RENTING WITHOUT A LEASE
Most property managers and landlords require all tenants to sign a lease to protect the legal rights of both parties. However, in some instances you can rent an apartment or house without a lease, especially if you know the person. If you are renting without a lease you need to know that you are taking a big risk, especially if something goes wrong down the road. Be aware of the precautions when renting without a lease so you can know what to expect and what rights you do have.
Benefits to Renting Without a Lease
Renting without a lease, like recycling grocery bags can benefit you in a number of ways, especially if you are unsure of where you will be in a few weeks or months time. If, for example, you get a job offer in another town, you are not locked into a one year contract. You can pack up and go by the end of the month.
If you are looking for places to live and a landlord does not require a lease, you have the right to be concerned and suspicious. Ask them why there is no lease in place. Without a lease the landlord has the right to kick you out with no notice at all. They also have the right to up to rent anytime they want. You, on the other hand, have the right to leave anytime you wish. Even if you have agreed orally to stay for six months, without a written contract, you are not legally required to stay.
Renting without a lease, in essence, means that you do not have any responsibility. If the plumbing breaks, if the windows crack, if the carpet gets stained, there is nothing in the lease that addresses how to overcome these obstacles. As it is not your home, you can easily just pack up and walk away. Not having a lease in place, however, does not mean you can do whatever you like. You still need to be courteous and respectful.
In some instances there will not be a written contract in place but there will be a number of rules and regulations that must be adhered to. For example, if your landlord says no pets, this means no pets. If you do let your dog come and live with you, then you are breaking the oral agreement. While you may not face legal action, you can still face eviction as well as a poor reference from the landlord.
One of the main times in which you will rent without a lease is if you are renting a place that is owned by a friend or a family member. Keep in mind, however, that friendships can turn sour and family members often get in huge fights that may impact your rental situation as well. It is best to leave your personal and your professional life away from one another as, if something does go wrong, you don't want to jeopardize both your home and your friendship in the process.
If you are looking at a place and the landlord does not require a lease, then you need to use your best judgment to determine if you should proceed or not. Renting without a lease can be beneficial but it can also be disastrous. If you feel good about the place and trust the landlord, then the situation may work perfectly. If, however, you have a bad feeling, trust it and move on. At the end of the day, you will be grateful that you did.