There are many types and forms of leases, but for the purpose of this article, we will confine it to dwelling rentals.

So what exactly is a lease? In layman’s terms, it is an agreement (contract) between two parties, yourself (the lessee), and the landlord or letting agent (the lessor). The lease is there really to protect both parties by letting each know their responsibilities and obligations. This will include a number of terms and conditions which we go through shortly, so you are fully aware of what to expect before you sign. Should either party default, and be in breach of the contract, the offending party could be subject to legal action, or if it’s the tenant, subject to eviction.

What will the length of the lease be

Generally, a lease will run for a period of 6, 12 or even as long as up to 60 months. It is for you to discuss and decide with the landlord what will suit you. Often leases stipulate the time period, and this unfortunately is non-negotiable.

Who’s name will the lease be in

If you are moving into the dwelling as a couple, being married or otherwise, or maybe it’s yourself and a friend or friends, whoever’s name the lease is in, that person, he or she, will be fully responsible for honouring the terms contained in the lease.

Payment due

Depending on circumstances, this sometimes can be negotiated. Once an amount is set, a due by date will also be determined. This is the date your rent will be due. It is imperative that you pay either on or before this date, failing to do so can often lead to penalties, or worse still, legal action being taken. Also discussed will be, how the monies will be collected. Will it be by debit order, EFT or will you be paying cash. Should you have a problem for whatever reason to pay on time, be sure to let your agent or landlord know your problem, and what you intend doing. This will avoid things getting nasty and conflict occurring.


Before you move into your dwelling, in addition to your first month’s rent, you will be required to pay a security deposit. Deposits can differ from landlord to landlord, but generally will be equal to one month’s rent. Deposits are paid to protect the landlord should the tenant default in paying his rent or cause damage to the property. In order to avoid a dispute later on, be sure to read the section on deposit carefully. Things to look out for, are, how will the deposit be stored, will it be interest bearing, reasons why the letting agent can deduct part or all of the deposit, and the procedure for having the deposit returned.

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