The Montana residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a legally binding contract between a residential property owner (landlord/lessor) and a tenant (lessee). The document allows the negotiated terms and conditions to be made in regards to the monthly rent payment, security deposit, term, utilities, and other agreed-upon items.
Montana Lease Disclosures & Addendums
The following disclosure is required for all residential lease agreements in Montana.
- Landlord’s Name & Address – for all rental units in Montana.
- Move-In Checklist – for any lease charging a security deposit.
- Mold Disclosure – for any rental unit where the landlord has knowledge of mold dangers.
- Lead Based Paint Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1978.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts and/or legal liability in Montana.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Montana.
So that future legal notices and demands sent by the tenant can be properly delivered to the landlord, the name and address of either the landlord or the person authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf must be disclosed up-front (commonly done so in the lease agreement) .
Applicable to all rental units in Montana that charge a security deposit.
Montana landlords that intend to charge a security deposit are required to provide an inventory of the rental unit’s condition in the form of a move-in checklist. This checklist does not necessarily have to be attached to the lease agreement, but it does need to be inspected and agreed to by the prospective tenant before taking occupancy .
The checklist should include any present damage or specific furnishings that are included (such as appliances or furniture) that must be returned in the same state they were upon move-in.
This move-in checklist will satisfy Montana’s requirements.
Applicable to any units with known mold that may pose a health threat.
In Montana, landlords must provide a mold disclosure as part of the lease when there is a known presence of toxic mold. This disclosure must be provided alongside or on the lease agreement itself , and must include the following excerpt :
“MOLD DISCLOSURE: There are many types of mold. Inhabitable properties are not, and cannot be, constructed to exclude mold. Moisture is one of the most significant factors contributing to mold growth. Information about controlling mold growth may be available from your county extension agent or health department. Certain strains of mold may cause damage to property and may adversely affect the health of susceptible persons, including allergic reactions that may include skin, eye, nose, and throat irritation. Certain strains of mold may cause infections, particularly in individuals with suppressed immune systems. Some experts contend that certain strains of mold may cause serious and even life-threatening diseases. However, experts do not agree about the nature and extent of the health problems caused by mold or about the level of mold exposure that may cause health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is studying the link between mold and serious health conditions. The seller, landlord, seller’s agent, buyer’s agent, or property manager cannot and does not represent or warrant the absence of mold. It is the buyer’s or tenant’s obligation to determine whether a mold problem is present. To do so, the buyer or tenant should hire a qualified inspector and make any contract to purchase, rent, or lease contingent upon the results of that inspection. A seller, landlord, seller’s agent, buyer’s agent, or property manager who provides this mold disclosure statement, provides for the disclosure of any prior testing and any subsequent mitigation or treatment for mold, and discloses any knowledge of mold is not liable in any action based on the presence of or propensity for mold in a building that is subject to any contract to purchase, rent, or lease.”
Lead Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Montana to:
- Fill out and attach this lead based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Montana law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Montana law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke so as to not interfere with other tenants.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Montana does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease.
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to establish an understanding of the current status of bed bugs at the property in case of a future infestation and to provide information on the protocol for handling one.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units in buildings built prior to 1981 (which are considered at-risk for asbestos), it is recommended to establish an understanding of any prior knowledge on the existence of asbestos on the property.