Free Lease Agreement
Free simple lease agreement, that you can create in 2 minutes!
Simplicity: The 2-Minute Lease AgreementActually, it took me closer to two-and-a-half to create a free lease agreement on our landlord app, but that’s because I had to explain every feature to you in the demo video (below). Our simple-yet-powerful online landlord software lets you build a free lease agreement faster than ever before. You simply select your rental unit (or add a new one), and enter the relevant details: the tenants’ names, the rent, the security deposit, a few others. We even show you state law tips along the way, so you know the rules and limits in your state. After answering these few basic questions, you click a button and voila! You download your free rental agreement to print or email. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Free Lease Agreement Questionnaire in Action
Brian creates a rental lease agreement in roughly two minutes in the demo video below. We’re keeping it easy around here!
Our lease questionnaire lets you select the options you want, enter details like rent and security deposit, and choose optional rules like tenant maintenance responsibilities. And where needed, we provide you with state law tips to help you keep your lease legal in your state!
(You can catch a glimpse of our lease questionnaire above. Or just watch the two-minute demo video )
How Can We Offer a Free Lease Agreement?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. What’s the catch?
Here’s a refreshing splash of honesty: the truth is, we hope to persuade you to buy our premium state-specific lease agreement. It’s better! As an attorney-approved rental contract, it’s more protective of you and your property. You get what you pay for, right?
But we also know that not every landlord is at a point in their career where they appreciate the power of a landlord-protective lease agreement. And there are times when landlords may not need a full-armor, bulletproof tank of a rental lease agreement.
For landlords who just want something quick and simple, we’re happy to oblige you, and show off just how awesome our online landlord app is.
One-Click Import from Tenant ScreeningWhen you review tenant screening reports in our landlord software and approve one, you can import all the renter information to a free lease with one click. That includes the renter’s name, email address, the property’s rent, security deposit, address, and more. All you have to do from there is select a lease term, late fees, and any other options you want in your lease. You can literally create a free rental agreement in under five minutes!
Download Your Lease as a PDFAfter creating your free lease agreement in our questionnaire, you can instantly it as a PDF. No delays, no watermarks, just a free lease PDF file that you can sign with your tenants. And, of course, you can keep making as many edits as you want in the questionnaire. Email the lease PDF, print it, do whatever you want with it. It’s free and it’s yours.
Improve Your Odds of Getting Paid with Online Rent Payments
Wouldn’t it be nice if the rent just appeared in your bank account every month?
Waiting for mailed paper checks and making bank runs to deposit cash and checks is so 20th Century. Require your renters to pay rent electronically!
They can pay by ACH (bank transfer) or credit card, so they have no excuses left not pay their rent on time. It’s 100% secure, and your tenants never see your personal banking details.
Welcome to rent collection in the 21st Century!
Never Hand the Keys Over Without a Written LeaseWhether you use our free lease agreement, our state-specific rental agreement, or go hire an attorney to draft a lease contract for you, you need a written lease. Otherwise, you’ll be up (the) creek without a paddle as soon as your tenants challenge you. When you go to landlord-tenant court, the first thing the judge will ask to see is your lease agreement. If you say “We don’t have one,” then guess what? It’s your word against the tenant’s. Who’s responsible for utilities? For shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs? How much is the late fee? How long is the grace period? If you don’t have a written lease agreement, be prepared for the eviction process to take twice as long, and for the tenant to be twice as likely to win whenever they challenge you.
Deni & Brian on Lease Clauses & Protecting Your Property (and Profits!)
What Is a Lease Agreement?
A lease or rental agreement is a contract between two parties, where one party (the landlord) provides use of their property, and the other party (the tenant or renter) pays them weekly or monthly rent in exchange.
Lease contracts include terms such as:
- Parties (the landlord or property manager and tenant names)
- Rent amount
- Security deposit
- Term (how long the contract period lasts)
- Late fees
- Returned payment or insufficient funds fees (NSF fees)
- Rules of use
- Rights and responsibilities of each party
They can be as short as a one-page lease agreement, or hundreds of pages long with endless legal disclosures and addenda.
Types of Lease Agreements
Sometimes landlords use the term “rental agreement” to refer to short-term contracts, less than one year. These could mean month-to-month lease agreements, or a brief fixed term such as six months.
Often these landlords refer to “lease agreements” as being longer fixed-term contracts, typically one year or longer.
But legally there’s no difference between a “rental agreement” and a “lease agreement.” Both terms refer to the same legal document, and our free rental agreement lets you choose between a fixed term, week-to-week, or month-to-month.
Likewise, the terms “rental lease,” “rental contract,” “lease contract,” and so on ad nauseum all refer to the same legal contract. Different names, same document.
Don’t sweat the name, do sweat the details. Make sure that whatever lease document you use is comprehensive and protects you as the landlord!
Other types of lease agreements include:
- Month-to-Month Lease Agreement: These contracts don’t have a set end date or term, they’re open-ended and can be terminated by either party, typically with 30 days’ written notice.
- Weekly Rental Agreement: Open-ended contracts just like month-to-month leases, except they run week-to-week.
- Family Member Rental Agreement: Often a simple contract that just puts the basic rules in writing. Our free rental agreement is a good fit for family member leases.
- Condominium (Condo) Rental Agreement: A standard residential lease agreement, but it often includes special condo association rules and fees.
- Roommate (Room Rental) Agreement: Used when a homeowner or primary tenant rents out rooms in a home. Sometimes these include lifestyle rules such as quiet hours, party policies, kitchen use, dishes, and so forth.
- Sublease (Sublet) Agreement: A lease where a tenant rents out some or all of the unit, collects rent, and otherwise acts as an intermediary with the actual landlord. The tenant still remains liable to the landlord for their sublessor’s actions.
- Parking Space Rental Agreement: As the name suggests, you rent out parking spaces with a parking space lease agreement. People use these for boats and RVs, not just cars and trucks.
- Rent-to-Own Lease Agreement: These contracts include extra terms, specifying the purchase price, timeframe for buying, and how much (if any) of each rent payment goes toward the tenant-buyer’s down payment.
- Vacation (Short-Term) Rental Agreement: If you rent directly to guests, rather than going through a platform like Airbnb or VRBO, you need to sign your own short-term rental contract with guests.
- Commercial Lease Agreements: Used for commercial properties ranging from office buildings to retail space to restaurants to niches like self-storage.
- Equipment Lease Agreement: People sign equipment rental agreements for items like heavy farm equipment or kitchen equipment used in restaurants.
- Hunting Lease Agreement: If you own land, you can lease hunting rights to people who want to use your land for hunting game.
How to Lease a Residential Property
When you have a vacant rental unit, your first priority is advertising it for rent. List vacant units for rent on several websites at once (including Zillow, Trulia, and Zumper) with our landlord software.
Next, collect rental applications and run tenant screening reports (request these in 30 seconds using our software). You chose your renter, and from there you can sit back and let the online rent payments flow into your bank account, right?
Not without signing a legal lease agreement first! Because understandings not written down quickly become misunderstandings.
That raises another question though: Can you use a free rental agreement template and still protect yourself legall?
Answer: It depends.
Start With the Basics
Whether you use a free rental agreement template, pay an attorney to draft one, or build a state-specific rental agreement, you must include certain basics. At the risk of stating the obvious:
- Full names of tenants. A tenant or renter is one who assumes liability to fulfill the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. That includes ponying up the dough. A good rule of thumb, ALL occupants over the age of 18 should be named as a renter. It helps protect you the landlord a bit more.
- Names of the occupants. These will be all those under the age of 18.
- Correct rental unit address. Did you just chuckle at this? Well, before you have too good of a laugh – one mistake like reordering the digits of the street address or putting the wrong apartment number could cause an issue later on if you find yourself before a judge. Most judges will understand. But some will use it against you. Here is where you learn that most judges favor your renter.
- Rent amount. Okay, this one is pretty obvious. Most free lease agreement templates provide for the common pay-each-month scenario. However, look for flexibility to accept rent weekly, bi-weekly, or even semi-annually. These are often not covered by free rental agreements.
- Lease term. In all lease agreements even the free lease agreement template, this is an important aspect.
- Security deposit. Now hear this! Most every state has specific landlord-tenant laws surrounding the collection of, the handling of and the disposition of a security deposit. Remember, when using a free rental lease agreement, often there are generic terms. And this includes those for a security deposit. Did you know that one of the most common disputes between landlord and tenants is security deposit-related? So, what to do?A lease with a definitive beginning and ending date is called a fixed-lease agreement amongst other things.
A lease with no specific ending date is called a periodic lease. Most periodic leases run month-to-month.
And most free rental lease agreements offer that as a choice. However, not all free lease agreement templates give you more flexibility here.
Arm yourself with knowledge, learn your landlord-tenant regulations.
If using a free lease agreement template, understand that they may not include extras like move-in/move-out condition forms. So, get one!
Understand the difference between “normal wear and tear” and “damage.” One you can charge your tenant for, the other you can’t.
But unfortunately, there’s much more to a lease than just the basics.
Landlord and Tenant Laws by State
Each state imposes its own landlord-tenant laws. Sometimes those laws cover legal language or disclosures that must be included in a lease contract, but often they’re less explicit.
For example, many states put limits on how much landlords can collect for security deposits, or charge in late fees. You need the knowledge, not just a lease template.
That’s why our lease questionnaire includes State Law Tips as you create your free rental agreement.
We think our free lease agreement is a pretty good bang for your buck, given the (non-existent) price tag. But most landlords want to use a full state-specific lease package, which is why we offer a premium state-specific version of your lease alongside the free lease. The state lease agreement includes all the protective legal language you want (and sometimes need) as a landlord, from protective clauses to legal discosures and addenda.
Addenda, Disclosures, and Riders
Not sure what all those lease attachments mean, or why you need them? Here are a few examples of lease addenda and disclosures.
- Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Statement (Checklist). Before your renter moves one box into the rental property, pull out this document and walk through with them, taking pictures and documenting condition. If anything isn’t perfect, mark it! And then have your soon-to-be renter sign it. Store it. (Guess what, the Spark Rental Landlord App will let you upload your documents, pictures, and receipts!)
- Did you know that you are required to provide your renter with a Lead Paint Disclosure if your rental property was built before 1978? It is true — and a federal requirement
- Allowing pets? Make sure you use an addendum that spells out all the rules and regulations. Include the type of pet, color, weight, and age. This leaves little room for sneaking in another companion.
- If you are using a co-signor, consider a co-signor agreement. This way all parties are on board!
- Non-Smoking, Guest Rules and Regulations, or just about anything can be added to a lease to make it specific to your rental situation.
It’s up to you whether you want to forego these documents and use our free lease templates. That’s why we offer a choice!
The Best Things in Life Are Free, Aren’t They?
John Ruskin, leading art critic of the Victorian era said a mouthful when he expressed, and I quote “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.”
Truth be told, you can grab a free lease agreement template from reputable sources, including the SparkRental landlord app. They include the basics, and a free lease agreement is absolutely, positively better than no lease agreement at all.
With that said, a free lease agreement is no substitute for a landlord-protective, state-specific lease agreement. Here are a few “what if” examples to illustrate:
- What if your rental property has hardwood flooring? It is expensive, and tenants are notoriously tough on flooring. However, when you include protective clauses that require tenants to put felt pads on their furniture feet, you can hold their security deposit accountable if they scratch up your floors.
- What if you pay for the water and sewer? In that free lease agreement template that you used, it did spell out the number of occupants. But what about usage caps? Tenant responsibility triggers? How about guest policies? The more people in the rental unit, the more expensive the water and sewer. Plus, added wear and tear!
Again, you must weigh the good and the bad, the free and the premium. Always, always, read through a free lease completely. Make sure it will stand up against your renters’ beating and judges’ scrutiny should you end up in court.
There are many states that have specific requirements for residential lease agreement clauses and language. Most free lease agreement templates do not contain them.
So, When Can I Use a Free Lease?
I am a proponent of lease agreements being comprehensive, state-specific and landlord-protective. I have spent well over 15 years researching landlord-tenant statutes, and residential lease law.
But there are always exceptions, right?
When renting to your family members or close friends in certain informal situations, a free lease contract may be acceptable. There may be other simple renting circumstances where a basic free lease agreement template will work for you.
FAQs About Free Lease Agreement
What are the big differences between the free lease agreement and one I pay for?
Most leases that you will pay for will provide a more landlord-protective platform that is compliant with each state. It will also provide the capability to edit for various situations. Not to mention add-ons and addenda, some that are state required. Whereas, a free or sample lease agreement does not generally offer those type of features.
What is the cost of the state-specific leases?
This depends on whether you signed up for a free, premium or our outstanding ultimate landlord app plan.
- Free account, state-specific leases cost $29 per lease,
- Premium account state-specific lease cost only $19
- Ultimate accounts only cost $9 per state-specific lease.
And for a short time, if you prefer, the completely editable, reusable Spark Rental State-compliant lease is still available for only a one-time fee of $50. Act now and you can even upload the lease to your Spark Rental Landlord App.
What happens if a tenant violates a lease?
You first send them an official eviction warning notice, asking them to correct the violation and giving them a time limit for doing so. If they fail to cure the violation within that timeframe, you file in court for eviction and go through the standard eviction process.
How do I evict a tenant without a rental agreement?
It’s definitely harder. While states recognize verbal lease agreements, there’s no way to prove what’s actually in them. That sets you up for a he-said/she-said situation when you go before the judge in court.
Bring whatever proof you can to show the judge. For example, if the renter claims they paid when they did not, bring your bank statements to show the lack of transfers or deposits.
How should I negotiate a rental lease agreement?
If prospective renters ask you for a lower rent payment or extra perks in the lease, consider it the opening salvo in a negotiation. You can propose a longer lease term (such as two or three years), with a preset rent increase scheduled. Or you can could offer cheaper rent in exchange for taking on some extra responsibilities around the property, such as shoveling snow for all the other units.
You don’t get what you deserve in life, you get what you negotiate!
How difficult is it to create the Spark Rental Free Lease Agreement?
Very easy, indeed! You will be walked through a simple builder that will ask you questions about the property, your tenants and for some other pertinent rental information. You complete the fields. And, voila! You can now print your sample lease on the spot!
What are my responsibilities as a landlord?
It depends on the terms you negotiate in your residential lease! But as a general rule, landlords must maintain the property and make timely repairs when needed, and must provide a habitable and safe living environment. That often includes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, for example.
Other questions? We’re an email away!