The 10 Essentials To Include in Your Standard Lease Agreement

Updated September 27, 2022.

The lease agreement is a document that establishes the terms and conditions of renting property. Lease agreements typically cover how much rent is to be paid, what happens if the tenant doesn't pay it, what will happen when they move out, and more.

If you're not sure what to include in a thorough rental contract, it could be worth it to hire a property management company to you with a basic lease agreement template. You can also keep reading here to learn ten items that our Boston rental property management company suggests to include in all rental properties leases.

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1. Identify All Tenants and Occupants

Every adult who resides in the rental, whether a member of a married or unmarried couple, should be named as a tenant and sign the lease agreement. Each renter is legally bound to pay the total amount of rent and comply with all other lease agreement terms. If children also live in the home, note them as additional occupants in the residential lease agreement. 

2. The Lease's Duration

How long is the lease? The lease agreement establishes the length of tenancies, whether it's long-term (12-18 months), short-term (3-6 months), or month-to-month. Make sure the document includes the start date, length, and expiration date of the occupancy.

3. Rent Details

The rent payment amount is a crucial detail! The lease should also include how it should be paid, such as by mail or through an online portal, and the penalties for late payments. Work with a Boston property management company to set up the best methods for rent collection and ensure better on-time rent payment rates!

4. Description of Rental Property

Noting the property's complete address is good, but don't stop there. Many potential legal issues can be avoided by including a description of the property, specific storage areas, other structures, or parking spaces. For example, note the stall or space number if the rental includes assigned parking.

5. Security Deposits and Fees

Avoid some of the most common conflicts between landlords and renters by being clear about your expectations in the lease, including:


  • The amount of the security deposit

  • How the deposit might be used

  • When and how you'll return the deposit and any deductions you'll make after the tenant leaves

  • Identify the nonrefundable fees, such as for cleaning or a pet deposit

Check with an attorney or hire a property management company to help with legal issues regarding the tenant's security deposit.

6. Repair and Maintenance Policies

Your best line of defense against rent-withholding difficulties and fights over security deposits is to clearly describe your repair and upkeep procedures according to the state's laws. These rental agreement details should include:


  • The tenants' responsibility to keep the premises clean, sanitary, and free of any damage (excluding normal wear and tear)

  • When and how the tenant should tell you about anything that is dangerous or in need of repair

  • Restrictions on tenant repairs and alterations (for example, prohibit unauthorized painting of the rental property)

Clear policies and penalties for house violations help protect your properties!

7. Landlord's Right to Enter Rental Property

The lease should note when and how you will conduct inspections or request entry into the property. Make sure these details comply with your right to access the rental to avoid tenant claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy rights. Check with local laws or have a property management company review your lease information about entering a residential property.

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8. Rules and Important Policies

To avoid potential eviction situations, the lease must include house rules and consequences for violations. The following are some of the most common landlord policies found in standard lease and rental agreements:


  • No illegal activity. Include a clause prohibiting disruptive and unlawful conduct, such as drug dealing and usage or excessive noise.

  • Smoking. You may prohibit or restrict smoking in your rental, but make sure it's in the lease. If you don't want smokers, note that the ban covers all types of tobacco, including marijuana and e-cigarettes.

  • Pets. You have the right to prohibit or restrict pets in your rental, except for service animals or an emotional support animal. If pets are permitted, make sure to include the criteria for approved pets. 

With a thorough section of lease rules, a property manager can help you enforce the rules and protect your investment from things like "emotional support animals" or service animals that are really pets trying to get around the rules. 

9. Contact Information

Make sure residents can reach you! Texting may be suitable for certain situations, but you'll want to document conversations with a tenant. For example, owners may require tenants to submit a written request for repairs or reasonable accommodation.

10. Required Landlord Disclosures

For disclosures, work with an attorney to make sure your lease includes everything required in your lease agreement. For example, you might be required by law to disclose lead-based paint or the unit's bed bug history.

Let a Boston Property Manager Help with Your Lease Agreement

While we hope these ten lease essentials help you create airtight custom leases, there's much more to a standard lease agreement than these items. If you have further questions, reach out to the property management professionals at CHARLESGATE Property Management! 

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