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Real estate lease agreements explained

Sometimes official documents like legal papers or government forms can be intimidating and hard to understand. Many people experience anxiety after they sign important contracts or agreements because they’re unsure if they missed the fine print or misunderstood a legal clause that could be used against them.

There really is no reason to feel this way, however. Here are a few things to understand about leasing agreements in case you need to sign one:

  • Right of possession

    This guarantees that the landlord will not interfere with your right to possess and use the property within the guidelines of your lease. Your landlord will not show up unannounced without reason. They can come on the property to do maintenance work or for purposes that have been previously agreed upon.

  • Right of usage

    This determines what the property will be used for. A person may lease a piece of property as a residential, retail, office, or business location.

  • Lease terms and stipulations

    This section covers the length of the lease, regulations and restrictions, and timelines for renewal or cancelations. Eviction and vacating procedures may also be included here.

  • Security deposits

    Depending on what type of lease you have, and what you intend to use the property for, one or more security deposits could be required. Many state and local governments impose ceilings on fees and issue guidelines on what constitutes forfeiture on the part of the tenant.

  • Property improvements

    This portion of the lease agreement states the scope and conditions of improvements both landlord and tenant may do on the property. The landlord must disclose upcoming or preplanned improvements on the property. Tenants, on the other hand, are often free to make their own improvements as long as they clear it with the landlord first. Tenants must also understand that improvements they initiate become part of the property and belong to the owner.

  • Property maintenance and upkeep

    Specifics can vary greatly from contract to contract. The intended use of the property is often an influencing factor as well. For offices or businesses, maintenance is typically the responsibility of the tenant. For residences, the landlord is usually responsible for most of the repairs and upkeep.

  • Sublease and assignment stipulations

    Subletting your property is usually not allowed. When it is, subleasing comes with plenty of conditions. If this an option you may want to consider in the future, make sure the language is clearly spelled out in the contract. Landlords tend to be strict and specific when it comes to subleases. Also, be cautious because tenants usually assume most of the risk.

  • Tenant lease options

    What are your options and are they clearly spelled out in the contract? These include the option to auto-renew the lease through a letter sent within a certain timeframe, the right to upgrade or downgrade your property at the end of the lease, and clauses that allow you to buy out the lease or cancel the agreement at an earlier date.

To help you navigate the ins and outs of lease agreements as well as find you the best place to live or conduct your business in, get in touch with the Hunter Real Estate Group. Call (713) 572-0824 today or email trace(at)hunterrealestategroup(dotted)com.