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What is the difference between a

Rental Agreement and a Lease Agreement?


Before a property is rented a Landlord makes the most appropriate decision by taking into account the differences between a Rental Agreement and a Lease. Many times these terms are used interchangeably, they are not the same.

The most prominent difference between these agreements is that, a standard Rental Agreement is a month-to-month agreement and a Lease Agreement are for longer term periods such as 6 months, 1 year or longer and agreeded by the tenant.


Rental Agreements

  • Standard Rental Ageements are month-to-month.
  • Rental Agreements auto-renew without notice after each 30 day period has elapsed as long as the landlord or tenant HAS NOT requested to vacate the premises. In most states both the landlord and tenant are required to give a 30 days notice to vacate. This should also be a written notice.
  • Rental Agreement Changes,  can include a rent increase, modification(s) to the terms and conditions or a request to vacate the property. Again in most states both the landlord and tenant are required to give a 30 day notice before any changes can be made and subject to any rent control laws.
  • All Changes should be given with a proper written notice.
  • It Is Strongly Advised that Rental Agreements are documented in writing and signed by both parties. In the Rental Agreement it should state the notice period required by the landlord and tenant to make any changes or to vacate and that all notices be in writing.   


Lease Agreements

  • A Lease has a specific term set that the tenant agrees to rent the property, such as 6 months, 1 year or more than a year.
  • Tenant and Landlord are obligated and bound to the terms and conditions of the written agreement.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the Lease Agreeement are set for the term of the lease but can be change when the lease term expires or upon a mutual agreement with the proper document(s) in writing and signed.
  • The Landlord can not change the terms or raise the rent during the lease term unless the tenant agrees.
  • The Tenant may not vacate the premises without breaking their lease. Some states require the tenant may be held liable for the remaining amount of rent due under the lease.
  • When the Term of the Lease expires it does not usually automatically renew unless otherwise stated in the lease. The lease should state any notice period required or not required for the renewal or non-renewal for a lease. If a lease does not state the terms for renewal or non-renewal than if the tenant stays after the terms of the lease with the landlord's consent the lease becomes a month-to-month lease, subject to the rental terms that were in the lease.