Common Lease Terms

Common Lease Terms: 

Arrears - Overdue rent

Assign - Transfer the unexpired portion of a lease

Cause of Action - Specific situation that may become the basis for a lawsuit

Civil - A non-criminal legal matter; housing disputes are often settled in civil court

Covenant - A promise

Default - To forfeit or lose by omission to perform legal obligation

Demised Premises - The place being rented

Destraint (proceed by distress) - THe landlord takes your personal property to force you to pay or eventually sells it to get the money.

Enjoyment - Possession or occupancy of land

Eviction - Depriving a person of occupancy; constructive occupancy does not actually remove the tenant, but makes it impossible for the tenant to remain because of conditions, i.e. serious deterioration

Goods and Chattels - Personal property

Grace Period - The amount of time past any due date for rent during which no legal action will occur or penalties apply. Some rental agreements have no grace period.

Holdover - Retaining possession of rented real estate after the lease term expires or the landlord demands possession because of an alleged breach of the terms in the lease by the tenant

Indemnify and Hold Harmless - To free from any responsibility or liability

Inure - To take effect

Lease - A type of legal agreement establishing a landlord-tenant relationship

Lessee - The tenant

Lessor - The landlord

Liability - Responsibility, loss, a negative element

Notice to Vacate - Notification for the landlord to the tenant ordering the tenant of the property to move out

Parties to a Lease - Those who agree to abide by the provisions of a lease; usually, you as the tenant, any housemates as co-tenants, and the landlord

Possession - Lawful occupation and use of land and property

Sublet - Agreeing to permit someone else to use rented property for a period less than the lessee's term. The lessee will be paid by the subletor

Summary Proceeding - To recover possession; i.e. eviction

Term of Lease - The length of time that al ease shall be in effect

Twenty-Day Notice - On a month-to-month tenancy, this is the notice that either party must give the other to terminate the tenancy; the twenty days must include a full rental period. In other words, if you give notice on the first of the month, you can still be liable for rent through the end of the month,depending on the terms of your specific month to month rental agreement.

Waiver - Relinquishment of a right, agreeing to give up something that you are entitled to.

Our Source: E.J. Goodman. The Tenant Survival Book. New York: New American Library, 1974. Consider contacting your local bookstore to purchase a copy of this book or one similar! Second source:the Washington State Landlord Tenant Law.