A lease is a contract between a landlord and one or more tenants. Among other things, the lease determines the amount of rent to be paid, the length of time that the tenant will be permitted to occupy the apartment or other rental unit, as well as who will be responsible for payment of utilities.

A well-written lease should also discuss the rules and regulations of the leased property. Such rules can include provisions prohibiting or limiting the number of pets, the number of people permitted to live in the rental property, the number of parking spaces allocated to an apartment, and various other expectations of the parties.

Although some landlord tenant relationships are created with an oral lease, a written lease is usually the preferred practice, and helps to protect both the landlord and the tenant. Using a professionally prepared lease containing clear, easy-to-read provisions helps to ensure that all parties understand their rights and responsibilities. This reduces the chances of disputes arising in the future due to either confusion or misunderstanding. While clear wording is a good idea for all leases, it is especially important for residential leases, as residential leases must comply with the “Plain Language Laws.” Leases that are not compliant with the “Plain Language Laws” can be declared invalid, putting the landlord at a severe disadvantage during an eviction proceeding or other landlord tenant dispute.