Terms to Consider Including in Your Lease Agreement

what to put in a lease agreement

While no lease agreement can contemplate every possible scenario that might arise, we have collected a list of terms a lease agreement might be missing that are worthy of consideration. Please note that we are not suggesting that you should include any of these terms; this is simply a compilation of ideas that we came across online mostly in response to the question, “What’s the typical lease missing that you’ve added to yours?”


  • Require a photo of the pet, vet and licensing information, and the name and contact information for a person who does not reside on the property who can be responsible for the pet.
  • State how often dog waste in the yard must be picked up.
  • State how often litter boxes must be cleaned.
  • State that dog nails must be appropriately maintained to prevent damage to hard wood floors, etc.
  • State that no feeding of wild animals is allowed.

Pest Control:

  • Require acknowledgement that unit is pest free upon inception of lease.
  • If bedbugs weren’t there within the first 30 days of tenancy, then the tenant is responsible for remediation.
  • Add something in that obligates the tenant to cover the cost of pest remediation if the issue was caused by the tenant (not disposing of trash properly, leaving food out, etc.).
  • Tenant is responsible for reporting any pest issues immediately.


  • Tenant is responsible for snow and ice removal from entry steps and sidewalk.
  • No changes can be made to the landscaping.


  • Specify number of vehicles per unit.  Specify if you allow motorcycles/boats.
  • Specify driveway or street parking only.
  • Working on vehicles in parking spaces or garages is prohibited.
  • Inoperable or abandoned vehicles will be towed away at the vehicle owner’s expense.


  • No hanging of signage of any kind.


  • The unit shall only be occupied by the number of named occupants provided in this lease agreement.
  • Tenant is responsible for the actions, liabilities or damage created by any and all occupants, guests and invitees.
  • Guests cannot stay for more than seven consecutive days.
  • Landlord has the right to exclude any person not on the lease who interrupts the quiet enjoyment of the community.

Limitations on use of property:

  • Illegal activity is prohibited on the premises.
  • Property may not be used as a short-term rental.
  • Tenant will not operate any business from the residence, including, but not limited to, a day care center, senior living facility, halfway house, massage parlor, gambling enterprise, laundry service, etc. Tenant does not have the right to rent out or sublease any space in or on the property. No transfer of tenancy is permitted.


  • No open flames/candles of any kind.
  • No smoking of any kind.
  • Residents must report when smoke alarm is beeping and should not disable it or take it down.
  • No blocking of entries or exits.
  • Any firearms on the premises must be disclosed and be secured in a gun locker or with a trigger lock.
  • No tampering with the safety devices (fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, security alarm, etc.).
  • The tenant’s emergency contact must be updated annually.

Late Payments:

  • No grace period for late payments.
  • Late fees will be charged as a form of additional rent.
  • Tenant is hereby notified that a nonpayment, late payment, or breach of any of the terms of this rental agreement will be submitted/reported to a credit and/or tenant reporting agency and may create a negative credit record on tenant’s credit report.


  • Landlord and tenant will conduct a video walkthrough at the beginning of the lease recording tenants agreeing that there isn’t physical damage.
  • Time of day lease starts.

Maintenance Requirements:

  • Tenant is responsible for taking trash cans to the curb for collection on trash pick-up days.
  • Landlord will change air filters for the unit.
  • Tenant is required to provide immediate notification of any water related repairs, etc. or tenant can be held liable.
  • Nothing may be placed in the toilet except toilet tissue and excrement. Toilet and drain clogs are the responsibility of the tenant. 
  • Trash clause (storing of trash and/or keeping your area clean).
  • Tenant must protect the hard wood flooring with felt pads under furniture legs.
  • All light bulbs were in working condition when rented and must be working when exiting.
  • When notice is given to tenant for work/repairs to be done on the property, inside or outside, and landlord, or any contractor or vendor is denied access, or cannot access house or yard for any reason, then tenant will be charged a $65.00 fee. It is the tenant’s responsibility to respond to notices sent as requested. Failure to do so may result in notices being mailed certified or delivered by other means that will result in a $25.00 notice fee charged to tenant.
  • If there is damage by a tenant and it is large enough to need to file an insurance claim and is not covered by their renter’s insurance, they are responsible for reimbursing landlord for landlord’s deductible within 60 days.
  • The tenant has a responsibility to prevent mold growth. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, running the exhaust fan when showering, not running humidifiers in the property, cleaning bathrooms regularly and reporting mold upon first sight.
  • Provide list of items included with the property (washer, dryer, etc.). Tenant is responsible for full payment to replace missing items. Tenant is responsible for repair/replacement where damage to items is due to tenant negligence.


  • If there is evidence of over-usage, the tenant will pay the difference. But be specific about usage and consider setting a ceiling to trigger billing. The lease agreement might say “If the gas and electric bill is under $50/month, the landlord will pay it on behalf of the renter as a courtesy. If the gas and electric bill is over $50 in a given month, the renter will be responsible for their own bill, in its entirety.”
  • There is no use of shared electricity for the charging of electric cars.
  • The property owner shall not be liable for damages resulting from the interruption of any utility services provided to the premises due to power outages or other such events, or owner shutoff for purpose of repair.

Early Termination Fee:

  • Include a sizable early termination fee to discourage tenants from terminating the lease early without cause.


  • Landlord has the right to conduct regular inspections (quarterly or semi-annually). State how much notice will be provided to the tenant and in what form the notice will be provided.


  • Specify time of day lease ends.
  • Upon move-out, the house must be clear of all your possessions, including furniture, paint, chemicals, cleaning supplies, mops, etc. Large trash items must be picked up before move-out.
  • Unit must be in broom clean condition upon final departure.
  • All keys and garage door openers must be returned upon move-out. Failure to do so may result in a fee for re-keying.


  • No oral agreements have been entered into, and all modifications and notices shall be in writing to be valid.
  • No water beds.
  • No fish tanks.
  • Landlord has the right to cancel the lease in the event of sale or destruction of unit.
  • Limits on number of people per bedroom.
  • Tenant insurance must list the property owner as an additional insured. Tenant insurance must include personal liability coverage.
  • No satellite dishes on roof. Tenant may have dish installed in back yard on pole only
  • For multi-tenant units, be sure to put clauses in the lease that dictate that even if one person moves out, the total amount of rent will still be due.
  • Tenant may not change or re-key any locks.
  • Tenants are responsible for lockouts.

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice. The terms of a landlord’s lease agreement should be reviewed and approved by his/her legal counsel.