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When researching for a new place to live, it is not uncommon to encounter various terms regarding real estate to rent. Landlords writing up contracts for their properties, would be well advised to consult with real estate lawyers NYC, to ensure that they are going to be protected and negotiating the correct contract. Two of the most common terms that most people do not understand, or know the difference, when it comes to real estate terms are: a rental agreement and a lease.

Rental Agreement vs. Written Lease

So, what is the difference? What does each one mean? A rental agreement provides for a tenant to rent a property on a short-term basis (generally 30 days). This agreement automatically renews month to month, until either party gives written notice to cancel the agreement. This type of rental agreement allows for the landlord to make changes to the terms agreed to initially with the proper written warning given to the tenant. Landlord could promote tenants to get something like to help protect them should anything go wrong.

On the other hand, a written lease is giving the tenant the right to occupy a property for an extended, set period of time. Generally, written lease agreements are for 12 months, but are sometimes shorter or longer. A written lease protects the tenant from rent increases and other changes in their terms agreed to during the duration of the agreement without consent from both parties.

One of the big difference, aside from the length of the agreement, between the two types of agreements is that a written lease does not automatically renew when it expires like a rental agreement does. Tenants who wish to continue occupying the premise after the lease agreement has expired will transition to a month-to-month agreement, subject to the same conditions and terms that were listed in the initial lease agreement.

Rent Control Laws

New York is one of five states that has communities with laws restricting how much landlords can charge tenants for rent. These laws, also known as rent stabilization or maximum rent regulation, limit the circumstances and the times that a landlord may increase the rent. Many of these laws also require that landlords have a legal or just cause (good reason) to evict or terminate a tenancy. Examples of just cause include, tenant’s failure to pay rent, or evicting a tenant so that a family member of the landlord can occupy the space.

What to Include in Written Lease and Rental Agreements

Trusting your lease or rental agreement to a generic agreement that is available from the local office supply store, can be risky for everyone involved. Often times, these generic agreements are full of legal jargon that is hard to understand, contains clauses that are out of date, or are not in compliance with your local and state laws.

Either agreement is an important document that outlines important issues and information for both parties. Each type of agreement should contain the following:

  • The length of tenancy
  • Security Deposit and Monthly Rent, including due dates
  • Number of occupants allowed to reside on the property
  • Pet policy
  • Landlords access to the property
  • Who covers attorney fees in the event of a lawsuit regarding the rental or lease agreement

Rental agreements and written leases should always be done in writing, so as to mitigate any disputes over oral agreements, regarding who said what to who and when. For landlords who are new to the New York real estate market, consulting with real estate lawyers NYC to draft an agreement can prove to be very beneficial. Warren S. Dank, Esq., P.C., has been helping landlords write up rental and lease agreements regarding New York real estate and protecting the rights of landlords and tenants alike. Contact the office of Warren S. Dank today, and get a rental contract that works for you!