Leases are a type of contract that specify the obligations of a landlord and tenant. These contracts can be enforced in a court of law, so it's important to read your lease before signing it.

Defining Terms

The lease includes the address of the property, the identity of the landlord, the length of the agreement and the identities of those who must pay rent and keep up the premises. This prevents uncertainty from arising when several roommates share a dwelling or when the house or apartment is sold.

Great Expectations

A lease helps the landlord and tenant manage their expectations by specifying the amount of rent and when it's due. For example, if you are protected by a lease your landlord can't arbitrarily raise your rent because he had to re-roof the property or put in a new heater. Similarly, the lease should define the security deposit and any other fees or conditions the landlord might impose, such as a no-pet clause.