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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. It is an all-inclusive document created to outline the expectations of both parties and address any special circumstances that may arise during the length of the agreement. It also clearly states the potential consequences for not adhering to the stated terms. For maximum legal credibility, it is critical that this document be produced in writing, reviewed and signed by both parties prior to occupancy.
Before reviewing and signing a residential lease agreement, a landlord will likely ask a potential tenant to complete an application form to begin a background and credit check. If these assessments are met with approval, then the process of renting the property may continue. Applicable rent, security deposits and fees will be paid by the tenant, and the residential lease will be signed by both parties. The tenant may take occupancy on the date indicated in the residential lease.
Connecticut Residential Lease Agreement Elements
The sections that follow are necessary elements to a residential lease. Each section includes information that pertains specifically to lease agreements in Connecticut. All rental properties are unique, and it is important for landlords to tailor their residential lease to the unit or property being rented. This guide lists various circumstances for landlords to consider as they are drafting a residential lease agreement. Landlords need to include the components listed here to be legally compliant in the state of Connecticut.
Lease Introduction and Names of the Parties
In the state of Connecticut, a lease agreement for a rental property is going to begin with the names of both of the parties of the individuals who are entering into the agreement. The names that are listed should be the full legal name of both of the parties, which will include at least their middle initial. If there is going to be more than one tenant living on the property, then the name of both individuals should be listed in the tenant section of the introduction.
Under the names of the tenant and the landlord, the full address of the property that is being considered for this agreement needs to be included. This will include the street number, the city, and the county. Make sure that the floor and the apartment number are also listed in this section of the agreement as well. Another piece of information that should be included in this section is the phone number for the landlord. Having it listed here will ensure that the potential tenant can always reach the landlord.
Terms of the Lease and Occupation Limitations
In order to make this an agreement that both parties can agree on, the terms of the lease need to be written in this portion of the contract. Make sure to list the type of unit that the tenant is trying to rent as well as the number of bathrooms and bedrooms that are located in the unit. This will ensure that the unit that the tenant agrees to is the one that they get.
If there is any furniture in the living space that will not be removed before the tenant moves in, it should be listed in this section as well. Appliances that will come with the apartment or the unit in question will also need to be listed here. This can include a washer, a dryer, a dishwasher, a microwave, or other appliance.
The terms of the lease will include when the rent is due to the landlord every month as well as how long this rental agreement is designed to last. It could be a one-year lease, a two-year lease, or more. The renewal process for the lease will also need to be written down in this section so that the tenant knows what steps to follow when it is time to renew the agreement.
The number of occupants that are staying in the unit needs to be listed here as well. Sometimes, a landlord will require an additional fee to be added to the rental amount when there are more people staying in the unit than are on the lease. Many times, guests who stay in a unit for more than a period of two weeks will fall into this category.
Rent and Utilities
This next section is where the amount that is due each month for rent goes. The address of the management office or the location where the rent should be dropped off should also be included in this section. In addition, if there is a fee for late rent, make sure that the amount that needs to be paid as well as the date to the month that the fee will be added to the amount of rent that is due.
When rent is late frequently, the landlord can request that it is paid in a more timely manner or that it is paid using a bank check or a money order to ensure that the amount will be covered. This may also be requested when a check from a tenant is not covered by their financial institution.
Another expense that a tenant may be responsible for covering is the cost of the utilities in the unit. A landlord may pay some of the utilities, but chances are that most of them are not going to be covered. If the utilities are not split per unit, the landlord has the right to request that the tenant pays their portion of the utilities. Anything that will be covered by the landlord should be listed here, and the utilities that the tenant will need to pay should be listed in this section as well. Don’t forget to include the number for the utility companies in the area.
Parking is often another concern for tenants who live in an area with other tenants. They are going to want to know that they will have a place to park if they come home late at night. Depending on the parking situation on the property, the terms of the parking should be laid out in this section of the agreement. Specified parking rules should be listed, and whether or not the vehicle will need to have a parking permit places in the window. Typically, for permanent parking spots, the vehicle will need to be registered in the tenant’s name. Also, make sure to mention whether there are any restrictions when it comes to cars. This will include not washing the vehicle on the premise and where guests should park when they come to visit.
Security Deposits and Fees
In the residential lease agreement, the amount that the tenant needs to hand over for the landlord to hold in case there is damage done to the unit can vary. The amount needs to be written in this portion of the arrangement, and the total that will need to be paid for the security deposit cannot be more than the sum of two months’ rent in Connecticut. If the resident is over the age of 62, then the amount requested for the security deposit cannot exceed the amount of a single months’ rent. This amount is going to be due when the initial payment is due, which will include the first month’s rent and the security deposit.
This deposit is typically held by the landlord until the lease is over, and the money will be used to make any repairs to the unit than need to be done because of damage from the tenant. If there is not substantial damage to the unit, then the money should be returned to the tenant within 30 days of vacating the premise.
Sometimes the landlord will allow the tenant to move into the unit before the first of the month if the unit is ready to be moved into. If this occurs, the landlord will need to put the proration period in the details of the lease, and how much the tenant needs to pay as rent for living in the unit for that period of time. This will not be the official start of their new lease, so they will not need to move out in the middle of the month when their lease ends.
Maintenance, Alterations, and Repairs
For any residential lease, it is common for the landlord and the soon to be tenant to walk through the unit before they decide if it is the right option for them. This will give the potential tenant an opportunity to inspect the unit and discuss anything that will need to be taken care of before they move in. Anything that needs to be repaired or fixed in the unit should be written down in this part of the agreement with a date or a plan to fix the issue.
If the tenant does not request specific repairs on the unit, they are agreeing that it is in good condition, and that it has been thoroughly cleaned. If this is the case, they can sign the agreement and move into the unit without hesitation. This inspection will also give the tenant a chance to make sure that the appliances are all working, and if there is an issue, it needs to be addressed in this section as well.
The party that is going to be responsible for repairs in the unit can vary based on the landlord and the management company. However, specifics that the landlord will take care of like plumbing issues and repair need to be listed here. Most landlords will ask that a tenant request when they need repairs done in the unit that they are living in. Once the repairs are requested, the landlord will have to make the repairs in a timely fashion. Some landlords will allow the tenant to make the repairs that need done and allow them to deduct the cost of the repairs from the next months’ rent.
Any alterations that need to be done to the unit must be requested in writing. Only once the landlord gives their permission to make alterations in the unit will the tenant have the ability to make changes. These changes may have to do with the light fixtures, painting the walls, or putting in energy efficient appliances that will help save money on the electric bill. Many landlords do not want the walls in the unit to be painted random colors because they will be harder to cover up when the tenant moves out. Typically, the landlord will paint the walls every few years, but if there are any rules pertaining to painting the unit, they should be addressed here.
Access to Property and Notice of Entry
Another alteration that a tenant may be interested in doing is adding a new lock to the front door. Many of the tenants may feel safer with two locks on the front door, and most landlords will allow them to be added as long as they get a key to the new lock as well. If there is more than one tenant moving into the unit, then the landlord should provide a key for each individual for both the front door and the mailbox. If additional keys are made, they typically will need to be turned back in with the original keys when the tenant vacates the unit.
If the landlord needs access to the unit any time after the tenant moves in, they will need to give the tenant plenty of notice. This access could be to make repairs to the unit or to do an inspection in the unit for any reason.
Pet Addendum and Others
For any unit that is being considered for rental, it is important that the landlord considers whether or not pets will be welcomed on the premise. It is not uncommon in the state of Connecticut for a landlord to prohibit animals on the property, but if they are permitted, they rules and regulations pertaining to them must be listed in this portion of the agreement. Sometimes there is a limit on the number of pets that are allowed to live in the unit, and other times, the unit may only permit cats. Sometimes landlords will not permit specific breeds of dogs on the property for the safety of the other tenants that live there.
If there are any rules that pertain to animals that the new tenant should be aware of, it should be written in this portion of the agreement so that they know what to expect when they move in. It is not uncommon for the landlord to ask for a small fee for the animals to live in the unit. In fact, they may even ask for a small security deposit per animal in case there is damage done to the unit from the pet. This money may be used to clean the carpet, or repair scratches or damage to the floors and the walls.
In addition to the damage and disruption that pets can cause in a neighborhood, the guests that stay at a tenant’s unit can also be very disruptive. The tenant is responsible for their guest’s actions, so if there is a quiet time in the neighborhood that needs to be followed, it needs to be written out in detail here so that they know what to expect before moving in. The same rule applies for smoking or loitering in the common areas of the property. If a tenant or their guests make the other residents uneasy, it can cause an issue. Property rules that deal with smoking in the unit or the building in general also need to be outlined in this part of the agreement.
If there are any rules that state that certain furniture is not permitted in the unit, it needs to be mentioned here as well. This can include adding things like a waterbed or a washer or a dryer in the unit. These things will require extra care to have, so even if they are permitted, the tenant may need to take additional steps to get the furniture approved by the landlord.
If there are any additional pieces of information that the tenant needs to be aware of before they move into the unit, they should be listed in this section. This will include anything from snow removal to keeping flammable of hazardous material on the property. In the state of Connecticut, the landlord or the tenant are not permitted to store hazardous material on the property. This means that anything that is flammable should be stored elsewhere.
Living in Connecticut means that snow removal is always going to be an issue in the winter. When the snow that falls is more than a few inches deep, the parking lots are going to need to be plowed. Sometimes the vehicles will need to be moved so that the lot can be cleared properly. If this is the case, the specifics of the snow removal should be listed here as well.
Any building that was built before the year 1978 is a danger to the resident because it could have been painted with lead-based paint. This type of paint can be dangerous to small children and pregnant women, so it is imperative that the landlord shares this information with any individual who is planning on moving into a unit on the property. There are pamphlets available that are provided by agencies on the Federal level that landlords can hand out to their potential tenants.
The last section of this agreement that needs to be completed is most likely the shortest section of the entire lease, but it is also the most important part because without it, nothing that was stated in the agreement is actually legally binding. Once all of the terms of the arrangement have been discussed by both of the parties, the landlord and the tenant will need to sign the document. There will also be a space for the written name of both parties as well as the date that the document was signed. If there are two or more tenants moving into the unit, then they will both need to sign and date the agreement. If the landlord has requested a guarantor to be listed on the lease for this unit, then their information will be listed at the bottom. It should include their name, social security number, their signature, and the date.