Rental / Lease Agreements (by State)

Rental / Lease Agreements

A rental agreement outlines information about the lease, such as payment and residency terms and conditions, where else an application is used to evaluate a tenant’s suitability and eligibility for a lease by having them answer a few questions and fill in their information.

A rental agreement can be referred to as a contract between a person who wishes to lease property (a landlord/lessor) and someone willing to pay rent for its usage (a tenant/lessee), stating the terms and conditions of the lease.

A rental agreement is a legally binding agreement as long as both parties have signed and a sign of acceptance of the laid-out terms.

Templates By States

Select your state to download our free templates :

Templates By Type

Here are customizable free templates to be used as per need :

Commercial Lease Agreement

Condominium Lease Agreement

Family Member Lease Agreement

Hunting Lease Agreement

Lease to Own Option to Purchase Agreement

Month-to-Month Lease Agreement

One1 Page Residential Lease Agreement

Parking Space Rental Agreement

Roommate Agreement

Short Term Vacation Lease Agreement

Standard Residential Lease Agreement

Sublease Agreement

Week-to-Week Lease Agreement

The Process of Lease (How it Works)

A rental agreement will usually take effect after the tenant has made payments and occupied the space. It is to remain effective until the agreed end of the lease or should either party choose to terminate the lease. Therefore, a rental agreement is part and parcel of a lease. Now how do you go about a lease? There are a few steps a landlord and tenant can follow to actualize a lease. They include;

Space visit by tenant 

This is the first step of the process. It is unusual for tenants to agree to rent a space they have not yet seen. Both parties can agree on when to visit the property and determine if it is suitable for his or her needs and in an acceptable condition. The visit can be coordinated by a real estate agent, property manager, or landlord. The tenant then makes a verbal offer in terms of the monthly rental payment. In other cases, the rent is usually predetermined and declared in the advert.

Rental application

If the landlord and the tenant agree on the amount, the landlord can then hand the tenant a rental application to fill. At this point, the tenant is often required to pay a small fee to cover the costs of viewing the property and running a background check.

Tenant background check 

Background checks are conducted by the landlord to determine some aspects of the tenant, such as credit score, criminal history, and other official public federal, and State records. As a landlord, you can use the following resources to carry out a background check; the cost for a limited background check is usually $18.95, and for a more detailed background check, it is usually $35 per screening.

One can choose to eliminate certain applications at this point, or where only minor questions remain, opt to call their references or interview them.

Verification of references 

Often during the application, the tenant is requested to provide references that can be contacted to verify that the information provided is accurate. References could be your employer, former landlord(s), or someone who is not family. References are contacted to verify the information or provide additional information that would convince the landlord that the tenant is suitable for the lease.

Writing the lease

If the tenant satisfies the landlord’s requirements, the lease agreement can be drafted. Both parties meet and discuss the specific terms and conditions in detail. The items to be agreed on include;

  • The monthly amount of rent to be paid
  • Utilities such as water, electricity, sewage, heating, etc., and who shall cover these costs.
  • The move-in date. Often this will be at the tenant’s convenience.
  • Security deposit. This is the amount paid to show the tenant’s commitment to lease the property. It is normally determined by the landlord; however, it must not exceed the maximum amount permitted by State.
  • Additional fees such as parking, trash, maintenance, pets, etc
  • The lease term. This is the duration the tenant plans to stay at the property; this could be on a month-to-month basis or yearly.

Executing the lease

Once the involved parties have agreed on the terms and conditions, the next step is to implement the agreement. For the lease agreement to be effective, it does not have to be witnessed; however, it is recommended. Both parties can just sign, and the agreement will be valid. This is followed by the following actions.

  • By landlord- He or she hands the keys to the property and all common areas to the tenant. This is unless the tenant is to occupy the space at a later date.
  • By tenant- He or she pays the security deposit (could be a month’s rent), the 1st month’s rent, and any other required payments; for example, if the tenant plans to take occupancy before the actual lease start date, they would have to pay rent for the days prior.

Taking occupancy

This is done in two steps: you carry out a move-in inspection, and the other is the actual moving-in. The tenant moves around the property/space while listing the pre-existing damages or conditions of parts of the space. They then send a signed copy of the list of damages to the landlord. This is meant to shield the tenant from being wrongfully deducted for damages they are not responsible for. It also helps the landlord compare how the property was before occupancy and after to make appropriate deductions from the security deposit.

 In some states such as Arizona, North Dakota, Georgia, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maryland, Washington, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, a move-in inspection checklist is a requirement.

End of the lease

This is the end of the lease term; the landlord and the tenant can decide whether to renew the lease or not. There are distinct situations that are likely to occur at the end of the lease; for example, sometimes the landlord can decide not to renew the lease, yet the tenant wishes to continue occupying the space. Unfortunately, where the landlord does not want to renew or revise the agreement, you as the tenant will have to move out, and the landlord is expected to refund the security deposit minus any deductions permitted under the security deposit returning laws. The end of the lease can be followed by;

  • A renewal letter- This allows renewal of the lease, but in most cases, it is accompanied by changes to the initial agreement, such as increased monthly rent or more maintenance fees.
  • Non-renewal letter- Issued when one or both parties do not wish to renew or extend the lease agreement.

Lease Terms-Explained 

Beyond the basic terms of the amount of rent and length of lease term, there are other terms worth knowing. There are often pre-negotiated to avoid the probability of re-writing the entire agreement in case of an unprecedented event.

TermExplanation
AlterationsIncludes modifications to the property. Most landlords do not allow alterations, and if any are made, they dictate that the property be returned back at the end of the tenancy.
AppliancesWhere certain appliances such as cookers, washers/dryers are provided, they should be stated
Conditions 
Verbal Agreements
Where either party has other conditions, they would wish to include, they should be declared before the signature.
As verbal agreements are not legally binding, all negotiated terms should be listed in the lease agreement.
Furnishings
Waterbeds  
Available furniture such as beds, couches, other valuable items, etc., at the time of moving in should be listed to reduce ownership disputes when moving out.
Governing LawAs leases are governed by state laws, each party should be aware of the laws within their respective State.
Guests
Maximum Time Period  
The maximum number of guests who can be within the property at the same time should be declared to avoid unpermitted parties, which could result in penalties. If there’s a limit on the length of the lease term, it should be declared.
House RulesAny house rules such as roommates allowed, common areas etiquette tenants are expected to observe should be addressed.
Insurance (Bond)  A declaration of how much the landlord pays as insurance on behalf of the tenant should be included.
Late Charges
Grace-Period  
The amount to be charged for late payments should be stated and the length of the grace period. Both will vary from State to State.
Maintenance  How to handle maintenance should be addressed, such as what type of maintenance and when they should be carried out.
Monthly Rent
Payment
Due Date
Payment Location  
The total amount of rent to be paid, when and where to be paid should be declared.  The landlord should declare their preferred mode of payment, whether it is cash, checks, etc.
NoticesSituations that would necessitate notices should be stated, and how notices should be issued should be outlined.
Parking
Parking Fee
Parking availability should be addressed, and where fees are applicable, it should be outlined in the lease agreement.
Parties
Occupants
The landlord and the tenant should be identified in the lease agreement. Other occupants expected to be living with the tenant, e.g., the family members, should also be declared.
Pets
Pet Fee/Deposit
Where pets are not allowed, the landlord should specify, and where a pet fee is required, it should be stated. If the tenant has a pet, they should state so.
Property DescriptionA proper description of the property should be provided.
Receipt of AgreementEach party should have a copy of a receipt and acknowledgment of the lease.
Security DepositBoth parties (landlord and tenant) should reach an agreement on how the security deposit should be handled, if applicable.
Subletting
Airbnb 
Sometimes the tenant may choose to re-lease the property and act as the landlord to another individual. The landlord should state his stand, and where they do not allow this, they can declare it in the agreement. Airbnb is an example of such a subletting agreement, where tenants make extra income by renting their spaces.
Term
Fixed Term
Month-to-Month
 
An agreement of the type of lease term should be declared. A term could be fixed for a specific given period or month-to-month, allowing either party to end the lease with a 30 to 60 days’ notice.
Termination  Ordinarily, lease agreements do not include an option for the tenant to terminate the lease. However, landlords can state events that would prompt termination.
Utilities  Both parties should agree on how to cater for utilities, whether to share costs or allocate different utilities. Sewer services are often covered by the landlord.

Disclosures and Addendums

The lease agreement should have a section for disclosures and addendums. These are dependent on your state of residence. For example, in Florida State, landlords are required to offer tenants to complete a move-in inspection checklist as a means to reduce lease disputes.

Common Disclosures, notices, and addendums

Below is a list of these documents that one should consider before leasing property.

Late rent violations

Late rent payments can be handled either by imposing a late payment fee, which should be declared in the lease agreement, or the landlord issuing a Notice to Comply or Quit declaring the landlord’s power to terminate the lease if payment is not dully paid.

Other violations

Should the tenant or the landlord violate the house rules or lease terms, respectively. The protesting party can issue a Notice to Comply or Quit, which gives the guilty party time to resolve the issue or be in breach of contract. Some of the violations common with tenants include;

  • Loud Music
  • Property Damage
  • Unauthorized Pets
  • Too Many Guests
  • Illegal Activity

How to Fill a Rental Agreement

The following items should be evident in a standard lease agreement;

  • The Parties- this part identifies the involved parties (tenant and landlord) by name and addresses. It also includes the date of writing the agreement.
  • Lease Type- a statement declaring whether the lease agreement is fixed or on a month-to-month lease. If it is a fixed, a start and end date should be given.
  • Occupants- expected occupants such as children, roommates, etc., should be listed.
  • The Property- the leased property should be described in detail, such as a two-bedroom end-suite apartment.
  • Purpose- The tenant should declare their intended use of the property, e.g., business, residency, sub-letting, etc.
  • Furnishings- Provided furniture such as beds, wardrobes, couches at the time of moving in should be listed. 
  • Appliances- Any appliances that the tenant expects to be provided or the landlord intends to provide should be listed.
  • Rent- The rental amount should be declared in the lease agreement and the monthly due date.
  • Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF Checks)- How to handle NSF checks should be agreed upon, for example, by providing contact information to notify the tenant or applicable fees.
  • Late Fee- It is a section that highlights how late payments will be dealt with should be included, e.g., late payment penalty.
  • First Month’s Rent- When the 1st month’s payment should be paid should be outlined in the lease agreement.
  • Prepayment of Rent- Some tenants or landlords may prefer a couple of months’ rent to be paid in advance; if this is the case, it should be declared.
  • Proration Period- If the tenant plans to occupy the property before the date of moving in, the proration period should be declared and charged appropriately.
  • Security Deposit- Where a security deposit is required, payment amount, date, and method should be agreed on.
  • Move-in Inspection- A move-in inspection is a significant step, and where it is required by law, it should be stated.
  • Parking- Parking availability and applicable fees should be stated in the lease agreement to alert tenants with vehicles.
  • Sale of Property- Conditions that would govern the lease agreement should the landlord sell the property to another owner should be addressed in the lease agreement. Customarily, the initial agreement would apply or terminate, depending on how both parties agree in the lease agreement.
  • Utilities- Available utilities should be outlined, and payment plans should be discussed and agreed upon.
  • Early Termination- An agreeable way to deal with early termination should be outlined, and reasons that would prompt early termination can be declared.
  • Smoking Policy- The house rules regarding smoking should be addressed and any applicable penalties highlighted.
  • Pet Policy- If pets are allowed or unacceptable within the premises, the lease will demonstrate the landlord’s stand on the issue.
  • Waterbeds- Where waterbeds are not allowed, in efforts to avoid water damage caused by leakage should be declared.  
  • Notices- Methods of how notices will be issued and to whom should be outlined to prevent future claims that one party did not receive a notice.
  • Agent/Manager- Sometimes, landlords use agents and managers to manage their property. The agent in charge or manager should be identified in the lease agreement.
  • Lead paint- If lead-based paint was used, it is important that it be stated in the agreement as deteriorating lead-based paint from peeling, cracking, chipping, etc., can be hazardous.
  • Additional Terms and Conditions- Additional terms and conditions that each party might wish to add to the lease agreement can be added.

Landlord-Tenant Laws

Lease agreements between landlords and tenants are guided by different laws. This ensures both parties are protected under the law and can conduct transactions without exploitation or discrimination. Some of these laws will vary from one State to another, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the applicable laws in your State of residence.

StateLaws
Alabama (AL)Title 35, Chapter 9A (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)
 Alaska (AK) Title 34, Chapter 3 (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)
 Arizona (AZ)Title 33, Chapter 10 (Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)
 California (CA)A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities
 Colorado (CO)Title 38, Article 12 – Tenant & Landlord
 Connecticut (CT)Chapter 830 – Rights and Responsibilities of Landlord and Tenant
 Delaware (DE)Title 25 (Landlord-Tenant Code)
 Florida (FL)Title VI, Chapter 83, Part II – Residential Tenancies
 GeorgiaTitle 44, Chapter 7 – Landlord and Tenant
 Hawaii (HI)Chapter 521 Residential Landlord-Tenant Code
 Idaho (ID)Landlord and Tenant Guidelines
 Illinois (IL)765 ILCS 705/ – Landlord and Tenant Act
 Indiana (IN)Title 32, Article 31 (Landlord-Tenant Relations)
 Iowa (IA)Chapter 562A (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Law)
 Kansas (KS)Chapter 58, Article 25 (Landlords and Tenants)
 Kentucky (KY)KRS Chapter 383 (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)
 Louisiana (LA)Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord and Tenant Laws
 Maine (ME)Title 14, Chapter 710 (Rental Property)
 Maryland (MD)Real Property, Title 8 (Landlord and Tenant)
 Massachusetts (MA)Chapter 186 (Estates for years and at will)
 Michigan (MI)Chapter 554 (Real and Personal Property)
 Minnesota (MN)Chapter 504B (Landlord and Tenant)
 Mississippi (MS)Title 89 > Chapter 7 –Landlord and Tenant
Missouri (MO) Chapter 441 (Landlord and Tenant)
 Montana (MT)Chapter 24. Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
 Nebraska (NE)Article 14, Landlord and Tenant
 Nevada (NV)Chapter 118A (Landlord and Tenant)
 New Hampshire (NH)Chapter 540 (Actions Against Tenants)
 New Jersey (NJ)Title 46 (2013 Revised Statutes “PROPERTY”)
 New Mexico (NM)Owner-Resident Relations
 New York (NY)Article 7: Landlord and Tenant
 North Carolina (NC)Chapter 42 (Landlord and Tenant)
 North Dakota (ND)Chapter 47-16 (Leasing of Property)
 Ohio (OH)Chapter 5321 (Titled: Landlords and Tenants)
 Oklahoma (OK)Title 41 (Landlord and Tenant)
 Oregon (OR)Title 10, Chapter 90 (Residential Landlord & Tenant)
 Pennsylvania (PA)Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (Title 68)
 Rhode Island (RI)Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Chapter 34-18)
 South Carolina (SC)Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Title 27, Chapter 40)
 South Dakota (SD)Chapter 43-32 (Lease of Real Property)
 Tennessee (TN)Title 66, Chapter 28 (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)
 Texas (TX)Residential Title 8, Chapter 92
 Utah (UT)Title 57 – Real Estate
 Vermont (VT)Title 9, Chapter 137: Residential Rental Agreements
 Virginia (VA)Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
 Washington (WA)State Laws (Title 59)
West Virginia (WV)State Codes Chapter 37 (Real Property)
 Wisconsin (WI)Chapter 704 (Landlord & Tenant)
 Wyoming (WY)Article 12 (Residential Rental Property)

Security Deposit Laws

Security deposit, defined as an amount of money paid in advance as security against the tenant’s non-performance of the lease agreement obligation. It is returned to the tenant in totality if the leased property is returned unscathed at the end of the lease.  Should the tenant cancel the lease or get evicted, the landlord can keep the deposit.

StateMaximum ($)ReturningStatute
Alabama (AL)1 month’s rent60 days after the lease termination date and return/delivery of possession§ 35-9A-201
 Alaska (AK)2 months’ rent14 days if the tenant/lessee leaves on time, thirty days if they do not§ 34.03.070(a),§ 34.03.070(g)
 Arizona (AZ)A 1.5 months’ rent14 days from the move-out inspection (excluding. weekends and holidays)§ 33-1321
Arkansas (AR)2 months’ rent60 days from the termination of tenancy§ 18-16-304§ 18-16-305
 California (CA)2 months’ rent (unfurnished), three months’ rent (furnished)60 days after the move-out date1950.5
 Colorado (CO)No limitOne month if declared in the lease, two months if not§ 38-12-103 & § 38-12-104
 Connecticut (CT)1 month’s rent is 62 9sixty-two) years or older, two months’ rent if younger30 days after the move-out date or fifteen (15) days after receiving the tenant’s new address§ 47a-21
 Delaware (DE)One month’s rent for one (1)-year leases. No limit for all others.20 days from the lease termination dateTitle 25 § 5514
 Florida (FL)No limit30 days if there are deductions, 15 days if there are no deductions§ 83.49(3)(a)
 GeorgiaNo limitOne month after the termination date§ 44-7-34
 Hawaii (HI)1 month’s rent (excluding pet fee)14 days from/after the termination date § 521-44
 Idaho (ID)No limit30 days if stated/mentioned in the lease, and 21 days if not§ 6-321
 Illinois (IL)No limit30 days if deductions exist, forty-five (45) days if no deductions765 ILCS 710
 Indiana (IN)No limit45 days from the date of termination§ 32-31-3-12
 Iowa (IA)Two months’ rentthirty days after the tenant has vacated§ 562A.12
 Kansas (KS)One month’s rent (unfurnished), 1.5 months’ rent (furnished)30 days from the lease termination date§ 58-2550
 Kentucky (KY)No limit60 days from the termination date§ 383.580(7)
 Louisiana (LA)No limitOne month after the termination dateRevised Statute 9:3251
 Maine (ME)Two months’ rent30 (thirty) days if the lease is fixed-period, 21 days if the lease is tenancy-at-will§ 6032§ 6033
 Maryland (MD)2 months’ rent45 days from the rental agreement termination date§ 8–203
 Massachusetts (MA)1 month’s rent30 days after the tenant has vacatedChapter 186, Section 15B
 Michigan (MI)1.5 months’ rent30 days after the end of occupancy§ 554.602§ 554.609
 Minnesota (MN)No limitThree weeks after the termination date§ 504B.178
 Mississippi (MS)No limit45 days from the end of tenancy§ 89-8-21
Missouri (MO) 2 months’ rent30 days from the termination of tenancy§ 535.300
 Montana (MT)No limit30 days if deductions, ten days if no deductions§ 70-25-202
 Nebraska (NE)1 month’s rent (excluding pet fee)14 days of move-out§ 76-1416
 Nevada (NV)Three months’ rent30(thirty) days from the end of tenancyNRS 118A.242
 New Hampshire (NH)1 month’s rent or $100, whichever is greaterThirty (30) days, twenty days if the property is shared with the landlordRSA 540-A:6RSA 540-A:7
 New Jersey (NJ)1.5 months’ rent30 days from the termination date§ 46:8-21.2§ 46:8-21.1
 New Mexico (NM)1 month’s rent for leases one-year and under. No limit for residential leases more than one-year.30 days from the termination date§ 47-8-18
 New York (NY)1 month’s rentfourteen days after the tenant has vacatedEmergency Tenant Protection Act 576/74(f)§ 7-108 (e)
 North Carolina (NC)2 months’ rent, for tenancy-at-will only 1.5 (one and half) months’ rent30 days if no deductions, if there are deductions then an additional 30 days§ 42-51§ 42-52
 North Dakota (ND)1 month’s rent for no pets, two months’ rent if pets30(thirty) days from the lease termination date§ 47-16-07.1
 Ohio (OH)No limitThirty days from the termination date§ 5321.16
 Oklahoma (OK)No limitForty-five days from the termination date§ 41-115(B)
 Oregon (OR)No limit31 days from the termination date§ 90.300
 Pennsylvania (PA)2 months’ rent30 days from the termination date§ 250.511a§ 250.512
 Rhode Island (RI)1 month’s rent20 days from the termination date§ 34-18-19
 South Carolina (SC)No limit30 days from the termination date§ 27-40-410
 South Dakota (SD)1 month’s rent14 days if no deductions, forty-five days if deductions§ 43-32-6.1§ 43-32-24
 Tennessee (TN)No limit30 days from the termination date§ 66-28-301
 Texas (TX)No limit30 days after the tenant has vacated§ 92.103
 Utah (UT)No limit30 days from the termination date§ 57-17-3
 Vermont (VT)No limit14 days, sixty days if a seasonal property§ 4461
 Virginia (VA)2 months’ rent45 days from the termination date§ 55.1-1226(A)
 Washington (WA)No limit21 days from the tenant’s move-out date§ 59.18.280
West Virginia (WV)No limit60 days unless the property is re-rented within 45 days, then immediately§ 37-6A-1
 Wisconsin (WI)No limit21 days from the tenant’s vacancy date§ 134.06
 Wyoming (WY)No limit30(thirty) days from lease termination or 15 days from receiving the tenant’s forwarding address, whichever is lesser§ 1-21-1208(A)

Laws for Landlord’s Access

Sometimes the landlord might need to access the tenant’s premises, and as the tenant holds the right of privacy, the landlord must first issue a notice requesting permission to enter the property. This notice is given through a Right to Entry Form, which can be handed to the tenant, posted, mailed, or placed under the door. As the period of notice is determined by State, below are variant durations per State.

StateRequired NoticeStatute
Alabama (AL)2 days§ 35-9A-303
 Alaska (AK)24 hours§ 34.03.140
 Arizona (AZ)48 hours § 33-1343
Arkansas (AR)N/AN/A
 California (CA)24 for non-emergency, forty-eight (48) hours for the move-out inspection§ 1954
 Colorado (CO)*N/A*N/A
 Connecticut (CT)Reasonable notice§ 47a-16
 Delaware (DE)48 hoursTitle 25 § 5509
 Florida (FL)12 hours§ 83.53
 Georgia*N/A*N/A
 Hawaii (HI)2 days§ 521-53
 Idaho (ID)*N/A*N/A
 Illinois (IL)*N/A*N/A
 Indiana (IN)Reasonable notice§ 32-31-5-6
 Iowa (IA)24 hours§ 562A.19
 Kansas (KS)Reasonable notice§ 58-2557
 Kentucky (KY)2 days§ 383.615
 Louisiana (LA)*N/A*N/A
 Maine (ME)24 hours§ 6025
 Maryland (MD)*N/A*N/A
 Massachusetts (MA)Reasonable noticeSanitary Code (410.810)
 Michigan (MI)*N/A*N/A
 Minnesota (MN)Reasonable notice§ 504B.211
 Mississippi (MS)*N/A*N/A
Missouri (MO) *N/A*N/A
 Montana (MT)24 hours§ 70-24-312
 Nebraska (NE)1 day§ 76-1423
 Nevada (NV)24 hoursNRS 118A.330
 New Hampshire (NH)Reasonable noticeRSA 540-A:3
 New Jersey (NJ)1 day§ 5:10-5.1
 New Mexico (NM)24 hours§ 47-8-24
 New York (NY)*N/A*N/A
 North Carolina (NC)*N/A*N/A
 North Dakota (ND)Reasonable notice§ 47-16-07.3
 Ohio (OH)24 hours§ 5321.04
 Oklahoma (OK)1 day§ 41-128
 Oregon (OR)24 hours§ 90.322
 Pennsylvania (PA)*N/A*N/A
 Rhode Island (RI)2 days§ 34-18-26
 South Carolina (SC)24 hours§ 27-40-530
 South Dakota (SD)24 hours§ 43-32-32
 Tennessee (TN)24 hours§ 66-28-403
 Texas (TX)*N/A*N/A
 Utah (UT)24 hours§ 57-22-4
 Vermont (VT)48 hours§ 4460
 Virginia (VA)24 hours§ 55.1-1229(A)
 Washington (WA)Two days for repairs, one day for showings§ 59.18.150
West Virginia (WV)*N/A*N/A
 Wisconsin (WI)Advance Notice§ 704.05(2)
 Wyoming (WY)*N/A*N/A

Rent Due Laws 

A grace period is a period during which the lease rules and penalties do not take effect or are withheld. It protects tenants from being penalized or evicted despite being late on a payment. Grace periods will vary from one State to the other.

StateWhen is Rent Due?Laws
Alabama (AL)On the due date (no grace period)§ 35-9A-161(c)
 Alaska (AK)On the due date (no grace period)AS 34.03.020(c)
 Arizona (AZ)On the due date (no grace period)ARS 33-1314(c)
Arkansas (AR)On the due date in the lease, but there is a 5-day grace period before a late fee may be imposed§ 18-17-401(b)(1)§ 18-17-701(b)
 California (CA)On the due date (no grace period)CIV Code 1947
 Colorado (CO)Not definedNo statute
 Connecticut (CT)9-day grace period.§ 47a-3a(a)§ 47a-15a
 Delaware (DE)On the due date in the lease, but there is a 5-day grace period before a late fee may be imposedTitle 25, § 5501(b),  Title 25, § 5501(d)
 Florida (FL)On the due date (no grace period)§ 83.46(1)
 GeorgiaNot definedNo statute
 Hawaii (HI)On the due date (no grace period)§ 521-21(b)
 Idaho (ID)Not definedNo statute
 Illinois (IL)Not definedNo statute
 Indiana (IN)Not definedNo statute
 Iowa (IA)On the due date (no grace period)562A.9(3)
 Kansas (KS)On the due date (no grace period)§ 58-2545(c)
 Kentucky (KY)On the due date (no grace period)§ 383.565(2)
 Louisiana (LA)On the due date (no grace period)La. Civ. Code art. 2703(1)
 Maine (ME)15-day grace periodChapter 710, §6028(1)
 Maryland (MD)On the due date (no grace period)§ 8-401(a)
 Massachusetts (MA)30-day grace period.Chapter 186, Section 15B(1)(c)
 Michigan (MI)On the due date (no grace period)§ 554.131
 Minnesota (MN)Not definedNo statute
 Mississippi (MS)Not definedNo statute
Missouri (MO) On the due date (no grace period)Rev. § 535.060
 Montana (MT)On the due date (no grace period)§ 70-24-201(2)(c)
 Nebraska (NE)On the due date (no grace period)§ 76-1414(3)
 Nevada (NV)On the due date (no grace period)NRS 118A.210(1)
 New Hampshire (NH)Not definedNo statute
 New Jersey (NJ)Five business day grace period§ 2A:42-6.1(1)
 New Mexico (NM)On the due date (no grace period)§ 47-8-15(B)
 New York (NY)5-day grace periodHousing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019
 North Carolina (NC)4-day grace period§ 42-46(a)
 North Dakota (ND)Not definedNo statute
 Ohio (OH)Not definedNo statute
 Oklahoma (OK)On the due date (no grace period)§ 41-109(B)
 Oregon (OR)On the due date in the lease, but there is a 4-day grace period before a late fee may be imposed§ ORS 90.220(7)(a)ORS 90.260(1)(a)
 Pennsylvania (PA)Not definedNo statute
 Rhode Island (RI)On the due date (no grace period)§ 34-18-15(c)
 South Carolina (SC)On the due date (no grace period)§ 27-40-310(c)
 South Dakota (SD)Not definedNo statute
 Tennessee (TN)On the due date agreed in the lease, but there is a five (5)-day grace period after which a late fee may be imposed§ 66-28-201(c)§ 66-28-201(d)
 Texas (TX)Not definedNo statute
 Utah (UT)Not definedNo statute
 Vermont (VT)On the due date (no grace period)9 V.S.A. § 4455
 Virginia (VA)On the due date in the lease, but there is a five (5)-day grace period after which a late fee may be imposed§ 55.1-1204(C)(4)§ 55.1-1204(C)(5) 
 Washington (WA)5-day grace periodRCW 59.18.170
West Virginia (WV)Not definedNo statute
 Wisconsin (WI)Not definedNo statute
 Wyoming (WY)Not definedNo statute

Late Fees Laws

The maximum/highest amount a landlord can charge a tenant for making late payments is not defined in most states. This is left for both parties (landlord and tenant) to agree on the acceptable late fees within the lease agreement.

StateLate Rent Fees (maximum allowed)Laws
Alabama (AL)Not definedNo statute
 Alaska (AK)Not definedNo statute
 Arizona (AZ)No maximum, although it must be stated in the lease.ARS 33-1368(B)
Arkansas (AR)Not definedNo statute
 California (CA)Must be a “good faith estimation of the damages likely to be suffered/endured by the landlord in the case of a late payment.” Also, the late fee must be written in the lease.Orozco v. Casimiro, 121 Cal. App.4th Supp. 7 (2004)CIV Code 1962
 Colorado (CO)Not definedNo statute
 Connecticut (CT)Not definedNo statute
 Delaware (DE)5% of the monthly rent amountTitle 25, § 5501(d)
 Florida (FL)Not definedNo statute
 Georgia“All contracts for rent/lease shall bear interest from the time the rent is due.”Ga. Code § 44-7-16
 Hawaii (HI)8% of the expected monthly rent amount§ 521-21(f)
 Idaho (ID)Not definedNo statute
 Illinois (IL)Outside Chicago – Not defined Chicago only – $10.00 per month for the first $500.00 in monthly rent plus five percent per month for any amount in excess of $500.00 in monthly rent for the late payment of rent.No statute 5-12-140(h)
 Indiana (IN)Not definedNo statute
 Iowa (IA)If the rent does not exceed $700/month, the late fee cannot exceed more than $12/day per day or $60/month. If the rent is greater than $700/month, the late cannot exceed more than $20/day or $100/month.562A.9(4)
 Kansas (KS)Not definedNo statute
 Kentucky (KY)Not definedNo statute
 Louisiana (LA)Not definedNo statute
 Maine (ME)4% of the monthly rent amountChapter 710, §6028(2)
 Maryland (MD)5% of the monthly rent amountMd. Code, Real. Prop. § 8-208(d)(3)
 Massachusetts (MA)Not definedNo statute
 Michigan (MI)Not definedNo statute
 Minnesota (MN)8% of the monthly rent amount504B.177(a)
 Mississippi (MS)Not definedNo statute
Missouri (MO) Not definedNo statute
 Montana (MT)Not definedNo statute
 Nebraska (NE)Not definedNo statute
 Nevada (NV)5% of the monthly rent amountNRS 118A.210(4)(a)
 New Hampshire (NH)Not definedNo statute
 New Jersey (NJ)Outside Jersey City – Not defined Jersey City only – $35No statute Ord. 20-036
 New Mexico (NM)10% of the monthly rent amount§ 47-8-15(B)
 New York (NY)$50 or 5% of the monthly rent amount, whichever is lessHousing Stability and Tenant Protection act of 2019
 North Carolina (NC)$15 or 5% of the monthly rent amount, whichever is greater.§ 42-46(a)(1)
 North Dakota (ND)Not definedNo statute
 Ohio (OH)Not definedNo statute
 Oklahoma (OK)Not definedNo statute
 Oregon (OR)5% of the monthly rent amount, charged once for each succeeding 5-day periodORS 90.260(2)(c)
 Pennsylvania (PA)Not definedNo statute
 Rhode Island (RI)Not definedNo statute
 South Carolina (SC)Not definedNo statute
 South Dakota (SD)Not definedNo statute
 Tennessee (TN)10% of the monthly rent amount§ 66-28-201(d)
 Texas (TX)12% of the monthly rent amount if located in a building with four units or under or10% of the monthly rent amount if located in a building with more than four unitsSec. 92.019(1)
 Utah (UT)Not definedNo statute
 Vermont (VT)Not definedNo statute
 Virginia (VA)10% of the monthly rent amount§ 55.1-1204(E)
 Washington (WA)Not definedNo statute
West Virginia (WV)Not definedNo statute
 Wisconsin (WI)Not definedNo statute
 Wyoming (WY)Not definedNo statute

Key Takeaways:

A lease/rent agreement is a legally binding agreement used to protect landlords and tenants’ interests. Its content can vary from one State to the other.  It is a significant part of a lease and helps both parties decide if their expectations are met in the lease. It highlights the details such as rental amount, due date, lease term, security deposit, house policies, etc. Some of the terms and conditions are governed by state laws such as late fees laws, security deposit laws, due rent laws, and landlord access laws. Aim to familiarize yourself with the laws before entering into a lease agreement.

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