Lease agreement can be written or oral. The landlord-tenant relationship is complicated enough, with all of the laws and regulations that governs the leasing of property. And, the leasing of property without a clear lease agreement is a formula for trouble. It is in the best interest of both the landlord and tenant to have a detail written lease agreement but what happen if there is no lease agreement? When the there is no lease agreement the court will impose certain terms on both the landlord and tenant.
A lease is a contract calling for the lessee to pay the lessor for use of an asset. In the leasing of an house, apartment, building or other real estate the lessee is agreeing to pay lessor for the use and possession of the premise. Generally a lease will either provide specific provisions regarding the responsibilities and rights of the lessee and lessor, or there will be automatic provisions as a result of local law. By paying the negotiated fee to the lessor, the lessee (also called a tenant) has possession and use (the rental) of the leased property to the exclusion of the lessor and all others except with the invitation of the tenant. A lease can be for a fixed period of time (called the term of the lease) but (depending on the terms of the lease) may be terminated sooner. In a real property lease the lessee is referred to as the tenant and lessor is the landlord. The relationship between the tenant and the landlord is called a tenancy, and the right to possession by the tenant is sometimes called a leasehold interest.
However, there are often times when there is no written contract between the landlord and tenant. This situation can definitely complicate the relationship between the parties, because all of the responsibilities, duties and rights of the landlord and tenant are not clearly defined. In absence of a writing lease agreement both the landlord and tenant have certain rights and duties that are imposed on them by law. Where there is no written lease agreement the courts will consider the agreement to be an oral contract between to landlord and tenant. And, where certain professions are address the court will apply standards of the law.
Most written lease provide for a security deposit by the tenant, when the lease is oral, there may still be legal limits upon the amount a landlord may charge for a security deposit. Most states limit a security deposit to one and a half or twice the amount of monthly rent,
Regardless whether a lease is written or oral every state law requires the landlord to provide a dwelling fit for human occupation. The precise definition for human occupation is different for every state. But as a general rule the house must be safe and free of any major health issues. Also, the property must have basic accommodation to make the house suitable for living, like heating, cooling, pluming, electricity and etc.
In those instances where no lease term was discussed the lease will be treated as month-to-month lease by most courts. A month-to-month lease provides that the renter may leave after one month or the landlord can choose not to renew the lease after one month. If there are no objects from either party the lease automatically renews after each month is over as this is the term the courts will usually apply to these agreements. In some states the landlord or tenant must give a 30 day notice to the other party of their intent not continue the rental agreement.
The only prohibition on oral leases is on those that exceed one year. If the lease will exceed one year the Statute of Frauds requires it to be in writing. Although, law grant certain rights when there is no lease agreement, again, it always best to have a detail written lease agreement address all issues and concerns. The services of an attorney may not be needed to prepare an agreement, because there are many good professional forms on the internet that can purchase for a few dollars. Personally, I recomend purchasing esquire360.com who has attorney prepared Lease and Rental Agreements.