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Help Guide

Review the following guide for an overview of the important considerations when completing a residential lease amendment.

Fixed-Term vs. Periodic Tenancy

The rental “term” is the amount of time that the tenant is allowed to occupy the rental unit. When completing our questionnaire, you will be asked whether the lease agreement you are amending uses a fixed term or periodic term. Fixed-term tenancies are those that have a set end date by which the tenant must either vacate the unit or sign a new lease agreement for an additional term. Fixed-term tenancies usually last one or two years, but the parties are free to agree on any time frame. A periodic term is a tenancy without a set termination date. Instead, the agreement continues to renew automatically at the end of each period until one of the parties chooses to end it. The length of each term can be as short or as long as the parties want. Week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year tenancies are all common periodic tenancy terms, with month-to-month tenancies being the most popular.

Amendments

Next, you will add each amendment you wish to make. An amendment can be any change you want to make to the original lease agreement. This could include altering or deleting language as needed. You will need to identify the location of the language you are changing in your lease amendment. For instance, if the language you want to change is contained in Section 5(b) of the original lease agreement, then you should specify only that subsection. You can identify sections of the lease agreement by their numbering (e.g. “5(b)” or “III(2)(i)”) or by using the section titles (e.g. “Security Deposit”).

Be as clear as possible as to how you wish to amend the section you have identified. If you only want to change one specific sentence and not the entire section, then you might enter, “Amend the first sentence to read as follows…” This would leave the rest of the section still valid and enforceable.

Additional Terms

Next, you can add additional language to the original lease agreement. You should enter this language exactly as you would want it to appear in the lease. You can also add additional documents as attachments or exhibits to the lease agreement on this step as well.

Executing Your Amendment

To make the amendment legally enforceable, have the landlord and tenant sign and date it in the signature section. If you are using a notary to witness the signing (which is always a good idea), be sure to wait to sign until you are in their presence. After signing, distribute copies to each party and store yours for safekeeping.

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