Many people incorrectly believe that a verbal lease agreement is not a binding contracts. A verbal lease agreement is actually a valid legal contract, but it is always recommended that all lease agreements become signed contracts between a landlord and tenant. This is a sensible solution, as it removes any possible future confusion that could relate to rental payments, maintenance of the leased property and/or landlord and tenant’s respective duties.
What often happens though, is that a verbal lease agreement is entered into but only later on is a written agreement created. There are some important points to note in this regard.
Firstly, a written lease agreement cannot table terms and conditions that are different to those created in the verbal agreement. If this occurs, the tenant has the right to refuse to sign the written lease agreement and the terms and conditions will have to be negotiated between tenant and landlord. Also, should a tenant request a written lease agreement from a landlord, the landlord is legally compelled to provide one. Learn more about Landlord Rights.
It’s always better for both tenants and landlords to create and sign a written lease agreement before a property is rented out.
What makes a legal lease agreement?
Renting out your property or renting a property from a landlord should not be a difficult process, but it can become stressful when a tenant or landlord does not keep to their commitments in terms of the lease agreement.
One of the most important ways to ensure that your lease agreement is valid and that the terms and conditions are clearly agreed upon is to ensure that the correct information is contained therein.
Information should be included in a lease:
- The full names, contact details and, if possible, identity numbers, of both the tenant and landlord should be included,
- The full address and a description of the property to be leased
- The amount of rent payable, when it will be due to be paid each month and the percentage or amount by which it may increase during the lease period
- The deposit amount payable before the tenant takes occupation of the property
- Information related to the care and maintenance of the property
- The differing duties and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant
- Information on how the utilities bills, such as lights and water, will be paid
- Notes on how the lease can be terminated by the landlord or tenant and
- The lease period and required notice period for terminating the lease
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