A lost lease agreement can leave you with a lot of questions regarding that contract. You may no longer know when, exactly, your lease runs out or what you’re responsible for as a tenant, for example. You may also have questions about your responsibility of basic maintenance or the landlord’s maintenance obligations.
If you lose your copy of the lease, you may want to request a new copy immediately — specifically in situations when you’re unsure about the important terms or rights you have in the lease. This guide will provide several ways of obtaining a new copy of your lease agreement.
What is a Lease Agreement?
Your lease agreement is the binding contract between a tenant and a landlord. The contract includes the practical details of your rental arrangement including:
- How much rent you must pay each month to occupy a specific property.
- How long you can occupy the property before you need to negotiate a new lease.
- What is included in your tenancy.
Ideally, you should keep track of your lease agreement at all times. You may need to know vital information contained in that agreement and refer back to it to determine key information. Many tenants can go through the entire tenancy without needing to refer back to the lease. If you do need your lease to resolve an issue, you may need to act quickly to protect your rights.
Why You Might Need a Lease Agreement
Some people assume that, as long as they know the basic terms of their lease agreement, they won’t have to refer back to the original document. You can remember how much rent you have to pay and when you have to pay it each month. Do you really need to refer back to the paperwork?
In some cases, you might find that you need to access certain parts of the lease quickly. Some landlords fail to act in their tenants’ best interests, which can lead the tenant to be in a disadvantageous position. Some examples include:
- They may try to institute unexpected fees that raise the rate of your rent.
- The owner of your unit may try to claim that you do not have the right to use certain facilities on the property. They might tell you that the storage areas are off-limits when your agreement says otherwise.
- You may end up with a fee for paying your rent at the wrong location or discover that you have to move out of your home quickly and unexpectedly due to your landlord’s verdict.
Any time your landlord does not consider your rights, or you have a question about the terms of your rental agreement, going back to the lease can provide you with vital information. In some cases, the form may indicate that you do not have specific rights.
For example, a lease could outline that your landlord is not responsible for trash pickup, or you need to make your arrangements for some types of repairs. In other cases, you may find that your issue is with the landlord, and you have the right as a tenant to pursue assistance or compensation to make your home environment more comfortable and reasonable.
What Happens When Your Lease Agreement is Lost?
Your lease is still binding even if you lose the original agreement. In most cases, the landlord or property manager will keep track of their copy of the lease. If you cannot find the lease or cannot remember the content, you will still be responsible for adhering to all the terms of the lease. If the lease term runs out unexpectedly, you may need to renegotiate your lease quickly, and that may leave you with fewer options.
If both parties lose the lease agreement, you may need to sign a new agreement. You may be able to use that opportunity to negotiate new lease terms. Usually, you have to sign the standard contract used by the property management company or landlord.
4 Ways to Get a Copy of Your Lease
Did you lose your copy of the lease? Whether you need to refer back to the lease for a residential property or a commercial one, you have several options for getting a new one.
1. Contact your landlord.
If you work directly with your landlord, the process of your request will be very simple. Landlords must keep up with their end of the lease, so they will probably have a copy of the agreement organized somewhere. You can contact their number or find them in their office if they have one.
2. Get in touch with the property manager or management company.
If a company manages your rental property, you may find that the company uses a standard rental agreement and can easily provide you with a copy. That entity should also keep a copy of your specific paperwork on file for later reference.
3. Check with local housing authorities.
In some cases, especially if action has been taken against a specific landlord in the past, those authorities may have a copy of the lease agreement on hand.
4. Bring in a tenant representative.
This person can help you get a copy of any important paperwork or information. If you and your landlord lost the lease, both parties must re-sign that agreement. Your tenant representative can also perform a lease audit and help you renegotiate the lease in your best interests.
Take a look at your state’s laws regarding tenant rights to understand how long your landlord has to respond and how to request a copy of your agreement or other information related to your rental property. In California, for example, your landlord has fifteen days to provide you with a copy of your lease after you issue a request. If you do submit such a request, keep track of the dated request so that you can prove it later if needed.
Lost Lease Agreement? We Can Help You Recover It
Dealing with a lost lease or arguing with a landlord can prove incredibly difficult, especially if you aren’t sure about your rights. You may also be worried that there may be a violation of the terms of your agreement.
An expert can help you better understand your rights or help you seek a copy of the paperwork related to your rental. Contact The Genau Group today if you need assistance in recovering lost lease agreements or if you have other tenant-related questions.