement, but I’m betting there’s a clause with a high price to get out of the agreement; however, could the combination of these things be grounds to get him out of the lease? (1) His age is 75, (2) finding a job at that age is difficult (to say the least), & (3) his only form of monthly income is his Social Security check.

Administrator answers:

If he signed the lease, in almost all cases he is on the hook for the entire duration of the lease. An exception might be if the lease was invalid or illegal for some reason (violation of a state or local law). He might consider:
- Offer to buy out the lease from the landlord.
- Sublet the appartment to someone else. This usually requires cooperation with the landlord.
- Moving out. He is still on the hook but the landlord will probably try to rerent. This will screw up your Dad’s credit score.
- Get a roommate to help pay the rent.
- Have him find two or three jobs that combine to pay enough for him to pay his bills.

Good Luck to ya!

Thomas asks…

We have a verbal agreement for month-to-month rental duplex; is there an official form for a written contract?

The landlord said we could stay until the apartments – which are going condo – are bought out. This doesn’t seem that likely (soft market and too high an asking price). But my wife and I want to be protected.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Administrator answers:

There are several rental contract forms that you may purchase from Staples, Office Depot or any other stationary store.

It is better to have a contract than verbal agreement in some cases.

Another method is that with every ones knowledge you may make a recording of a contract on tape.

I hope this has been of some use to you, good luck.

“FIGHT ON”

Donald asks…

Rental Agreement – Removing/Editing a Tenant’s Name?

After college my friend and I found a lovely 3 BR apartment with cheap rent if split 3 ways, so we signed a rental agreement and set to look for a 3rd roommate. On the original lease our names are listed together under RESIDENT, so in a sense, we are the same person. We paid the rent and security deposit (split half and half) to our land lady. The following month, we found another roommate. Our land lady allowed us to add her to the lease using a form called Addendum to Rental Agreement For Additional Tenant which basically just added her name under RESIDENT, and that person paid us back personally a 3rd of the security deposit, without involving the land lady who did not ask for it – since we had already paid it. And so now all 3 of our names are on the lease as RESIDENT, as if we were the same person.

Now, the way our contract worked, the original rental agreement states that we would have the place for a year as a leasehold after which it would become month to month tenancy. And so a year went and passed, and we received notice that we were now on a month to month tenancy, and all was well, and since that original lease, we have never had to re-sign a lease or any other piece of paper for that matter.

Now, the time has come, and one of our roommates wishes to move out and on to other things, and then the problem arose. Our land lady is fine with her leaving, and happy to accept applications from us for another roommate, except she says she cannot remove our old roommate’s name from the original lease, and she consulted her lawyer, who said the same. So basically, when we get a new person, there would be 4 names on the lease…and when the next person moves out, 5, and so on and so on until the last person moves out, which could be years. Obviously, us who are staying and our roommate who is moving out are not happy with this…she wants no part after she leaves if something were to happen. Certainly, we can have a new tenant pay her portion of the security deposit back to her without involving the land lady, but isn’t there a simple addendum form to remove a tenant from a lease, or to edit the tenants on a lease? Can’t a substitution of name’s be made? Our land lady graciously says she is willing to help with anything, but is cautious, clueless, and doesn’t want to do something legally wrong, and has never done this before. I guess she doesn’t have to, it’s just a favor to us, but if she’s willing to help and there is an easy solution…

I’m sure this is an issue when a married couple who share an apartment get a divorce and one of them leaves. Any help would be appreciated!

Administrator answers:

It doesn’t sound right to me. I work for a very large management company and we release roommates and add them all the time. This depends on 2 things however.

Can the remaining tenants qualify financially for the apt without the other roommate?

And do they have good rental history without complaints.

If the answer is yes, we do an addendum to the lease that all parties sign, releasing one tenant and keeping the other tenants on the same lease. It also states in there that the departing tenant has no claim to the remaining security deposit (as all security deposits remain with the apt until it has been completely vacated) and that the departing roommate has no claim to the unit or anything inside once leaving.

I think it is silly she won’t explore that option for you guys. For one if the other roommate leaves and still has there name on the lease they are still responsible for anything that could go wrong when they aren’t even living there.

I’d be willing to bet no legal council was sought on this matter, she just doesn’t know what to do so she told you no. But then again i am not an expert on the laws in all states so I could be wrong. Google landlord/tenant laws for your state and you will find your answer there.

Good luck!

Linda asks…

Is my lease agreement legally valid?

I’m renting an apartment in california right now. My landlord doesn’t use those typical “formal” rental agreement that you would normally expect. Instead he makes a least agreement by himself on Microsoft Words or something. It is very short and concise and cover the essentials, but definitely not as detailed as those that people normally use?
I’m wondering is my landlord’s DIY rental agreement still a valid legal form? Is there some kind of “state-approved” least contract that must be used in order for it to be legally valid ?

Administrator answers:

Your lease is quite valid, as long as it contains no clauses which might be in violation of either federal or state laws. If such clause(s) are included, only those clauses would be invalid, but the remainder of the lease would remain valid.

Leases are not required to be in any sort of state approved format. In fact, MOST are written to cover the individual requirements of the landlord involved.

Contrary to other response, one need NOT be an attorney to draw up a legal contract. ANY written agreement signed by the two parties thereto is a legal contract, and can be enforced in a court of law, as long as none of the terms of the contract are in contradiction with existing law.

Chris asks…

Tenant/Landlord Rental Form PLEASE HELP!!?

My friend owns an apartment and he going to be putting a down payment on a house. So i asked him if me and my gf could rent out his apartment and since he owns it he would be the landlord.

But we need some kind of form or to sign an agreement like how much we pay and what are the duties for landlord/tenant. Stuff like that you know.

Where could i find these forms or could i print some of the internet. Anyone have any links or good websites?

Btw we live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Administrator answers:

Do not become a landlord without reading the law on this or you could be in court a lot and
lose a lot of money.

For renting a unit yourself, a verbal agreement is fine.

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