Whether you’re leasing an apartment yearly or simply renting out a unit each month, you need to use a rental lease agreement to specify what’s expected of you (the landlord) as well as your tenant(s).
Table of Contents
- What is a Lease Agreement?
- Who Needs a Lease Agreement?
- Leasing a Property Step by Step
- Common Disclosures and Addendums
- Landlord-Tenant Laws by State
- Glossary of Lease and Rental Terms
Lease Agreements by Type
Standard Lease Agreement – Rent a house, apartment, room, condo, or any other residential property.
Commercial Lease Agreement – Rent out any office building, retail space, restaurant, industrial facility, or other commercial property.
Land Lease Agreement – Lease vacant land to be used for livestock grazing, hunting, fishing, or any number of other purposes.
Month-to-Month Rental Agreement – Rent property on a per month basis.
Lease Purchase Agreement – Agree to rent with the option to purchase (or rent-to-own) the property before the lease ends.
Roommate Agreement – Outline the responsibilities of two or more people who live together.
Short Term Rental Agreement – Lease property for a short period of time or simply for vacation.
Sublease Agreement – Contract another tenant to rent a currently leased property.
You can further support your original lease agreement by modifying the terms with a lease amendment. Additionally, you can end an existing lease with a lease termination letter, or extend a rental for another term with a lease renewal.
Residential Lease/Rental Agreement Forms by State
What is a Lease Agreement?
A lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant that establishes the duration and cost of a rental. The written agreement also describes the responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant, as well as the repercussions for breaking their agreement.
People also refer to a lease agreement as a:
- Rental Agreement
- Rental Contract
- Lease Form
- Rental Lease Agreement
- Apartment Lease
- Tenancy Agreement
- House Rental Agreement
What is the Difference Between a Lease and Rental Agreement?
The main difference between lease vs rent is:
- A lease agreement is the written contract between a landlord and a tenant outlining the long-term duration in which a piece of property will be rented.
- A rental agreement is a short-term contract required to use or live in the landlord’s property — typically on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis.
Who Needs a Lease Agreement?
Anyone that rents out property or agrees to pay money to live in a rental property needs a lease agreement.
All adult tenants must be given a copy of the lease agreement upon signing. Landlords and property managers should also keep a copy on file to legally protect themselves in the event of a dispute.
If you choose not to use a lease agreement form, the consequences can be severe:
- Loss of rent money
- Liable for illegal activity on your property
- Penalties for unpaid utility costs
- Out-of-pocket property damage repairs
- Expensive lawyer fees
You can also use a rental agreement to outline remedies to problems that might occur during a tenant’s stay in your apartment or house. Be sure you use one every time you rent your property to someone else.
How to Make a Lease Agreement
To make a lease agreement on your own, you’ll need include the following information and clauses:
- Parties: write the names and addresses of the landlord and tenant(s)
- Premises: describe the address of the property and type of unit being rented
- Term: define the length of time the tenant has the right to live in the rental unit
- Rent: set the amount of money the tenant owes the landlord
- Security Deposit: assign an amount of money to be held by the landlord to pay for potential damages to the property
- Signature: Print, sign, and save electronic and hard copies of the lease agreement
Alternatively, our builder will let you simply fill in the blanks, then help you:
- Generate a PDF of your lease agreement that you can print or email to your tenant(s) for review.
- Digitally sign your name and allow tenant(s) to also sign electronically. E-signatures are legally recognized in most states.
- Save and store a digital copy of your signed lease agreement.
Writing a Lease
Let’s further explore each detail of writing a simple lease agreement:
1. Name the parties
A simple rental agreement form needs to name the parties signing the lease and where they live. First, you should write down:
- the landlord or property management company and their current address
- the tenant or tenants and their current address
2. Describe the premises
The “premises” are simply the exact address and type of property being rented, such as an apartment, house, or condominium.
3. Define the term of the lease
The “term” is the length of time a tenant will rent the listed property. A standard lease agreement should detail exactly when the lease term begins and ends.
Furthermore, a lease can either be fixed-term or month-to-month.
- A fixed-term rental lease means the agreement is set for a predetermined, or fixed, period of time. This type of lease expires on the end date listed in the agreement (usually up to 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years from the start date).
- A month-to-month rental lease means the agreement is for a one month period with no defined end date. It continues on a per month basis until either the landlord or tenant terminates the agreement.
4. Set how much rent is owed
A lease agreement must explicitly list the monthly rental amount, and outline what the consequences are if the rent is late.
It’s up to the landlord to decide how much to charge for rent, but the cost is usually comparable to other properties within the same area.
In addition, standard rent control laws may limit the amount that you’re able to charge for rent. Check your local rent control ordinance to ensure that your lease agreement is compliant with those regulations.
5. Assign a security deposit amount
A security deposit is a set amount of money usually collected at the beginning of the lease. Landlords have the right to collect a security deposit from their tenants, but what that money can be used for is strictly determined by the specific laws of your state.
6. Finalize the lease
Once you finish discussing the details with your tenant, remember to:
- Print – print at least two copies of the rental lease for you and the other party
- Sign – sign and date the lease agreement form (both the tenant(s) and landlord)
- Save – file a hard copy of the signed document in a safe place and consider scanning an electronic copy for extra safekeeping.
Completed Rental Agreement Template
Curious what a completed lease agreement looks like? Click the PDF button below to check out a filled-in rental lease sample.
|State of __________||Rev. 133C5EE|
This Lease Agreement (this “Agreement”) is made as of this __________, by and between __________ (“Landlord”) and __________ (“Tenant”). Each Landlord and Tenant may be referred to individually as a “Party” and collectively as the “Parties.”
- Premises. The premises leased is __________ located at __________, __________, __________ __________ (the “Premises”).
- Agreement to Lease. Landlord agrees to lease to Tenant and Tenant agrees to lease from Landlord, according to the terms and conditions set forth herein, the Premises.
- Term. This Agreement will be for a term beginning on __________ and ending on __________ (the “Term”).
- Rent. Tenant will pay Landlord a monthly rent of __________ for the Term. Rent will be payable in advance and due on the __________ day of each month during the Term. The first rent payment is payable to Landlord when Tenant signs this Agreement. Rent for any period during the Term which is for less than one month will be a pro rata portion of the monthly installment. Rent will be paid to Landlord at Landlord’s address provided herein (or to such other places as directed by Landlord) by mail or in person by one of the following methods: and will be payable in U.S. Dollars.
- Guaranty. __________ located at __________, __________, __________ __________ (“Guarantor”) promises to unconditionally guarantee to Landlord, the full payment and performance by Tenant of all financial duties and obligations arising out of this Agreement. Guarantor agrees to joint and several liability with Tenant for Tenant’s financial duties and obligations under this Agreement including rent, damages, fees and costs. Guarantor further agrees that this guaranty shall remain in full force and effect and be binding on Guarantor until this Agreement is terminated.
- Late Fee. Rent paid after the __________ day of each month will be deemed as late; and if rent is not paid within __________ days after such due date, Tenant agrees to pay a late charge of __________.
- Additional Rent. There may be instances under this Agreement where Tenant may be required to pay additional charges to Landlord. All such charges are considered additional rent under this Agreement and will be paid with the next regularly scheduled rent payment. Landlord has the same rights and Tenant has the same obligations with respect to additional rent as they do with rent.
- Utilities. Tenant is responsible for payment of all utility and other services for the Premises.
- Security Deposit. Upon signing this Agreement, Tenant will pay a security deposit in the amount of __________ to Landlord. The security deposit will be retained by Landlord as security for Tenant’s performance of its obligations under this Agreement. The security deposit may not be used or deducted by Tenant as the last month’s rent of the Term.Tenant will be entitled to a full refund of the security deposit if Tenant returns possession of the Premises to Landlord in the same condition as accepted, ordinary wear and tear excepted. Within __________ days after the termination of this Agreement, Landlord will return the security deposit to Tenant (minus any amount applied by Landlord in accordance with this section). Any reason for retaining a portion of the security deposit will be explained in writing. The security deposit will not bear interest while held by Landlord in accordance with applicable state laws and/or local ordinances.
- Landlord’s Failure to Give Possession. In the event Landlord is unable to give possession of the Premises to Tenant on the start date of the Term, Landlord will not be subject to any liability for such failure, the validity of this Agreement will not be affected, and the Term will not be extended. Tenant will not be liable for rent until Landlord gives possession of the Premises to Tenant.
- Holdover Tenancy. Unless this Agreement has been extended by mutual written agreement of the Parties, there will be no holding over past the Term under the terms of this Agreement under any circumstances. If it becomes necessary to commence legal action to remove Tenant from the Premises, the prevailing Party will be entitled to attorney’s fees and costs in addition to damages.
- Use of Premises. The Premises will be occupied only by Tenant and Tenant’s immediate family and used only for residential purposes. Tenant will not engage in any objectionable conduct, including behavior which will make the Premises less fit to live in, will cause dangerous, hazardous or unsanitary conditions or will interfere with the rights of others to enjoy their property. Tenant will be liable for any damage occurring to the Premises and any damage to or loss of the contents thereof which is done by Tenant or Tenant’s guests or invitees.
- Condition of the Premises. Tenant has examined the Premises, including the appliances, fixtures and furnishings, and acknowledges that they are in good condition and repair, normal wear and tear excepted and accepts them in its current condition.
- Maintenance and Repairs. Tenant will maintain the Premises, including the grounds and all appliances, fixtures and furnishings, in clean, sanitary and good condition and repair. Tenant will not remove Landlord’s appliances, fixtures, or furnishings from the Premises for any purpose. If repairs other than general maintenance are required, Tenant will notify Landlord for such repairs. In the event of default by Tenant, Tenant will reimburse Landlord for the cost of any repairs or replacement.
- Reasonable Accommodations. Landlord agrees to comply with all applicable laws providing equal housing opportunities, including making reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental limitations of qualified individuals with a disability, unless undue hardship would result. Tenant is responsible for making Landlord aware of any such required accommodations that are reasonable and will not impose an undue hardship. If Tenant discloses a disability and requests an accommodation, Landlord has the right to have a qualified healthcare provider verify the disability if the disability is not readily apparent, and Landlord has the right to use the qualified healthcare provider verifying the disability as a resource for providing the reasonable accommodation.
- Sex Offender Registry. Pursuant to law, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public. Tenant understands and agrees that Tenant is solely responsible for obtaining any and all information contained in the state or national sex offender registry for the area surrounding the Premises, which can be obtained online or from the local sheriff’s department or other appropriate law enforcement officials. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and zip code in which he or she resides.
- Compliance. Tenant agrees to comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, requirements and regulations of any federal, state, county, municipal or other authority.
- Mechanics’ Lien. Tenant understands and agrees that Tenant and anyone acting on Tenant’s behalf do not have the right to file for mechanic’s liens or any other kind of liens on the Premises. Tenant agrees to give actual advance notice to any contractors, subcontractors or suppliers of goods, labor or services that such liens are invalid. Tenant further agrees to take the additional steps necessary to keep the Premises free of any and all liens that may result from construction completed by or for Tenant.
- Subordination. With respect to the Premises, this Agreement is subordinate to any mortgage that now exists, or may be given later by Landlord.
- Alterations. Tenant will not make any alteration, addition or improvement to the Premises without first obtaining Landlord’s written consent. Any and all alterations, additions or improvements to the Premises are without payment to Tenant and will become Landlord’s property immediately on completion and remain on the Premises, unless Landlord requests or permits removal, in which case Tenant will return that part of the Premises to the same condition as existed prior to the alteration, addition or improvement. Tenant will not change any existing locks or install any additional locks on the Premises without first obtaining Landlord’s written consent and without providing Landlord a copy of all keys.
- Smoking. Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on any part of the Premises. This prohibition applies to Tenant and any visitor, guest or other occupant on the Premises.
- Pets. Tenant is not allowed to have or keep any pets, even temporarily, on any part of the Premises. The unauthorized presence of any pet will subject Tenant to penalties, damages, deductions and/or termination of this Agreement. Properly trained service animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities may be permitted on the Premises with the prior written consent of Landlord, which shall not be unreasonably withheld. Tenant will be responsible for the costs of de-fleaing, deodorizing and/or shampooing all or any portion of the Premises if a pet has been on the Premises at any time during the Term (whether with or without written consent of Landlord).
- Fire and Casualty. If the Premises are damaged by fire or other serious disaster or accident and the Premises becomes uninhabitable as a result, Tenant may immediately vacate the Premises and terminate this Agreement upon notice to Landlord. Tenant will be responsible for any unpaid rent or will receive any prepaid rent up to the day of such fire, disaster or accident. If the Premises are only partially damaged and inhabitable, Landlord may make full repairs and will do so within a prompt and reasonable amount of time. At the discretion of Landlord, the rent may be reduced while the repairs are being made.
- Liability. Landlord is not responsible or liable for any loss, claim, damage or expense as a result of any accident, injury or damage to any person or property occurring anywhere on the Premises, unless resulting from the negligence or willful misconduct of Landlord.
- Renter’s Insurance. Tenant is required to obtain, and maintain at all times during the Term, a renter’s insurance policy with a minimum of $100,000.00 personal liability coverage. Tenant will name Landlord as an interested party or additional insured. Tenant will provide Landlord with a certificate or proof of insurance upon request.
- Assignment and Subletting. Tenant will not assign this Agreement as to any portion or all of the Premises or make or permit any total or partial sublease or other transfer of any portion or all of the Premises.
- Insurance Requirements. Tenant will not do or permit to be done any act or thing that will increase the insurance risk under any policy of insurance covering the Premises. If the premium for such policy of insurance increases due to a breach of Tenant’s obligations under this Agreement, Tenant will pay the additional amount of premium as additional rent under this Agreement.
- Right of Entry. Landlord or its agents may enter the Premises at reasonable times to inspect the Premises, to make any alternations, improvements or repairs or to show the Premises to a prospective tenant, buyer or lender. In the event of an emergency, Landlord may enter the Premises at any time.
- Surrender. Tenant will deliver and surrender to Landlord possession of the Premises immediately upon the expiration of the Term or the termination of this Agreement, clean and in as good condition and repair as the Premises was at the commencement of the Term, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
- Default. In the event of any default under this Agreement, Landlord may provide Tenant a notice of default and an opportunity to correct such default. If Tenant fails to correct the default, other than a failure to pay rent or additional rent, Landlord may terminate this Agreement by giving a __________ day written notice. If the default is Tenant’s failure to timely pay rent or additional rent as specified in this Agreement, Landlord may terminate this Agreement by giving a __________ day written notice to Tenant. After termination of this Agreement, Tenant remains liable for any rent, additional late, costs, including costs to remedy any defaults, and damages under this Agreement.
- Remedies. If this Agreement is terminated due to Tenant’s default, Landlord may, in addition to any rights and remedies available under this Agreement and applicable law, use any dispossession, eviction or other similar legal proceeding available in law or equity.
- Subordination. This Agreement and Tenant’s right under it shall be subject and subordinate to the lien, operation and effect of each existing or future mortgage, deed of trust, ground lease and/or any other similar instrument of encumbrance covering any or all of the Premises, if any, and each renewal, modification, consolidation, replacement or extension thereof.
- Condemnation. If all or substantially all of the Premises are covered by a condemnation including the exercise of any power of eminent domain by a governmental authority, this Agreement shall terminate on the date possession of the Premises is taken by the condemning authority, and all rent under this Agreement shall be prorated and paid to such date. Landlord is entitled to collect from the condemning authority the entire amount of any award made in any proceeding. Tenant waives any right, title or interest which Tenant may have to any such award and agrees to not make any claim for the Term of this Agreement.
- Hazardous Materials. Tenant shall not keep on the Premises any item of a dangerous, flammable, or explosive character that might unreasonably increase the danger of fire or explosion on the Premises or that might be considered hazardous or extra hazardous by any responsible insurance company.
- Notices. All notices given under this Agreement must be in writing. A notice is effective upon receipt and shall be delivered in person, sent via certified or registered mail to the following addresses (or to another address that either Party may designate upon reasonable notice to the other Party):
__________, __________ __________
Notices shall be sent to the Tenant at the following address:
__________, __________ __________
- Quiet Enjoyment. If Tenant pays the rent and performs all other obligations under this Agreement, Tenant may peaceably and quietly hold and enjoy the Premises during the Term.
- No Waiver. No Party shall be deemed to have waived any provision of this Agreement or the exercise of any rights held under this Agreement unless such waiver is made expressly and in writing.
- Severability. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in whole or in part, the remaining provisions shall not be affected and shall continue to be valid, legal and enforceable as though the invalid, illegal or unenforceable part had not been included in this Agreement.
- Successors and Assigns. This Agreement will inure to the benefit of and be binding upon the Parties and their permitted successors and assigns.
- Governing Law. The terms of this Agreement and the rights and obligations of the Parties hereto shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of __________, without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions.
- Disputes. Any dispute arising from this Agreement shall be resolved through mediation. If the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, then the dispute will be resolved through binding arbitration conducted in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association.
- Amendments. This Agreement may be amended or modified only by a written agreement signed by the Parties.
- Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed to be an original, and all of which together shall constitute one and the same document.
- Headings. The section headings herein are for reference purposes only and shall not otherwise affect the meaning, construction or interpretation of any provision in this Agreement.
- Entire Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties and supersedes and cancels all prior agreements of the Parties, whether written or oral, with respect to the subject matter.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties hereto, individually or by their duly authorized representatives, have executed this Agreement as of the Effective Date.
|Landlord Signature||Landlord Full Name|
|Tenant Signature||Tenant Full Name|
|Guarantor Signature||Guarantor Full Name|
Leasing a Property Step by Step
1. Show your rental unit
When renting a house or an apartment, the first step is to allow people interested in moving in to view the property.
Taking time to host potential tenants can be inconvenient for landlords with multiple properties. Allowing a third-party to show the rental unit when you’re unavailable is one of the many reasons landlords should hire a property management company.
2. Fill out a rental application
The next step in the leasing process is to have your prospective tenants fill out a rental application. This form documents important information from the tenant, such as their:
- Current address
- Place of employment
- Income level
- Rental references
Typically, landlords require a small, nonrefundable fee from the tenant in order to process the application.
3. Run a background and credit check
After reviewing the tenant’s application, you can help protect your real estate from scams by running a background and/or credit check on the individual. The cost of these reports is often paid for by the rental applicant themselves.
- A background check will determine if the applicant has a prior criminal history.
- A credit check confirms whether the applicant has good or bad credit. Bad credit may be a sign of poor financial planning, which could result in missed rent payments.
Running these checks will help you avoid dealing with bad tenants.
However, be careful basing your decision to rent the property solely on the results of these reports. Many states have strict guidelines on tenant discrimination. Refusing tenancy because of minor criminal offenses or bad credit may be justifiably considered a violation of federal anti-discrimination law.
4. Check the tenant’s references
When filling out the rental application, the tenant will likely need to list the contact information of a few references. Rental references are usually current or previous landlords.
You should contact each reference listed on the rental application, and ask them a few questions about the applicant.
An example of common reference check questions would be:
- Did the applicant pay their rent and utilities on time?
- Were there any noise complaints at the tenant’s previous apartment?
- Have the police ever been called to the tenant’s last rental unit?
- Would you consider renting to this person again?
Once you’re satisfied with the references’ answers, it’s time to move on to the next step.
5. Create a lease agreement
You’ve chosen the ideal tenant to rent your property, and now it’s time to make a lease. Both the landlord and tenant should discuss the details of the rental lease agreement.
- The specific move-in date
- The monthly rent payment amount
- When the rent is due each month
- What will be done about late rent payments
- Who should pay or manage the utilities
- The penalties, if any, of breaking a lease
After you’ve created the lease and gone over everything with your new tenant, sign the rental agreement. You may need to calculate prorated rent depending on when the tenant moves in.
6. Hand over the keys
Once the lease agreement is completed, it’s time to hand the tenant the keys to their new apartment. One final walkthrough of the unit should be done alongside the tenant.
Bring a rental inspection checklist with you, and document the condition of the property before the tenant moves in.
What are Landlords Responsible For?
In general, a landlord is responsible for:
- Repairing and maintaining the normal wear and tear of appliances like the air conditioner or heater.
- Respecting the tenant’s privacy and not making any surprise visits or allowing others to use the rental property.
- Providing a safe and clean home to the tenant for the term of the lease. Examples include getting rid of mold, resolving water damage, or fixing ventilation problems.
- Returning the tenant’s security deposit if the tenant treats the property with respect, and it’s in good condition at the end of the lease term.
- Giving the tenant advance notice when you need to enter the premises to fix something or show someone the property.
Note that landlords may have more specific responsibilities according to state and local laws.
- State Laws on Landlord’s Access to Rental Property
- Security Deposit Laws for all States
- Eviction Laws for all States
Common Disclosures and Addendums
- Asbestos Disclosure
- Bed Bug Addendum
- Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector Addendum
- Death in Rental Unit Disclosure
- Disclosure of Lead-Based Hazards
- Flood Hazard Area Disclosure
- Foreclosure Notice
- Illegal Substance Contamination Disclosure
- Mold Disclosure
- Notice of Abandoned Personal Property
- Pet Addendum
- Shared Utilities Disclosure
- Smoking Lease Addendum
Landlord-Tenant Laws by State
The law recognizes that both a landlord and tenant have a special set of rights and obligations.
Use the following table as a quick resource to find your specific state landlord-tenant laws for leasing and rentals:
State Laws on Landlord’s Access to Rental Property
Nearly every state requires landlords to give advance notice to their tenants before accessing their rental property.
|State||Advance Notice Requirement||Law|
|Alabama||2 days||§ 35-9A-303|
|Alaska||1 day||§ 34.03.140|
|Arizona||2 days||§ 33-1343|
|California||– 1 day
– 2 days for move-out rental inspection
|Civil Code 1954|
|Connecticut||Reasonable written or verbal notice||§ 47a-16|
|Delaware||2 days||Title 25, Chapter 55 §5509|
|Florida||12 hours||§ 83.53|
|Hawaii||2 days||§ 521-53|
|Indiana||Reasonable written or verbal notice||§ 32-31-5-6|
|Iowa||1 day||§ 562A.19|
|Kansas||Reasonable written or verbal notice||§ 58-2557|
|Kentucky||2 days||§ 383.615|
|Maine||1 day||Chapter 710, Title 14 § 6025|
|Massachusetts||Reasonable written or verbal notice||Chapter 186, Section 15B|
|Minnesota||Reasonable written or verbal notice||§ 504B.211|
|Montana||1 day||§ 70-24-312|
|Nebraska||1 day||§ 76-1423|
|Nevada||1 day||§ 118A.330|
|New Hampshire||Reasonable written or verbal notice||§ 540-A:3|
|New Jersey||1 day||N.J.A.C 5:10-1.1|
|New Mexico||1 day||§ 47-8-24|
|New York||Not required||N/A|
|North Carolina||Not required||N/A|
|North Dakota||Reasonable written or verbal notice||§ 47-16-07.03|
|Ohio||1 day||§ 5321.04|
|Oklahoma||1 day||Title 41 § 41-128|
|Oregon||1 day||ORS 90.322|
|Rhode Island||2 days||§ 34-18-26|
|South Carolina||1 day||§ 27-40-530|
|South Dakota||1 day||§ 43-32-32|
|Tennessee||1 day||§ 66-28-403|
|Utah||1 day||Title 57 Chapter 22|
|Vermont||2 days||9 V.S.A. § 4460|
|Washington||– 2 days with written or verbal notice
– 1 day for the intent to show the unit
|West Virginia||Not required||N/A|
|Wisconsin||“…advance notice and at reasonable times”||§ 705.05|
Security Deposit Laws
Each state regulates the maximum amount a landlord can collect from a tenant as a security deposit.
Furthermore, some states require landlords to return security deposits to their tenants within a certain amount of time (potentially with interest).
Usually, the landlord can deduct the following amounts from the security deposit:
- Unpaid rent
- Cleaning costs
- Key replacement costs
- Cost to repair damages to the premises above ordinary wear and tear
- Cost to repair damages to common areas above ordinary wear and tear
- Any other amount legally allowable under the lease
As a reference, below is a list of state security deposit refund laws and regulations:
|State||Maximum Deposit Limit||Held in Separate Account||Refund||Law|
|AL||1 month’s rent||Not required||35 days to return deposit||§ 35-9A-201|
|AK||2 months’ rent, unless monthly rent is greater than $2000||Escrow account required||– 14 days to return deposit
– 30 days to return deposit if tenant doesn’t provide proper notice
|AZ||1½ months’ rent, unless tenant volunteers to pay more||Not required||14 days to return deposit||§ 33-1321|
|AR||2 months’ rent unless landlord owns fewer than 6 rental units||Not required||60 days to return deposit||§ 18-16-304, 18-16-305|
|CA||2 months rent (if unfurnished) or 3 months’ rent (if furnished)||Not required||21 days to return deposit||Civil Code 1950.5|
|CO||No regulation||Not required||– 30 days to return deposit unless otherwise stated in the lease
– 60 days maximum if not stated in the lease
|§ 38-12-103, 38-12-104|
|CT||– 2 months’ rent if tenant is under 62 years old
– 1 month’s rent if tenant is over 62 years old
|Interest-bearing account required||30 days to return deposit||§ 47a-21 to 47a-22a|
|DE||1 month’s rent for 1-year lease agreements (if unfurnished)||Escrow account required||30 days to return deposit||Title 25, Chapter 53|
|FL||No regulation||Interest-bearing or non interest-bearing escrow account required (landlord’s choice)||– 15 days to return deposit
– 30 days if any amount is retained
|GA||No regulation||Escrow account required except if landlord owns fewer than 11 rental units (unless managed by a third party)||30 days to return deposit||§ 44-7-31 to 44-7-37|
|HI||1 month’s rent||Not required||14 days to return deposit||§ 521-44|
|ID||No regulation||Not required||– 21 days to return deposit unless otherwise stated in the lease
– 30 days maximum if not stated in the lease
|IL||No regulation||Not required||45 days to return deposit||765 ILCS 705/|
|IN||No regulation||Not required||– 21 days to return deposit unless otherwise stated in the lease
– 30 days maximum if not stated in the lease
|IA||2 months’ rent||Federally-insured account required||30 days to return deposit||§ 562A.12|
|KS||1 month’s rent (if unfurnished) or 1½ months’ rent (if furnished)||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 58-2550|
|KY||No regulation||Escrow account required||30 days to return deposit||§ 383.580|
|LA||No regulation||Not required||30 days to return deposit||RS 9:3251|
|ME||2 months’ rent||Not required||30 days to return deposit||Chapter 710-A|
|MD||2 months’ rent||Escrow account required||45 days to return deposit||§ 8-203|
|MA||1 month’s rent||Interest-bearing escrow account required||30 days to return deposit||Chapter 186, Section 15B|
|MI||1½ months’ rent||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 554.602 to 554.615|
|MN||No regulation||Not required||21 days to return deposit||§ 504B.178|
|MS||No regulation||Not required||45 days to return deposit||§ 89-8-21|
|MO||2 months’ rent||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 535.300|
|MT||No regulation||Not required||– 10 days to return deposit
– 30 days if any amount is retained
|§ 70-25-201 to 70-25-206|
|NE||1 month’s rent||Not required||14 days to return deposit||§ 17-1416|
|NV||3 months’ rent||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 118A.242 to 118A.250|
|NH||1 month’s rent or $100 (whichever is greater)||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 540-A:6 to 540-A:8|
|NJ||1½ months’ rent||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 46:8-19|
|NM||– 1 month’s rent for lease terms less than 1 year
– No limit for lease terms greater than 1 year
|Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 47-8-18|
|NY||No regulation||Not required||14 days to return deposit||Emergency Tenant Protection Act 576/74|
|NC||– 2 weeks’ rent for week-to-week lease agreements
– 1½ months’ rent for month-to-month lease agreements
– 2 months’ rent for yearly leases
|Trust account or bank bond required||– 30 days to return deposit
– 60 days to return deposit if damages exceed 1 month’s rent
|Article 6 Tenant Security Deposit Act|
|ND||1 month’s rent||Escrow account required||30 days to return deposit||§ 47-16-07.1|
|OH||No regulation||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 5321.16|
|OK||No regulation||Federally-insured escrow account required||30 days to return deposit||Title 41 §41-115|
|OR||No regulation||Not required||31 days to return deposit||ORS 90.300|
|PA||2 months’ rent||Escrow account required for deposits greater than $100 or any amount held for longer than 2 years||30 days to return deposit||Landlord Tenant Act Section 511-512|
|RI||1 month’s rent||Not required||20 days to return deposit||§ 34-18-19|
|SC||No regulation||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 27-40-410|
|SD||1 month’s rent||Not required||14 days to return deposit||§ 43-32-6.1, § 43-32-24|
|TN||No regulation||Escrow account required||30 days to return deposit||§ 66-28-301|
|TX||No regulation||Not required||30 days to return deposit||§ 92.101 – 92.110|
|UT||No regulation||Not required||30 days to return deposit||Title 57 Chapter 17|
|VT||No regulation||Not required||14 days to return deposit||9 V.S.A. § 4461|
|VA||2 months’ rent||Not required||45 days to return deposit||§ 55.1-1226|
|WA||No regulation||Escrow account required||21 days to return deposit||§ 59.18.253, 59.18.260 – 59.18.285|
|WV||No regulation||Not required||60 days to return deposit||Chapter 37 Article 6A|
|WI||No regulation||Not required||21 days to return deposit||ATCP § 134.06|
|WY||No regulation||Not required||– 30 days to return deposit
– 60 days if any amount is retained
|State||Notice to Quit or Leave||Notice to Pay or Leave||Law|
|Alabama||14 days||7 days||§ 35-9A-421|
|Alaska||10 days||7 days||§ 34-3-160, § 34-3-220|
|Arizona||10 days||5 days||§ 33-1368|
|Arkansas||14 days||5 days||§ 18-60-304, § 18-17-901|
|California||3 days||3 days||Code of Civil Procedure 1161|
|Colorado||3 days||3 days||§ 13-40-107, § 13-40-104|
|Connecticut||15 days||3 days||§ 47a-23|
|Delaware||7 days||5 days||Title 25, Chapter 55 § 5513, Title 25, Chapter 55 §5502|
|Florida||7 days||3 days||§ 83.56|
|Georgia||0 days||Dependent on lease agreement||§ 44-7-50|
|Hawaii||10 days||5 days||§ 521-72, § 521-68|
|Idaho||3 days||3 days||§ 6-303|
|Illinois||10 days||5 days||735 ILCS 5/9-210, 735 ILCS 5/9-209|
|Indiana||0 days||10 days||§ 32-31-1-6 to § 32-31-1-9|
|Iowa||7 days||3 days||§ 562A.27|
|Kansas||– 14 days to cure
– 30 days to vacate
|– 3 days
– 5 days if notice is mailed
|§ 58-2564, § 58-2507|
|Kentucky||14 days||7 days||§ 383.665, § 383.660|
|Louisiana||5 days||5 days||CCP 4701|
|Maine||7 days||7 days||Chapter 710, Title 14 § 6002|
|Maryland||30 days||Dependent on lease agreement||§ 8-401 to 8-402|
|Massachusetts||0 days||14 days||Chapter 186, Section 11, 11A|
|Michigan||0 days||7 days||§ 600.5714, § 554.134|
|Minnesota||0 days||Dependent on lease agreement||§ 504B.135|
|Mississippi||30 days||3 days||§ 89-7-27, § 89-8-13|
|Missouri||0 days||Dependent on lease agreement||§ 441.040, § 535.060|
|Montana||– 14 days
– 3 days if pet or guest problem
|3 days||§ 70-24-422|
|Nebraska||– 14 days to cure
– 30 days to vacate
|3 days||§ 76-1431|
|Nevada||5 days||5 days||§ 40.2512|
|New Hampshire||30 days||7 days||§ 540:3|
|New Jersey||30 days||Dependent on lease agreement||N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53|
|New Mexico||7 days||3 days||§ 47-8-33|
|New York||0 days or dependent on the lease agreement||3 days||§ 711, § 753|
|North Carolina||0 days||10 days||§ 42-3|
|North Dakota||3 days||3 days||§ 47-32|
|Ohio||3 days||3 days||§ 1923.02, § 1923.04|
|Oklahoma||– 10 days to cure
– 15 days to vacate
|5 days||Title 41 § 41-131, 132|
|Oregon||14 days||3 days||ORS 90.392, 90.394|
|Pennsylvania||– 15 days
– 30 days if tenant has lived there for over one year
|10 days||Landlord Tenant Act Section 501|
|Rhode Island||21 days||5 days||§ 34-18-36, §34-18-35|
|South Carolina||14 days||5 days||§ 27-40-710|
|South Dakota||3 days||3 days||§ 43-32-18, § 21-6-2|
|Tennessee||– 14 days to cure
– 30 days to vacate
|14 days||§ 66-7-109, § 66-28-505|
|Texas||3 days||3 days||§ 24.005|
|Utah||3 days||3 days||Title 78B Chapter 6 § 802|
|Vermont||30 days||14 days||9 V.S.A. § 4467|
|Virginia||– 21 days to cure
– 30 days to vacate
|5 days||§ 55.1-1245, § 55.1-1415|
|Washington||10 days||3 days||§ 59.12.030|
|West Virginia||0 days||Dependent on lease agreement||Chapter 55 Article 3A|
|Wisconsin||5 days||5 days||§ 704.17|
|Wyoming||3 days||3 days||§ 1-21-1003|
Glossary of Lease and Rental Terms
Here are some useful definitions for terms usually seen in a written lease agreement:
- Access: the right to enter a property.
- Accidents: manmade or naturally occurring events that may damage a property (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.).
- Alterations: modifications made to a property.
- Appliances: common home equipment like a refrigerator or dishwasher.
- Asbestos Disclosure: properties built before 1979 must notify tenants of the existence of asbestos.
- Assignment: the transfer of interest in a lease.
- Attorney Fees: a payment made to a lawyer.
- Condemnation: the government seizure of private property for a public purpose such as the construction of a highway.
- Default: when a breach of contract occurs and persists such as not paying rent or violating other terms of a rental lease agreement.
- Furniture: common home equipment such as couches, tables, beds, etc.
- Guarantor / Co-Signer: someone that is held accountable for paying rent if the tenant is unable to do so.
- Guests: short-term occupants of a rental property.
- Joint and several liability: where two or more people are independently held accountable for damages, regardless of who is at fault.
- Late Rent Fee: an additional, reasonable sum of money paid by a tenant after making a rent payment past the due date listed in the lease agreement.
- Lead Disclosure: properties built before 1978 must notify tenants of the existence of lead-based paint or other materials.
- Noise Policy: a provision of a lease agreement outlining “quiet hours” in the apartment building, condominium, or neighborhood.
- Notice: a written announcement of some fact or observation.
- Option to Purchase: the tenant’s right to purchase a piece of rental property at a later date.
- Parking: designated spaces where the tenant can keep their vehicles.
- Pet Policy: the permission or restriction of a tenant’s ability to have an animal in a rental property.
- Property Maintenance: the process of preserving a rental unit and who is responsible for doing so. Such as cutting the grass, taking out the garbage, or unclogging the kitchen and bathroom drains.
- Renewal: a tenant’s option to continue the lease.
- Renter’s Insurance: a paid policy which protects personal belongings against theft or damage.
- Severability: a clause of a lease stating that if one part of the agreement is invalid for any reason, the rest of the lease is still enforceable.
- Smoking Policy: the permission or restriction of a tenant’s ability to smoke inside a rental property.
- Sublet: a temporary housing arrangement between a current tenant and a new tenant to rent all or part of the currently leased property. The subletting period must be for less than the lease term.
- Successor: someone who takes over the obligations of a lease from a tenant or landlord.
- Utilities: a public or private service supplying electricity, water, gas, or trash collection to a property.
- Waterbed: a water-filled furnishing used to sleep and not typically permitted in most rental properties.