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Whether you are moving into your first apartment with your name on the lease, or you have lived in numerous rental property over the years, chances are that rent is one of your biggest if not your biggest monthly expense. Statistics indicate that the average American household that rents spends more than one-fifth of their gross income on rent. And if you are a landlord, the monthly rents you bring in may constitute your entire income. With those kind of numbers at stake, you may want to consider working with a lawyer to create, draft, negotiate, finalize, or simply review a residential lease agreement.

What Landlords Should Know About Residential Leases

As a landlord in Missouri, you will have to make sure that your residential lease agreement not only covers all financial issues between you and the tenant, but that it also complies with the requirements of Missouri law and does not violate the law. Some basic aspects to keep in mind are:

Does the lease cover the basics of the agreement? For example, does it include provisions relating to late payments, grace periods, rental deposits and return, and so on?
Does the lease cover any issues that might arise? Beyond the basic issues of rent, you will want to include provisions relating to pets, cleaning fees, noise issues, income requirements, yard care, repairs, etc.
What about subleasing? Subleasing is becoming more and more common as a result of online marketplaces, so make sure your rental agreement covers it.

In addition, landlords should make sure the lease complies with all state and local laws on issues such as discrimination and eviction procedures.

What Renters Should Know About Residential Leases

If you are a renter, you are most likely not in charge of creating a residential lease, but remember that you as a renter have the power to negotiate with your landlord on the terms of the residential lease. Just because a landlord might say that the lease is a “standard lease” does not mean that you do not have the right to ask for different terms. A few things to think about are:

  • Can you move out early? Depending on the type of lease you have (month-to-month, term, etc.) you may face financial penalties if you try to leave early.
  • Can you be evicted? Your landlord may try to evict you for any number of reasons, including personal conflicts or a desire to raise the rent. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot be evicted for.
  • Can others move in? A lease is an agreement between you and the landlord, but this does not necessarily mean that you cannot bring in another tenant, so it is important to make sure you are clear on who can occupy the apartment.

Convenient, Affordable Legal Assistance is Available for Your Residential Lease

At The Law Store, we provide legal services to clients who want straightforward but comprehensive legal guidance that meets their needs, and that is affordable and convenient. Whether you are a renter or a landlord, the attorneys at The Law Store can help you with all aspects of real estate law, from a simple review of your residential lease to make sure it meets your needs and to help you understand the terms to helping you create your own residential lease agreement tailored to your specific situation.

We make it simple to meet with a lawyer at The Law Store with convenient hours and scheduling options. The Law Store is open on weekends with evening hours on weekdays, and you can call to schedule an appointment, schedule an appointment online, or simply drop in during our operating hours. Come in and speak with us for FREE today.