It is normal, having decided on a property to rent, to make an offer in writing. It is advisable to have a lease drawn up which stipulates the rental terms and conditions. A lease is normally used by estate agents and other companies specialising in letting properties. It is also possible to get a lease drawn up by a lawyer.
According to the Rental Housing Act, a lease must contain the following minimum information:
The law also states that landlords must:
Property rental leases are usually 1 year, with an option to extend for another year. However in some cases it is possible to negotiate a 6 month lease or a longer lease if required. A lease is a legally binding contract so it is often difficult to get out of rental agreements unless there is a breach in contract by either party. However, in most cases if someone else is found to take over the rent for the time remaining on the lease, it may be possible to get out of the rental agreement.
If the tenant remains in the unit after the end of the fixed term with the consent of the landlord, the lease is then deemed to be a periodic lease. Periodic leases can be terminated by giving a month’s written notice.
The amount of rent can be freely negotiated by tenants and landlords. The lease or rental agreement should state by how much and when the rent can be increased. If the agreement does not specify an amount or date for increase, this must be negotiated with the tenant.
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