The rental agreement (Lease)

Category: Tenant Rights & Laws Last Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2014 Published: Sunday, 21 September 2014 Written by ATA Admin

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The rental agreement (Lease)


The lease is the agreement between the landlord and the tenant for renting a property. The lease can be oral (spoken) or in writing. If the tenant does not have a written lease, he/she has an oral lease. In either situation, the lease should at least tell: 1 ) who is the tenant and who is the landlord; 2) the location being rented; 3) the amount of rent due; 4) the length of time that the property is being rented (month-to-month or year-to-year): and 5) who pays the utilities. The tenant must make sure that all blanks are filled in or crossed out of the lease and that all changes are made before signing.

The lease sets forth the obligation which the tenant owes to the landlord and the obligation which the landlord owes to the tenant. NEVER SIGN ANY LEASE BEFORE READING IT CAREFULLY. If the tenant has a written lease, every agreement between the tenant and the landlord must be put in the lease including any promises by the landlord to make repairs. Ask for and get a copy of the lease.

If the tenant does not have a written lease then he or she has an oral lease which is considered a month to month lease. We at the Allentown Tenant Association DO NOT recommend oral leases. Oral leases cause too many problems. If you have an oral lease or a month to month lease the landlord at any time can give thirty (30) days notice to vacate. The tenant has the right to do the same.

The Written Lease:

All leases of three years of more must be written, but many written leases are for a one-year term or less.

Many written lease are on printed forms or prepared by the landlords, these leases are often hard to understand and have terms favorable to the landlords.

Pennsylvania’s Plain Language Consumer Contract Law requires written leases to be easy to read and understand. Landlords who violate this law by using hard-to-read leases could be ordered by a court to pay damages to their tenants.

You should not sign a lease you do not understand or agree with because once you and the landlord sign it; you could be held to its terms.

Before you rent:


Before you sign a written lease or agree to an oral lease, you should carefully look over the apartment. Make sure you know the amount of the rent, what utilities you must pay, and the condition of the heating and plumbing systems, appliances, and the building itself.


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