The Difference Between Lease and Rental agreement

What is a Lease?

A lease gives the tenant the right to live in a dwelling for a fixed time period which is usually 12 months, but it could be almost any length ranging from 3 months to 24 months or longer. Through a lease, the tenant and landlord mutually agree to fixed terms and conditions, such as the rent, rules regarding pets, duration of the agreement, subletting, etc. Neither party can change the agreement without written consent from the other party. A lease is mutually beneficial. A tenant cannot stop paying rent or vacate the property during the lease term, and the landlord cannot force the tenant to move. All of this would be against the lease agreement.

What is a Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement on the other hand is a month-to-month agreement. At the end of every 30-day period, the landlord and tenant are both free to change the terms. The landlord could decide to raise the rent or even enact a “no pet” policy. Likewise, the tenant could also just decide to leave and move elsewhere. Rental agreements renew automatically at the end of each 30-day period unless proper notice is given. This proper notice is defined by the terms of the agreement or by local laws. A rental agreement gives both parties the freedom to enjoy a month-to-month living arrangement, it gives both the tenant and the landlord a lot more freedom.

What is the Difference Between A Lease And A Rental Agreement?

Many people do not understand the difference between a lease and a rental agreement although they are both temporary, they aren’t the same thing. When you lease an apartment, it generally lasts for 12 months while a rental agreement generally lasts for 30 days. So, if you aren’t planning to stay in one place for at least 12 months then renting might be a better option for you. Some examples would be if you were just in town for an internship, or if you need somewhere to temporarily live while your house-hunting or you’re waiting on a work transfer to another city, all of these would be cases in which you would rent. A lease is a bit more long-term, it usually is a 12-month agreement, so if you are sure you are going to stay somewhere for a bit longer and you want that level of commitment then a lease is for you.

  • What are the pros of a lease:
    • The terms cannot change unless both parties agree to them in writing
    • Leases last longer and provide more commitment
  • What are the cons of a lease:
    • You can’t end a lease agreement before it ends
    • It’s not flexible
    • You have to see the lease term through (cannot vacate before the lease is over)
  • What are the pros of a rental agreement:
    • It provides more flexibility
    • It’s short term
    • It’s good during a transitional time
  • What are the cons of a rental agreement:
    • The terms can change
    • You have to give proper notice to stop the automatic renewal