Residential Lease Agreement

8 Must-Have Clauses in Your Residential Lease Agreement

The residential lease agreement is the contract document that spells out the terms and conditions of engagement between a landlord and a tenant. The landlord offers the tenant a house for rent with the tenant undertaking to make prompt rental payments.

While the landlord holds an upper hand by virtue of him being the property owner or legal representative of the property owner, he has the obligation of allowing the tenant to have quiet enjoyment of the property for as long as the tenant is making the requisite rent payments. ( For more details, see our article on obligations of the tenant and landlord in a lease agreement)

Jonathan Ng’eno

For rent Basic facts Description Neighborhood Features Video Date added: 09/14/20 Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3 Area: 12.000 acres Lot size: 1200 sq ft Status: Available Type: Master Ensuite Rent period: Per month 1 2 Description Accessible via Langata Road, and walking distance from Langata Shopping Centre,this property is 4BR Maisonette with detached S/Q.

Below, we explore 8 must-have clauses for the residential lease agreement to be watertight.

  • Term of the residential lease agreement– The contract period of the lease must be specified. Hence the residential lease agreement must have a lease commencement date and a lease expiry date, or in the absence of the latter, it should be easy to determine when the period of the lease ends. For instance, if the residential lease agreement is for one year from 1st April 2020, it goes without saying that it will expire on 31st March 2021.  When the residential lease agreement expires, the contract is automatically terminated, and the tenant can vacate without notice to the Landlord. Likewise, the Landlord can demand vacant possession of the house for rent without issuing any other notice.
  • Rent and Mode of Payment- A contract is not complete without consideration. The Landlord offers the house for rent in exchange for an agreed amount of rent. The rent is determined on a willing buyer, willing seller basis. The mode of payment must also be clear in the residential lease agreement i.e parties should agree on whether rent is payable monthly bi-monthly, quarterly, or even yearly in advance. The applicable penalty in the event rent is delayed should also be agreed upon. It is also recommended that the parties agree on the specific interval or date of the month on which rent is expected. This helps both parties to plan accordingly to avoid financial disruptions leading to unnecessary disagreements and/ or legal disputes.

Greatwall Gardens

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  • Deposit Payable – Deposit ordinarily acts as security against financial loss by the Landlord. Such loss may be occasioned by default in rent payment by the tenant, failure by the tenant to give the requisite notice to vacate, or where a tenant vacates leaving the house in disrepair. The parties should also agree on deposit amount to be set aside  to cover defaults in service charge (where applicable) and  utility bills Given the fact that deposits are paid as security against payment defaults, utilizing the same while still in occupation of the house is not advisable.
  •   Notice to Terminate Tenancy– There are varied reasons why either party would wish to terminate tenancy (See our article on reasons for terminating tenancy). Houses for rent are the Landlord’s investment, sometimes the only source of livelihood and hence the need for the tenant to give the Landlord prior notice of intention to terminate a tenancy for purposes of financial planning. In the same manner, the tenant needs sufficient time to search for alternative accommodation if the landlord wishes to have the house back for whatever reasons. Unless otherwise provided, the standard requisite notice is one calendar month. In the event one is not in a position to give notice, there is the option of payment in lieu of notice.
  •  Responsibility to Repair –It is expected in law that the tenant will leave the house in the same state it was when he took possession. Where the house had been repainted and repaired before the tenant taking possession, the tenant will be responsible for the costs of restoring the house to the initial repair and maintenance state before vacating. Wear and tear as well as structural repairs are however exempted as they are the landlord’s responsibility. The lease should also be specific on how to handle changes or improvements to the property. Normally, any alterations to the property require the landlord’s express approval. Where the tenant has been allowed to carry out any of these, the residential lease agreement should be clear as to which of the two parties will bear the cost and what happens regarding the same at the expiry of the tenancy. The practice is that improvements of any permanent nature or those that may affect the structure of the property if removed should form part of the building structure and hence cannot be removed. Those that can easily be detached without interfering with the form of the building, e.g. water heaters, hanging cabinets can however be removed when the tenant is vacating.

Westlands :Located at the junction of Rhapta and Lantana Roads

For rent Basic facts Description Neighborhood Features Video Date added: 10/02/20 Bedrooms: 5 Bathrooms: 3 Area: 3000 sq ft Lot size: 300 sq ft 1 2 Description Westlands :Located at the junction of Rhapta and Lantana Roads: Four (4) Bedroomed ( Three Ensuite) duplex apartment comprising spacious lounge, dining room, spacious fitted kitchen with built-in […]

  • Deposit Refund –  If the tenant meets all obligations prior to vacating as expected in the lease, then the deposit should be refunded in full, otherwise, deductions tantamount to outstanding rent/  renovation costs and pending utility bills should be made from the deposit and the tenant refunded any balance thereof if any. Where these exceed the available deposit held, the Landlord may opt to demand settlement by the tenant. Modalities of effecting the foregoing should be spelled out clearly in the residential lease agreement.
  • Subletting – The parties should agree in advance on whether the tenant is allowed to part with possession of the premises by way of either subletting or assignment. While in subletting, the head tenant offers part of the space to someone else and retains part hence becoming the head tenant, in the assignment, he/she leaves the entire space to a third party to carry on with the lease under the original terms agreed between him and the property owner. (See our article on Pros and Cons of subletting). Due to the transfer of responsibilities involved, this clause must be clear on who will be responsible for the payment of rents and for any damages caused on the property.
  • Other applicable terms on the use of the property– The residential lease agreement should state clearly that the premises will be used for residential purposes only and bar any change of user or use of the same for illegal purposes.

4BR ( Master Ensuite) Maisonette with separate 1BR Guest House/ Servants Quarter t

For rent Basic facts Description Neighborhood Features Video Date added: 10/02/20 Bedrooms: 5 Bathrooms: 3 Area: 3000 sq ft Lot size: 300 sq ft 1 2 Description BR ( Master Ensuite) Maisonette with separate 1BR Guest House/ Servants Quarter to let. Ground Floor comprises spacious lounge, dining area, fitted kitchen with external laundry guests bedroom […]

These are some of the most crucial clauses that must feature in your residential lease agreement

 There are also silent clauses that apply in all tenancies whether expressly stated in the lease or not (See our article on implied terms and conditions of tenancy)

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, being aware of these clauses will go a long way in ensuring a cordial tenant-landlord relationship that gives both parties their desired peace of mind.

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