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Read further to learn more about residential lease agreements in Alaska, such as what disclosures are required and what else should be included.
What is a Residential Lease Agreement?
A residential lease is a legally binding agreement between a landlord and a tenant who intends to rent a specific property. This document details the specifics of the housing agreement, with information that the tenant is required to know by law, as well as specifics of the housing arrangement, such as how long the tenant intends to live on the property. It may also cover certain situations, such as bed bugs, pet regulations, notice to vacate, and other legal matters that may need to be discussed between the landlord and the tenant. Most importantly, it provides the tenant with the information needed to legally move into the apartment or housing unit and outlines the monthly cost of living. It provides details on what property management is responsible for, as well as what the tenant is responsible for, and outlines the rights of the tenant and landlord if any parts of the agreement are broken.
Within the state of Alaska, landlords are required to provide certain information to tenants upon move in – many specific disclosures are required to be provided to the tenant before the tenant moves onto the premises. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you, as the landlord of the property, are aware of what information should be provided in the lease. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that you understand the foundations of the lease, as well as what information should be included on the document to ensure that your lease meets federal, state, and local requirements.
Alaska Residential Lease Agreement Elements
It is absolutely vital that the tenant reads and signs the agreement prior to their occupancy. There are many legalities required by the state of Alaska for both landlords and tenants, and there is information that by law the tenant must have to ensure that they are being provided with all applicable knowledge in relation to their dwellings in advance. This document will review the necessary and substantial parts of all lease agreements, as well as specific clauses and addendums that may apply to specific housing situations.
Lease Introduction and Names of All Parties: Landlord & Tenant(s)
In most cases, this will be the first section of all lease agreements. In Alaska, the landlord is required to provide the tenants with essential, primary information in regards to the tenant’s occupancy. This information is vital as it provides the names of all authorized parties on the lease.
Often, it will begin with an introduction to the property and any legal terms that will follow – such as the reference of specifically named tenants as occupants throughout the lease, or the reference of the specific property owner as management. Furthermore, this is often where identifying information is included, such as the address of the property, and other applicable information such as building or unit numbers. Once this information has been provided, the names of those authorized to be on the lease and in the property are listed, as well as the contact information for property management.
It is critical that the information listed in this part of the lease is correct – all individuals who are over the age of 18 and authorized to live in the specific housing unit provided should be listed in this section of the lease to ensure that, should an incident occur, all parties living in the unit can be held responsible. This is important both for the tenants and the landlord as any activity that takes place on the property by an individual who is not on the lease may cause liability issues for the landlord. Proofread this section carefully before sending it over to your tenants to ensure all information is correct and each applicable tenant is listed on the lease.
Terms and Limits of Occupancy
This particular section outlines the term of the lease. In many cases, leases last anywhere from 1 month to 13 months – however, depending on your housing situation, this may vary and any agreed upon length of lease should be dictated in the terms agreement. It is important to ensure that all information listed here is also correct, as it will specify the date the tenant may move into the available housing unit, as well as the specific move out date.
In many cases, this section may also dictate the timeframe in which the new resident may come pick up their keys for their unit, as well as what time the unit must be vacated by at the end of the lease unless otherwise agreed upon between the tenant and the landlord. This is important information that the tenant must have, as without this information they may extend the length of the lease.
Furthermore, this section may also outline certain limitations of the lease. While in most cases, specific limits are explained in addendums throughout the lease, this is where you may outline the repercussions of lease violations, as well as the expectations should the tenant be evicted for any reason. This section will allow you to specify any expectations for the end of the lease. For instance, in this section, you may include notice time should the tenant plan to leave at the end of the lease – in most cases, this is 14-day notice, however, some landlords may require up to 30 days notice, depending on their specific needs.
Specific expectations may include the expectations of subletting the unit – if the tenant chooses to vacate the unit prior to the end of the lease, but finds a replacement tenant, you may outline the expectations for having sublet the lease. In many cases, landlords will require a new, subletting lease form to be filled out by the new tenant(s) based upon the expectations set in the lease.
For instance, the landlord may outline in this section their rights to the eviction of the tenant for any purposes. In Alaska, it is important to note that the landlord may provide tenants who are involved in certain types of legal activity while on the premises an “unconditional quit notice” which provides them the tenants with five days (but, in some cases up to 24 hours, depending on the activity with which the individual was involved) to vacate the premises before the landlord officially files for eviction.
Beyond this, you may explain to the tenant in this section any further limits of the lease, such as any fines for specific violations. You can also use this section to reference other sections of the lease specific to any violation not able to be included in this section, for brevity.
Rent and Utilities
Here, you may outline the specifics of each month’s rent. Typically, this explains the monthly charges that the tenant is responsible for. Specifically, it is important to list in this section the amount due each month for housing. This needs to be a specific number, such as $1200 and will specify when the payment is due. Often, this is on a monthly basis, however, depending on the agreement come to between the tenant and the landlord, the payment intervals may be different and may not be on a specific date but, for instance, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, or every other month, based upon the previously arranged agreement.
This section may also outline any fees associated with late payments – for instance, it may say that the rent is due on the first of each month, with a grace period between the first and the third, and should rent not be paid by the first of the month, a fee of $75 will be charged, with an additional $10 being charged each subsequent day the rent is not paid from that point. This is the section in which you may also choose to outline the expectations if rent is not paid – for instance, if rent is not received by the 15th of the month at 5 pm, the landlord will file for eviction unless other, prior arrangements are made.
Also included in this section is an explanation of the expectations for utility payments. Dependant upon the housing arrangements, this section may be minimal, however, it may include a variety of information, such as the fees associated for trash pickup and removal (or valet trash, where applicable), the fees for renters insurance if the tenant is not choosing to provide that themselves, as well as fees for any included utilities such as cable or internet, and the expectation of the water bill each month depending upon whether the water usage is paid for as a utility or individually. Other fees that may be included are monthly pet fees, as well as electric, depending upon your arrangement with the tenant.
This section is important, as it lists the exact expectations (with the exception of metered bills, which will vary from month to month based on the tenant’s usages) of cost for the tenant on a month to month basis (or the agreed upon interval previously mentioned in the lease.) It is important to ensure that these fees are notated exactly, as this specifies what the tenant is to pay the landlord each payment period, Furthermore, it outlines all utilities that the tenant is responsible for paying along with the rent and specifies what utility accounts the tenant will be responsible for maintaining outside of the lease.
There are multiple different bills that could be attached to the utility section, dependant upon what is offered in the unit the landlord is providing. Ensure that all applicable utility fees are listed in this section to the tenant so that a clear expectation is provided for the expected overall cost per pay period.
Security Deposits and Fees
This section outlines the expectations of deposits and other fees that will be owed upon move in, which may vary from unit to unit and will be agreed upon between the landlord and tenant prior to the leasing agreement being signed. In the state of Alaska, it is important to note that the security deposit in Alaska cannot be more than two months rent, or $2000, whichever is less. Furthermore, in this section, the landlord should outline the return of the security deposit as per Alaskan guidelines. Therefore, you must outline the return of the deposit – within 14 days if the tenant provides the proper notice, as agreed upon in the lease, and within 30 days if the tenant does not.
Here you may also include any fees that are applied to the resident’s account and due at the time of move in. Such fees may include pet deposits or application fees, background checks, fees applied to the account for upgrading the unit prior to move in, and any utility activation fees that may be required. Furthermore, this section can outline the expectations of the tenant should they move out early – it can explain the fees for early termination of the lease, as well as any expectations that may be provided for early lease termination but are not due immediately upfront.
Maintenance, Alterations, and Repairs
In this section, the landlord outlines the expectations for maintenance, as well as the notification of entry for any necessary repairs and the timeframes for which maintenance and repairs should be taken care of. Also outlined in this section are any alterations in which the landlord is responsible for, as well as any alterations for which the landlord is responsible for, as well as changes that the tenant can make to the unit upon move in.
In the state of Alaska, landlords have to provide a 24-hour notice prior to entering a housing unit. In this section of the lease, this information should be provided to the tenant. Furthermore, the tenant should be provided with the proper process to request any form of maintenance, as well as what forms of maintenance the landlord is required to provide. In this section, you must also outline what constitutes tenant damage and what maintenance requests may cause an out of pocket expense to the tenant.
Furthermore, in Alaska individuals have the right to withhold and deduct any maintenance requests that are submitted properly to their landlord through the process written in the request guidelines. This means that the tenants have the right to withhold any rent payments and deduct the cost of any maintenance that was not covered by the landlord as outlined in the lease agreement with proper notification of the request.
Access to Property/Notice of Entry
This section will outline when the landlord may access the property, as well as all expectations and the proper method of notification of entry. As previously stated, in Alaska landlords must provide the tenants with a 24-hour notice prior to entering the dwelling. This section should outline the proper procedure for notification, as well.
Primarily, this section should outline when the landlord may enter the unit and for what causes, as well as the expectations of entry from the landlord.
While this is an optional section, this section will outline the expectations of any tenant who owns a pet. It defines the initial expectation of the pet owner, as well as the liability for any damages the pet may cause. Furthermore, it outlines any fees and restrictions on pets in the unit, such as limitation of the number of pets allowed in the dwelling, as well as any breed restrictions dictated by the landlord.
This section will also detail any specific information in regards to a breach of the lease for the pet information. For instance, if the tenant has too many pets in the unit, or does not properly notify the landlord of an additional pet without paying a deposit, as well as any fees that may be applied to pet damage. Moreover, this section will provide information in regards to all fees that may be accrued, such as the pet deposit, or monthly pet rent owed to the landlord in addition to the regular monthly rent.
Lead Paint Addendum
In the state of Alaska, on any building that was established prior to 1970, landlords are required to advise the tenants of the potential for lead paint to have been used on the premise, as well as the potential health risks that may be associated with the paint contaminants.
Legal Restrictions/Other Rules in Alaska
In this section, any other restrictions and rules that may apply to the unit can be listed. Such restrictions may include the expectation of notification of any issues with the dwelling, as well as any legal restrictions that may apply to the unit. Any legal disclosures that may need to be made, per state laws, should be added to these sections to ensure that the tenant is provided with all information that is legally required by the state of Alaska.
While these topics should be included in every leasing agreement, there may be additional addendums you feel are beneficial to the lease. Feel free to add any further information you, as the landlord, feel your tenant needs to know and have access to.