Whether it’s to secure an apartment, home, vehicle, business space, or any other asset, most people will sign a lease at some point in their lives. As these legal documents are so prevalently ingrained in our modern culture, binding us with specific obligations for a fair length of time, it’s helpful to have a thorough understanding of lease agreements and what common problems to look out for before signing one. Below, Goosmann Rose Colvard & Cramer, P.A. expounds on these common problems and answers the most frequently asked leasing questions.

Entering into a lease with outstanding errors or unclear terms and conditions will inevitably lead to tenant-landlord disputes and create a headache for both parties. Avoid entering an unfavorable lease agreement by having one of our Asheville attorneys conduct a comprehensive review of the paperwork and ensure it follows local and federal laws. 

If you’ve already entered a problematic lease agreement, contact us today to receive a free case consultation!

Substantive Issues

Substantive issues occur when the terms of the lease don’t fit the situations specific transaction. These issues transpire in cases where a lease’s document has not been updated recently. A contract with substantive problems may result in a party losing their otherwise ensured benefits and privileges. The most effective way to avoid substantive issues in a leasing contract is to have an Asheville real estate attorney from our firm thoroughly review the document before signing.

Lack Of Detailed Provisions

A lack of detailed provisions, such as which party is responsible for repairs, maintenance, and other obligations, can lead to legal disputes between the lessor and lessee. To avoid arduous legal conflicts, leases should include provisions that outline, in detail, which obligations are ascribed to the tenant and landlord, respectively.

Insurance Provisions

Leasing contracts that possess incorrect coverage amounts or don’t align with state-specific insurance plans can create a plethora of problems for landlords. For this reason, it is always preferable for lessors to have their leasing contract reviewed by their insurance broker as well as their attorney.

Incorrect Lease Commencement Date

In most cases, both parties are eager to sign a lease and begin receiving the entailed benefits. Unfortunately, rushing the process can cause people to miss errors present in the lease, such as an incorrect lease commencement date. A mistake such as this can create issues for both parties and even affect other critical dates on the lease. Always double-check the dates on a lease to ensure they’re accurate. 

Overlooked Exhibits

Similarly to incorrect dates, rushing a lease or foregoing comprehensive review from a legal professional may result in placeholders for exhibits being overlooked and included in the final draft. Placeholders are often used in the early drafts of a lease. Overlooking placeholders in the final draft may result in parties losing certain rights or uses for the leased asset.

Illegal Clauses

Poorly-written, unchecked lease agreements may include unenforceable or even illegal clauses. These may present themselves as provisions that discriminate against individuals based on their race, gender, or religion; or as agreements that allow lessors to violate a lessee’s rights, such as granting a landlord unrestricted permission to enter a tenant’s home unannounced.

Leasing FAQs

What Is A Lease?

A lease is a legally binding contract by which a lessee agrees to pay a lessor to use an asset. The lessor and lessee’s responsibilities are outlined in a document commonly referred to as a lease agreement. Vehicles, buildings, and other real property forms are assets that a lessor can grant use of to a lessee through a lease agreement.

What’s The Difference Between A Lease & A Rental Agreement?

The most prevalent difference between a lease agreement and a rental agreement is the length of the contract. Where leases often last between six to ten months, rental agreements are often much shorter — usually lasting around thirty days.

What Happens If You Break A Lease?

In North Carolina, lessees may break their lease agreement if justified. Lessees are legally justified to do so if they feel their safety is being threatened, personal rights are being violated, or they’re beginning active military duty. Should a lease be broken for an unjustified reason, the party that broke the contract may face financial penalties.

What’s The Difference Between A Residential Lease & A Commercial Lease?

Essentially, a commercial lease permits a lessee to rent a property where they can operate a business. A residential lease allows a lessee to rent a property in which they can personally reside. As a commercial lease is considered to be held between knowledgeable, business-savvy parties, they are typically afforded less government protection than residential leases.

Are Verbal Lease Agreements Binding?

While the state of North Carolina recognizes verbal agreements, they can be tough to enforce. For this reason, it’s typically in the best interest of both parties to draft a written contract that outlines the obligations and rights of both parties in detail.

What Do I Do If A Lease Contains Illegal Provisions?

Should individuals ever find themselves in a leasing contract that includes illegal provisions or clauses, they should immediately contact our Asheville real estate attorneys to receive legal guidance and ensure their rights are protected in litigation.