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What Is A Standard Lease Agreement?

What is a lease agreement?

A “lease agreement” is often defined as a document that officially outlines the terms under which one party agrees to rent property from another party in a legally binding relationship. The purpose of lease agreements is to protect both the lessee (renter/tenant) and the lessor (property owner/landlord). A standard lease agreement is composed of different parts.
1. Name(s) of all the “Parties”
The lease agreement should include all potential tenants and landlord. There does not necessarily have to be a separate lease for each tenant but each individual must sign the lease/rental agreement. This ensures that everyone is bound by the terms stated in the document and legal action can be taken if one of the terms are broken.
2. Where the property is located/Description of the property
The “premises” should state the where the house/apartment/condo is located. It should also identify the type of place that is being rented. Often, the lease agreement should specifically and explicitly ensure that everyone is aware of the place being offered.
3. The term and limits of occupancy
A standard lease agreement should state the beginning and ending terms of the lease by date so there is a clear understanding of when the tenant can move in and when they must leave. Rental agreements are usually month to month and will have a different set of rights compared to a lease which is usually a year long.
4. The amount of rent/When the rent is due
Rent is an important part of the lease agreement and both parties should agree on the price that is stated on the document. There should also be an exact date showing when the rent will be collected (each month). This make sure there is no confusion when it comes to paying the correct amount each month and when it needs to be paid.
5. Security Deposits and fees
Landlords usually collect a security deposit at the beginning of the lease in which the tenant promises to treat the property respectfully. There should be an exact value stated for the deposit.
The security deposit is usually returned to the tenant after they move out if everything goes smoothly. If not, it may be used for issues like damage repair (this should also be stated in the agreement). There are non-returnable fees that must be stated.  It is encouraged to do extensive research on the state limitations since it varies throughout the country.
Note In Ontario Canada a deposit of Last Month's rent is required when signing. Damage deposit cannot be asked for but can exist with mutual agreement. 
6. Alterations, Repairs, and Maintenance
These are important aspects to the lease agreement because they should state if the tenant is allowed to do things like paint the walls, install systems, and things of the like. If they do make any alterations without permission, they may be subject to legal prosecution. It also helps clarify whether or not the tenant will be fined if anything wrong happens to the premise where they are living. The tenant may also be required to uphold the quality of the area and pay for damages from neglect.
7. Access to property
As a precaution, the lease agreement should also state the landlord’s right to access the property if situations arise. This prevents claims of illegal entry from the tenant. It should also be stated that the tenant will be notified beforehand (and how much of an advanced notice will be given) if the landlord were to visit the premise.
8. Pets and conditions
There will often be a segment regarding whether or not the tenant is allowed to house pets. Even if pets are allowed on the premises, this portion of the agreement should state any restrictions there are (pets may be limited to small animals such as fish or hamsters). This should also indicate that the tenant keeps the area clean.
9. Other/Legal Restrictions
A section is needed to make sure that both parties are aware of all the laws that bind them to this legal document. This could include “health and safety codes” as well as state laws that must be followed in a household. The lease should explicitly restrict illegal activity so that other residents and/or neighbours will not file lawsuits.
In general, there are many other things that could be included in a lease agreement such as a smoking policy, parking, utilities, types of furniture, termination, noise levels, attorney fees, and perks. Individuals must make sure to read things carefully and understand what they are signing!
Sources:
https://legaltemplates.net/form/lease-agreement/?gclid=CJ6BkrLEm8wCFVFgfgod3SsGeA
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/terms-lease-rental-agreement-29776.html
http://realestate.findlaw.com/landlord-tenant-law/standard-lease-provisions.html
https://www.dca.ga.gov/housing/specialneeds/programs/documents/C-2SampleLEASE.pdf
In this article

How To Deal With Noisy Neighbors

If you’re living next to this crowd, chances are you’ve had some issues with noisy neighbors. We’re sure the rowdy parties your neighbor is throwing would be better suited for a poolside in Vegas, and you wish everyone would quiet down and play a nice, heathy game of charades instead. They could be blasting Taylor Swift while you’re trying to catch up on work, and you’ve gotten way too accustomed to hearing an off key version of “Blank Space” when you would rather be hearing crickets. If it’s time to put an end to the noise pollution you have been dealing with since you moved in, we’ve got just what you need.

1. Communication Is Key

We know you want to post anonymous passive aggressive messages on your neighbors’ door. We also know you would rather your neighbors be able to read your mind, and turn the volume down whenever you decide you’re ready to hit the hay.
Here’s the thing. If you haven’t said anything, your neighbors may not think their noise bothers you. The first step is to have a direct and kind conversation with your neighbors about their noise. Knock on their door at a time that you are calm, cool, and collected. You’ll have a much more constructive conversation that way.

2. Make A Connection

During your conversation, show your neighbors understanding. Maybe their current life goal is to be able to play every TV Show theme song ever written on the recorder. That being said, late night recorder playing probably is not the best for your sleep schedule. If you can phrase your confrontation in a positive way, i.e. “I love that you play the recorder! I can’t wait to hear the theme song from Friends.” It will create a connection with you and your neighbor. Hopefully this connection will inspire them to accomplish their life dream while still being considerate of you.
The positive connection can create a mutual respect between you and your neighbor, and communicates that you are both understanding of their noise habits, and are trying to compromise. Plus, if you ever make noise at a time that bothers them, you want your neighbors to show the same understanding and kindness to you.

3. Offer A Solution

It helps if you have an idea in mind for when you can deal with the noise. Be specific about when you need the noise to stop. This way, your neighbors know exactly when you are frustrated by their noise, and can aim to turn down the volume when you need to sleep or focus. Make sure to say “thank you” after your conversation.
Even though your neighbors are doing something that frustrates you, you want to the conversation to end on a positive note. Showing you are grateful will hopefully make them more willing and able to compromise. You may also want to document your request in writing if this initial conversation does not help.

4. Block It Out

Even if your neighbors are being compliant, your apartment may still have thin walls. Invest in earplugs for nights you need to get some solid rest. Plug in your noise canceling headphones to get work done. Grab a “white noise” app on your iPhone, and hook it up to your speakers to drown out excess noise.

5. Check Your Lease

Hopefully speaking with your neighbor face to face solved all of your issues. If it did not, be sure to review your lease. Your lease may have rules specific to noise pollution in your building. Take out your lease and reread the sections on noise. Your landlord may have a “Quiet Hours” policy in effect, which means that all tenants are expected to lower noise levels by a certain time every night.
Knowing what is expected of the tenants in your building will help you know what time noise is reasonable, and what time noise is excessive. Keep in mind that noise over a certain decibel (specific to your city or county) is always considered excessive.

6. Know Your Rights, and Document Everything

Check your local city or county noise ordinances so that you are aware of what noise level is deemed acceptable (and not acceptable) in your specific location. Write down the time and type of noise you hear every time it occurs. You can show this list to your landlord when it clearly shows that one tenant in particular is making excessive noise.

7. Speak With Your Landlord

If nothing else has worked, talk with your landlord about the noise issues you have been having. Present your list of documented noise concerns, and let them know what steps you have already taken to solve the problem. Be sure to be respectful, thoughtful, and calm when expressing your concerns. The landlord may be able to issue a written warning to the tenant in question, especially if the noise violates their lease. It is a good idea to have this conversation (if possible) when your neighbor is being especially noisy, as this will provide first hand evidence.

8. Call the Police

Calling the police (on their non-emergency line) is a last resort for dealing with noise. Be sure to call when your neighbor is making excessive noise so that the police are aware of the exact issue and can shut it down immediately.
So there you have it. We hope these tips help you solve your issues with noise pollution. On the other hand, if your neighbor is Jay-Z and he’s throwing a loud house party, you might want to score an invitation instead.

Sources
1. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/noise-ordinance-noisy-neighbor-30308.html
2. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/noise-ordinance-noisy-neighbor-30308-7.html
3. http://real-estate.lawyers.com/landlord-tenant-law/problems-with-neighbors-in-a-rental-property.html
4. http://landlords.about.com/od/TenantIssues/a/Handling-Tenant-Complaints-About-Noise.htm
5. http://lifehacker.com/5868482/how-to-complain-about-your-noisy-neighbors-without-being-that-guy
6. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/rental-apartment-noise-nuisance-laws-california-50126.html
Cover image via flickr user adifansnet
Zumper articles should only be considered a resource. Please consult your lawyer for legal advice.

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