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How to Write an Apartment Lease Agreement

May 24 2024

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Write an apartment lease agreement with ease. From tenant and landlord details to payment terms and maintenance responsibilities, here’s what to include and how to write a rental lease agreement.

Are you a landlord looking to lease one of your properties? A prospective tenant trying to understand what a lease is all about?

Understanding a well-drafted rental lease agreement is key. And, in this guide, we’re showing you what an effective apartment lease agreement should contain.

From outlining the essential details to offering some tips to work with it, you'll get everything you need to know:

Let’s start taking a look at apartment lease agreements.

Common FAQs about apartment lease agreements

You can learn more about apartment lease agreements before we jump into how to write them. Here are answers to the most common questions below.

What is an apartment lease agreement?

An apartment lease agreement is a legally binding arrangement between a landlord and a tenant. It is meant to outline terms and conditions for renting an apartment.

The agreement specifies important details such as the duration of the lease, the monthly rent amount, deposit requirements, rules, obligations, and responsibilities for both parties, including those for maintenance and repairs.

The lease agreement ensures that both the landlord's and the tenant's rights are clearly defined and protected throughout the rental period.

What is the purpose of an apartment lease agreement?

An apartment lease agreement is essential for several reasons. A lease provides:

  • Legal protection for the rights of both parties.
  • Clarity in the responsibilities and obligations of both parties.
  • Financial security to enforce and outline the rent amount, due dates, and security deposits.
  • Property policies and obligations for repairs and maintenance.
  • Dispute resolution guidelines to resolve issues regarding the agreed-upon terms.
  • Eviction procedures outlining when and how a landlord can end the lease and evict the tenant.

An apartment lease agreement essentially ensures that all parties are on the same page about what is expected and required from each other.

When do you need an apartment lease agreement?

In general, an apartment lease agreement is needed whenever you need to update the terms of the rental agreement or clarify any residential, legal or financial confusion. Below are some instances:

  • When a tenant moves into a new rental property.
  • Renewing the lease to continue the tenancy.
  • Changing terms to the rental agreement, such as rent increases, updated policies, or maintenance responsibilities.
  • Subletting the apartment.
  • When new roommates move in.
  • Following legal compliance with local rental laws.
  • Protecting the interests of both the landlord and the tenant.

What do you include in an apartment lease agreement?

In a standard residential lease agreement, you should include basic and essential information. In general, this includes tenant and landlord information, property details, the lease duration, rent amount, maintenance responsibilities, rules and policies, and legal terms.

Tips for writing an apartment lease agreement

Because lease agreements are legally binding, it’s important to effectively work with them, whether you’re drafting one in full or filling one out.

As such, you should create it digitally, anticipating that the lease will also be edited, filled out and exchanged digitally. You can use Xodo to help with such tasks.

How to write an apartment lease agreement

Here’s how you can write a simple lease agreement by including not only essential details, but form fields to collect information, as well. We cover everything in detail below.

Information to include in your apartment lease agreement

Here is the main information you should include in an apartment lease agreement:

  • Basic information of both parties: Include the information details for all tenants, landlord, and any guarantors – names, contact information, and any other references needed.
  • Information about the rental property: In the lease, discuss and describe the rental property as it concerns the tenant. Include common areas, parking spaces, storage lockers, or facilities tenants have access to, as well.
  • Monthly amount: This will probably be one of the most important pieces of information to include. Describe in detail how much, in total per month, the tenant is expected to pay and what that amount covers. Be sure to address if a security deposit is needed, what maintenance costs there are, and how the tenant can pay.
  • Lease term: When discussing lease terms, be sure to also cover start and end dates, options for renewal and terms or conditions for breaking the lease.
  • Rules and policies: Cover rules and guidelines for anything from smoking and pets to parking and renovations.
  • Consequences: If there are any late fees, penalties or costs for either being late with payments or damage to the property, you should have a section that addresses how these should be handled.
  • Legal terms: Consult your provincial housing and rental laws to ensure everything about your property and apartment lease agreement terms are covered.
  • Information about the rental property: Clearly outline all the terms and conditions of the rental contract. This includes liability, rules and policies, and the responsibilities and rights of both you and the tenant.
  • References: You’ll also want to request references – character, financial, and work, to ensure the tenant is a good fit for the property and your relationship with them as a landlord.
  • Additional documentation: When you need background information, request a list of documents needed, such as identification, payment stubs, letters of employment, and so on.

Expert Tip: Merging PDFs of important documents can be an efficient way to keep all the tenant’s information with the agreement in one file. 

Formatting your apartment lease agreement

You should format your rental lease according to how you need to use and present the information.

For an apartment lease that’ll be used to collect information, you should format it with form fields alongside the textual content of the agreement. Some items that would require form fields:

  • Tenant’s current information: This includes things like address and contact information.
  • Financial information: Ensure that you have references and assurances that the tenant can pay rent. For instance, you’ll want to ask for information such as annual income, current pay stubs, assets, accounts, and a history or letter of employment.
  • Signature fields: Including signature fields is essential to acknowledge that the applicant has read and understood the agreement and that you also hold yourself to the agreement. You may want to consider signatures for witnesses, as well.

Once you have your main form drafted, you can upload it into Xodo’s form builder to add text fields, radio buttons, and other popular form fields.

Upload your PDF in Xodo’s PDF Editor and from the toolbar drop-down menu, select Build Form.

Then click on the form field you wish to include from the toolbar and click on the page to place it and customize the appropriate settings for the field where needed.

Once all the fields are set up, click on Apply Fields and click on Download to save the changes to your PDF.

Building apartment lease agreement form with Xodo

How to work with your apartment lease agreement

If you have an apartment lease agreement drafted and ready for applicants to review in PDF, you can work with it online using Xodo. Here's how.

Save a digital copy of your apartment lease agreement

You’ll be able to save the digital copy of your lease agreement and keep it accessible. This can come in handy if you have multiple applicants or need to send one to a new prospective tenant.

Xodo is an online platform that comes with its own Xodo Drive cloud storage so you can instantly access your documents anywhere.

Edit and update your apartment lease agreement

If your lease is already in the PDF format, you can still make modifications to it and update any details you need with Xodo.

Simply upload and open your PDF in Xodo’s PDF Text Editor and use any of the editing tools available.

You’ll be able to edit your PDF content by modifying, deleting, or adding text to PDF pages, and even matching the formatting of the existing text.

Editing PDF apartment lease agreements

For apartment lease agreements that are in DOCX format, Xodo also offers an online DOCX Editor which you can use in the same manner for DOCX documents when you don’t have access to MS Word.

Adding a signature to your apartment lease agreement

Any apartment lease agreement will require signatures, and the good news is that you can keep things digital and do it online with Xodo.

Go to Xodo’s Sign PDF tool, upload your PDF, and select the Signature button from the toolbar. Then type, draw, or upload an image of your signature and simply drag it to where you need it on the page.

Sharing and downloading your apartment lease agreement

Once you’re done putting together, filling, editing and signing it, you can use Xodo to download and share the PDF version of your apartment lease agreement (or the DOCX version).

  • Download your PDF

When you're finished working on your PDF on Xodo, just click on the Download button and save it to your device.

Alternatively, if you’ve saved a copy on Xodo, you can simply go into your Xodo Drive and click on the 3 horizontal dots beside the file. Then click on “Download” from the options listed.

  • Share your PDF

To share your file with Xodo, simply click on the hyperlink icon. In the dialog that appears, toggle on the Anyone with this link can view and edit a copy of the file option. Then click on the Copy Link button.

This will create a 30-day sharing link to a copy of your apartment lease agreement, which you can send to your applicants.

If you make any changes to the file, though, note that you’ll have to re-send a new link. Just repeat the steps above after you’ve made your updates. That’s it!

Sharing PDF copy of apartment lease agreement

Apartment lease agreement templates

For templates and other lease agreement formats, below are a few tips on ways to find samples and ideas to follow:

You’ll want to first try and see if the municipal government for your area has resources on residential lease agreements on their website. If so, they’ll have policies to follow and other legal sources to tap into.

You can also search websites with downloadable lease examples to give you a general idea of what has been used. If you’re in the states, for instance, LegalTemplates.net offers free printable lease agreement templates by state, so you can find examples tailored to the rental laws in your location.

Use Xodo to help with your apartment lease agreement

Crafting an apartment lease agreement can be tedious, but with the tips, templates, and tools above, you have everything you need to ensure an accurate agreement that can prevent disputes.

Whether you’re drafting, signing, or storing one, your apartment rental agreement is a document that Xodo can help with at any stage in the process.

With over 30 PDF tools, you can perform tasks like store, edit, fill, and sign PDFs online anytime.

Try Xodo on your next apartment lease agreement and find out how smooth the process can be.

Explore Xodo For Free!
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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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