Seven Lease Clauses That May be Unenforceable

September 18, 2013


Erin Hooper

Rent Manager on Laptop

Many property managers and landlords believe that when a renter signs a lease, it’s a legally binding contract because they agreed to the terms set forth. However, just because something is stated in the lease, doesn’t mean that it is actually enforceable in a court of law.

Here are seven lease clauses that may be unenforceable depending on the laws in your state…

Waiver of Rights: Any clause which states the tenant agrees to waive all of their rights or waive the right to a jury trial.

No Notice: Any provision that declares that the landlord may enter the rental unit at any time without providing notice.

Full Liability: Any article stating the tenant is financially responsible for all damages to the rental unit, or is liable for any injuries, regardless of landlord negligence.

Repossession: Any clause which expresses that the landlord can take possession of the property if the tenant falls behind in paying rent. There are certain steps that need to be taken in the event of non-payment/eviction.

Legal Fees: Any provision stating that the tenant will pay the landlord’s legal fees in the event that any lawsuit transpires, regardless of fault.

Termination: Any clause declaring that the rental agreement may be terminated with shorter notice from one party over the other. Equal notice is required for both parties.

Excessive Late Fees: Any article that states the tenant will pay an excessively high late fee. Note: what is considered as excessive varies by state. Research your state’s Landlord and Tenant Act to determine what is deemed acceptable. As a rule of thumb, a late fee in excess of 5% might be determined as unreasonably high.

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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