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August 31, 2018 |

Lease Terms: How Long Should They Be?

A Boston landlord tenant lawyer can provide comprehensive advice to property owners and to renters in negotiating the terms of a lease agreement. There are many provisions that need to be included in a lease, including details about what a tenant is permitted to do with the property and how much a tenant will pay to rent the space.

One of the most important terms in a lease agreement is a provision detailing the length of the lease term. In many cases, a rental lease will last for a one-year period of time, but this is not always the case and you may be able to negotiate a different agreement depending upon your preferences and your situation.  An attorney can help you to determine the ideal length of a lease and to negotiate a lease lasting for your preferred duration.

How Long Should Your Lease Term Be?

Typically, for most renters and landlords, it either makes sense for tenants to be at will or have a short-term lease, such as a 30-day lease, or to have a one-year lease depending upon the amount of flexibility that is desired.  However, a lease could also last for six-months, for a year, or multiple years, or for any length of time that a landlord and tenant can agree to.

The big benefit of short-term leases for tenants is that they can move on when they want. If a tenant has a one-year lease and needs to move, there could be serious financial consequences for breaking the lease including – in some cases – being responsible for paying the rent until the landlord is able to find a replacement tenant. 

But, the downsides of a short-term lease lasting 30 days are considerable for tenants. The landlord could evict them with just 30 days' notice, leaving little time to find a new place to live. The landlord could also raise the rent with just a month's notice, whereas with a longer lease the rent cannot be raised until the end of the term and until a new tenancy starts.

A 30-day lease also has downsides for landlords, in that a landlord doesn't have a long-term guarantee the rental property will produce income and the landlord may see higher turnover which necessitates paying costs associated with marketing and cleaning the apartment.

A one-year lease, which is very common for rental properties, provides stability for landlords and tenants, which is why it is so popular. Some tenants who know they want to stay put may actually prefer a lease that lasts longer than a year, but landlords may not agree unless there is a built-in rent increase or unless the landlord is confident that the tenant will not be a problem tenant.

When a landlord agrees to a multi-year lease, the landlord takes a bigger risk of getting stuck with a bad tenant or of losing the flexibility to increase rent or take other steps such as selling the property or converting the building to condos without having to worry.

A Boston landlord tenant lawyer can help both landlords and tenants to negotiate a lease that works for their situation. Contact an attorney today to learn more.

Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information

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