Landlord Lawyers

Serving Central Minnesota From Our Location in St. Cloud


The Lease Agreement Lawyers at Toepfer at Law

lease agreement

What is a Lease Agreement Lawyer?

A lease agreement lawyer is a type of real estate lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law. These lawyers provide drafting, analyzing, legal advice, and if necessary, legal representation to their clients regarding all facets of their residential lease agreements or commercial lease agreements.

Lease agreement lawyers can also serve as a mediator between a landlord and tenant to help make sure the agreement made between the parties is mutually beneficial. This can make a big difference in the professional relationship between the two, which is a big plus. The experienced attorneys at Toepfer at Law, PLLC, are able to provide services for all legal matters concerning real estate law including lease agreement issues and tenant disputes.

Understanding Lease Agreements

What Do Lease Agreements Do?

A lease is a contract where one party agrees to let another use their property in exchange for money. Typically, written leases cover the details of such an agreement, specifying the terms of the lease from how the property can be used to how rent is to be paid to what the parties can do if they have a disagreement. Working with a seasoned St. Petersburg lease agreement lawyer can help to ensure that your legal rights are protected with a residential or commercial lease.

What Makes a Lease Agreement Legally Binding?

Lease agreements serve as the primary document that outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. They establish a contractual relationship between the landlord and tenant, specifying the rights and responsibilities of each party. Lease agreements are legal contracts between landlords and tenants that govern their relationship. Contracts are considered legally binding when:

  • The contract is enforceable
  • Both parties agree to the terms
  • There is a tradeoff (i.e., monthly rent in exchange for a place to live)
  • Both parties are of sound mind to enter into the agreement

Know Your Renter Rights and Responsibilities 

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants under state law:
  1. Right to Quiet Enjoyment: Tenants have the right to peacefully and reasonably enjoy their rental property without interference from the landlord. This includes the right to privacy and the right to be free from unreasonable disturbances.
  2. Right to Habitability: Tenants have the right to live in a safe, clean, and habitable property. Landlords are responsible for maintaining the premises in a condition that meets basic health and safety standards.
  3. Right to Repairs: Tenants have the right to prompt repairs for any maintenance issues or defects that affect the habitability of the property. It is the landlord’s responsibility to address these repairs in a timely manner.
  4. Responsibility for Rent Payments: Tenants are responsible for paying rent as outlined in their lease agreement. It is important to adhere to the agreed-upon rent amount and pay on time to maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship.
  5. Responsibility for Property Care: Tenants are responsible for taking care of the rental property and ensuring that it is kept clean and free from damage beyond normal wear and tear. They are also responsible for promptly reporting any maintenance issues to the landlord.

Key Elements of a Lease Agreement

Monthly Rent

One of the first questions that tenants have when leasing a new unit is simple: the cost. Perhaps the most important detail in any residential lease agreement is the monthly rent.

This section should clearly state how much the tenant must pay in rent every month. It should also include information about what repercussions occur if rent is late, such as late fees or eviction.

Sometimes, rent includes utilities for the unit, as well. The residential lease agreement should state whether this is the case.

Security Deposits and Fee Requirements

It’s a common practice for landlords to require security deposits at the beginning of any new relationship with a tenant. These deposits are intended to protect the landlord’s investment in the home and are held to the end of a lease to cover any potential costs from damages made to the home during the tenancy.

Security deposits can also be used to cover the cost of a cleaning service if the property is not left move-in ready for the next tenant. Replacement of any fixtures in the home such as window coverings, lights, or appliances can also be taken out of your security deposit at the end of your tenancy.

Other fees such as late fees and pet fees should also be included in this section. Lease agreement lawyers can ensure that the fees are reasonable and that they are set aside for the right purposes.

Repair and Maintenance Responsibilities

When something breaks or needs maintenance, who is responsible for the cost? When it comes to residential lease agreements, the landlord is typically the one responsible. This is where the lease agreement comes in handy – to help determine the answer to questions like these.

In the rare case that repair and maintenance fall on the tenant’s shoulders, cheaper rent is usually negotiated to compensate. Since the cost for repair and replacement of rental units can get expensive, it only makes sense to agree to be liable for repairs or maintenance if your budget allows.

Description of Rental Property

A detailed description of the rental property should be present in all rental agreements. This should include the square footage, number of bedrooms, and other crucial details about the property.

If any damages are present upon move-in, that should also be included in this section of the rental agreement. If it is not, many landlords provide a move-in checklist that allows tenants to document repairs needed at move-in to protect their security deposit from being held for previously existing damages.

Renewal and Termination Terms

The rules surrounding how to terminate or renew your lease should be plainly stated in your rental agreement. This means that you should have clear instructions regarding how much notice is required for either action.

This portion of the contract should also inform you of any consequences that may occur from breaking your lease early or failing to renew your lease.

Failure to include a term could result in the lease agreement defaulting to a month-to-month term.

Landlord’s Right to Enter Property

Even though renters legally reside on the property, the home is still the owner’s property. Landlords always include terms about their right to enter the property and what rules they must follow to do so, such as providing 24 hours’ notice.

Contact Information

Contact information for the landlord, tenant, and any other agency involved should be a part of any lease agreement.

Other Key Terms

Residential lease agreements are not limited to these terms. There can be many other details included in the lease agreement – it’s up to the landlord.

Here is a quick overview of other key terms that are often included:

  • Pet regulations
  • Insurance requirements
  • Utilities
  • Pest control
  • Sublease agreement rules
  • Other required disclosures
  • Contract length

In some cases, there can also be an addendum to the lease added. Addendums are additional terms that are added to the end of the contract that once signed, become legally binding to the agreement.

Common Issues in Lease Agreements

For property owners, a landlord-tenant lawyer can ensure that the contract is well-written to protect their interests. This includes spelling out provisions for the payment of rent, a pet policy, and more, as well as ensuring that the lease doesn’t contain anything that could land you in legal hot water.

For example, many landlords would prefer that their tenants not have pets, as even the best-behaved dog or cat can cause damage and bother other renters. It is possible to include a “no pets” policy in your lease. However, under federal law, you may be required to allow emotional support animals or a service dog. Your real estate lawyer can advise you on how to draft a lease that covers these situations or any other legal issues that arise due to the specific needs of your potential tenants.

The ultimate goal of a lease agreement for a landlord is to create a contract that ensures that your investment will be protected while avoiding any illegal or prohibited provisions. While there are many online lease templates, working with an experienced attorney can allow you to create a customized lease that addresses your unique situation. This includes making sure that you make all disclosures required by law.

The experienced attorneys at the Toepfer at Law, PLLC, law firm are here for all our client’s needs and offer free consultations to prospective real estate clients in need of legal advice.

See What Our Clients Have to Say

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He also was able to refine ambiguous language in our documents and filings to ensure they were clear and easily understood by all parties. He really is one of the “good guys” – he will fight for the best interests of the children and isn’t blindly one-sided. You will not go wrong hiring hiring his firm to represent you. I know where I will turn if I need an attorney in the future.”

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I first met Tony at a networking group and I could immediately tell he had an immense passion for his clients and career. The more I got to know Tony the more I knew he’d be the first people I would call if I ever had any legal questions or concerns. So when it came time to need a lawyer to help with some legal questions, Tony was the obvious choice. His response was quick and thorough and he made all of the legal terminology so easy to understand. Integrity is important in the legal field and Tony is nothing short of that.

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Contact Us

Toepfer at Law

58 10th Avenue S
Waite Park, Minnesota 56387

Phone(320) 497-4416 Fax(320) 295-7813
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