SAMPLE RESIDENTIAL LEASE
The attached lease is only a sample. It should be tailored to your specific rental situation. Some terms
might not be applicable to your situation and can be deleted. For example, if the rental unit is an
apartment, the language regarding yard maintenance may be safely deleted. On the other hand, the
landlord or tenant might want additional terms added. For example, if the property is a house with a
swimming pool, the parties might add a clause that the landlord will be responsible for pool
maintenance. (That doesn’t mean that the landlord has to maintain the pool himself—he could hire an
independent contractor to take care of it.)
Some other situations to think about include:
1. If a couple with children are renting, the couple will be the only tenants on the lease; however, the
lease permits the tenants’ minor children--though not adult children--to live on the premises. (See
paragraph 12.) If other occupants are to be allowed to live on the premises, add a list of “Approved
Occupants” to paragraph 1.
2. If the whole security deposit is paid by only one tenant or someone other than a tenant, the lease can
be modified to have the security deposit returned to only that person (but only that person would have
the right to sue for return of the deposit if it was improperly retained by the landlord). (See paragraph 8.)
3. If each tenant will have his or her own lease (i.e. an individual lease), the lease would specify which
bedroom the tenant is renting and that the tenant has shared use of the common areas. Example:
“Landlord hereby leases to Tenant and Tenant hereby leases from Landlord the 2nd floor back bedroom
[or maybe “bedroom #3” if they’re numbered] and shared use of the common areas of the townhouse
located at 1234 Anywhere St., Blacksburg, VA 24060.” Also, paragraph 11 should be changed to state
that no sublease or assignment of the lease of any other resident in the unit may be made without your
Paragraph 3 of the sample lease requires that the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act govern
the lease. While the VRLTA is generally considered to be more of a benefit to the tenant than to the
landlord, it contains provisions for the landlord’s benefit as well. The VRLTA automatically applies to
almost all apartment rentals and automatically applies to a few house, townhouse, and condominium
rentals as well. (An example where it wouldn’t automatically apply is an un-partitioned, single-family
house owned by someone who owns only four rental properties.) In situations where the VRLTA
doesn’t automatically apply, the parties to the lease are allowed to make it apply by including a term in
the lease to that effect. Note that if the law makes it automatically apply, then it applies even if you have
a term in the lease that says it doesn’t apply. (You can only opt in—you can’t opt out.)
Signing a lease is a substantial commitment and once you’ve signed, it’s almost impossible to get out of
a lease. Don’t sign a lease unless you really understand what you’re signing—even this one. When in
doubt, consult an attorney. If you’re a Virginia Tech student, make an appointment with Student Legal
Form: LEASE_VRLTA_2008.doc 09Jul2008
Property Manager (Landlord’s Agent):
2. LEASE & PREMISES. Landlord hereby leases to Tenants and Tenants hereby lease from
Landlord the premises located at ________________________________, Blacksburg, VA 24060.
3. APPLICABLE LAW. This lease shall be governed by the Virginia Residential Landlord and
Tenant Act (Virginia Code Title 55, Chapter 13.2). Tenants are advised to read the Act as well as
Virginia Code Title 55, Chapter 13, before signing this lease.
4. TERM. The lease shall run from ______________ ____, 20____, through ______________
____, 20____. This lease shall neither automatically renew nor automatically convert to a month-to-
5. RENT. Tenants shall pay a total rent for the term of $______________, payable in installments
First month’s partial rent: $_____________, due on the start date of the lease;
Eleven months’ full rent: $_____________, due the first of each month;
Last month’s partial rent: $_____________, due the first of the last month.
Unless otherwise notified in writing, Tenants shall pay rent and all other charges to [Landlord or
Property Manager] at the address above. Checks and money orders shall be made payable to [Landlord
or Property Manager] until otherwise notified in writing.
Tenants may pay by hand delivery or mail. Tenants may pay with more than one check or money order,
but all payments shall be delivered at the same time and, if mailed, delivered together in one envelope.
Breach of this requirement shall result in Tenants owing liquidated damages of $5 for each additional
payment as compensation for the extra handling expenses. Each check or money order shall include the
address of the premises. If payment is mailed, Tenants shall assume the risk that the payment may be
lost in the mail and that they may be required to remit another payment in the event that the first payment
does not reach Landlord or the Landlord’s designated agent. Landlord shall consider rent received by
mail as having been timely paid as long as it is post-marked by the due date.
6. LATE FEE. Tenants shall pay a late fee of 10% of any rental amount not received at the
payment address by 5:00 pm on the fourth day after the date the rent is due. (If rent is due on the first, a
late fee will be assessed if rent isn’t received by 5:00 pm on the fifth.)
7. DISHONORED CHECKS. If a check paid by, or on behalf of, a Tenant is returned for
insufficient funds or for any other reason not the fault of Landlord or Landlord’s agent, Landlord may
require rent payments to be made by cash, money order, cashier's check, or certified check. Tenants
shall pay a service charge of $25.00 for each such returned check. This service charge is in addition to
any applicable late fee that is charged.
8. SECURITY DEPOSIT. Landlord acknowledges that he has received the sum of $___________
from Tenants as a security deposit. (This includes any deposit required for pets.) Landlord may deduct
from the security deposit the amount of damages incurred by him due to Tenants’ breach of this lease.
Tenants are not entitled to have the security deposit applied to unpaid rent or late fees.
Upon termination of the tenancy, Tenants shall surrender the premises in good repair and condition,
reasonable wear and tear excepted. Tenants shall pay all reasonable repair and cleaning costs for any
damages and conditions beyond reasonable wear and tear caused by Tenants or Tenants’ guests.
After termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession (including return of all keys), Landlord shall
process the security deposit and provide each Tenant an itemized list of security deposit deductions as
required by law. (The VRLTA normally requires the security deposit to be returned within 45 days.)
Landlord shall also provide each Tenant copies of all bills used to calculate the security deposit
Tenants shall provide Landlord written notice of their forwarding addresses on or before termination of
the tenancy. Landlord shall mail pro rata shares of the deposit and interest (if any) plus the required
documentation to the forwarding addresses. If no forwarding address is provided by a tenant, Landlord
shall use the address of the leased premises. (In this case, the tenant should make sure that the Post
Office has a forwarding address on file.)
9. MOVE-IN CONDITION. Landlord shall provide the first Tenant to take possession of the
premises with a “Move-In/Move-Out Condition Report” form. That Tenant shall complete the form and
return it to Landlord within five days. Unless Landlord objects within five days of his receipt of the
completed form, the report shall be deemed conclusive evidence that the premises are as described in the
Landlord shall deliver the premises and all common areas to the Tenants in a clean, safe, and habitable
condition, free of rodent and insect pests, free of visible mold, and with all smoke detectors, utilities, and
appliances in proper working condition.
10. DELIVERY OF POSSESSION. Landlord shall be ready to deliver possession of the premises
to Tenants at the start date of the tenancy. Landlord shall be responsible for having hold-over tenants
If Landlord fails to deliver possession and such failure is willful, Tenant’s remedies shall be in
accordance with law.
If Landlord fails to deliver possession and such failure is not willful, Landlord shall have ten days to
remedy the situation and deliver possession. Rent shall abate until Landlord delivers possession, but
Landlord shall not be responsible for any other damages to Tenants. If Landlord fails to deliver
possession by the end of the ten-day period, Tenants may, at any time before possession is delivered,
send Landlord written notice of termination, and the lease shall thereby be immediately terminated.
Within five days of delivery of the termination notice, Landlord shall return all prepaid rent, application
fees, and deposits.
11. SUBLEASES & ASSIGNMENTS. Tenants shall not sublease the premises or assign this lease
without the prior, written permission of the Landlord. Landlord shall not permit a sublease or
assignment without the approval of all Tenants. Landlord shall not unreasonably deny permission to
sublease or assign. Landlord may charge a $32 application fee for each sublease or assignment
requested and an additional $50 administrative fee for each executed sublease or assignment.
12. USE OF PREMISES. Only Tenants and Tenants’ minor children are allowed to occupy the
premises. Tenants shall not permit any other persons to occupy the premises. “Occupy” is defined as
residing, living, or staying on the premises overnight for more than seven nights in a row or for more
than fourteen nights in a twelve-month period.
Tenants shall use the premises only as a residential dwelling. Tenants shall not use the premises or
permit any guests to use the premises for any unlawful activities or to unreasonably interfere with the
rights, comforts, or conveniences of their neighbors or other Tenants. Tenants shall not host any party or
gathering of more than fifteen (15) people at any time.
13. LANDLORD’S RULES. Tenants acknowledge receipt of Landlord’s Rules. Tenants shall
comply with all written Rules provided to the Tenant. Landlord may, with reasonable written notice to
Tenants, modify these rules as allowed by law.
14. LOCKS, KEYS, & PEEPHOLES. Even if no local ordinance requires it, Landlord shall
provide locks, locking devices, and peepholes that comply with subsections 1, 2, and 3 of Virginia Code
section 55-248.13:1. If Landlord fails to comply and Tenants provide fifteen days written notice of the
non-compliance to Landlord, Tenants may have such devices installed by a professional at a reasonable
cost and deduct such cost from the next month’s rent. Tenant shall provide Landlord a copy of each
related bill and a copy of each key. Tenants shall not install any other locks on the premises. Once
installed, Tenants may not remove the locks and Landlord shall not require Tenants to pay for removal.
Landlord shall issue to each Tenant one set of keys to the premises and mailbox. Upon Tenants’
surrender of the premises to Landlord, each Tenant shall return to Landlord all keys associated with the
premises, whether they are originals or copies. If Tenants fail to return all keys, Tenants shall pay the
cost of making replacement copies or replacing the locks, at Landlord’s option.
Tenants shall not change any locks on the premises without the prior written permission of Landlord,
which shall not be unreasonably denied. If Landlord does not give written permission or a written
reason for denying permission within fifteen days of receiving Tenants written request to change the
locks, permission shall be deemed as having been given by the Landlord. If the locks are changed,
Tenants shall immediately provide Landlord at least one original key for each changed lock. All keys
and hardware associated with the old lock shall be given to Landlord unless Landlord requires, in his
written permission to change the locks, that the locks be returned to their original keying.
15. ATTORNEY’S FEES AND LITIGATION. If any party to this lease takes legal action against
the other for breach of this lease, the prevailing party shall be entitled to a reasonable attorney’s fee, in
addition to any amounts awarded by the court for damages and court costs.
16. RESERVATION OF RIGHTS. If rent is unpaid when due and Tenants fail to pay rent within
five days after written notice of the non-payment is provided, Landlord may terminate the lease and
proceed to obtain possession of the premises in accordance with law. Acceptance of rent after the five-
day period shall not act as a waiver of Landlord’s rights and Landlord hereby reserves all rights to
receive payment of rent after the five-day notice and proceed in court for possession of the premises and
all other remedies allowed by law.
17. PROPERTY DAMAGE & MAINTENANCE. Tenants shall promptly notify Landlord of any
defects in or damages to the plumbing, sanitary, electrical, gas, heating, or cooling systems as well as
any leaks in the roof or evidence of structural damage. Tenants shall not repair these defects or damages
without obtaining the prior, written permission of Landlord, which Landlord may reasonably refuse;
however, Tenants shall take reasonable steps to prevent additional damage.
Tenants shall pay Landlord’s reasonable expenses for repairing damages caused by Tenants, occupants,
and guests, reasonable wear and tear excepted. For repairs made and billed during the lease term,
Landlord shall provide Tenants a written, itemized bill with copies of receipts for materials purchased by
Landlord and/or contractor invoices billed to Landlord. Landlord shall not charge a late fee or deduct
the bill from the security deposit, unless Tenants fail to pay within fifteen days after presentment of the
Landlord’s bill and other required documentation.
Tenants shall ensure the lawn is mowed at least once every two weeks during April through September
and in no case shall Tenants allow grass and weeds to exceed six inches in height at any time during the
year. Landlord shall be responsible for all other yard maintenance and for having the gutters cleaned.
Tenants shall replace the central air and heat filters every month (or every three months if three-month
filters are used).
18. NO ALTERATIONS OF THE PREMISES. Tenants shall not alter or permit any alteration of
the premises. Alterations include, but aren’t limited to, painting, wallpapering, structural changes, and
addition or removal of fixtures (including TV antennae or satellite dish receivers). This clause pertains
to any alterations made inside AND outside the premises, including changes to the surrounding land or
common areas. Landlord shall not unreasonably withhold consent in the event Tenants wish to re-paint
or re-wallpaper the residence, but Landlord may condition such approval on the agreement of Tenants to
use specific colors or wallpaper or to restore the premises to its original condition upon the expiration or
termination of the lease. The use of a reasonable number of small, picture-hanger nails shall not be
19. DEATH. If a Tenant dies during the tenancy, the surviving Tenants together with the executor
or administrator of the decedent’s estate, may jointly terminate this lease by giving forty-five days
written notice of termination to Landlord. Termination under this clause does not relieve the surviving
Tenants or the deceased’s estate from their liability to pay all rent and charges owed through the date that
Landlord is put in possession of the premises. However, if the Landlord, within fifteen days of receiving
the termination notice, provides the surviving Tenants a notice that he wishes to continue the lease at
reduced rent, the lease shall not be terminated but shall continue at a rental rate reduced by the deceased
Tenant’s pro-rata share of the rent. In this case, Landlord shall return the deceased Tenant’s share of the
security deposit to the executor or administrator of decedent’s estate within 45 days of the decision to
continue the lease.
20. EXTENDED ABSENCES & ABANDONMENT. If all of the Tenants will be absent from the
premises for a period in excess of ten (10) days, Tenants shall give Landlord advance, written notice of
21. MOVE-OUT INSPECTION. Tenants may request to be at a move-out inspection to be held
within seventy-two (72) hours of Tenants’ delivery of possession to Landlord. Tenants’ request shall
made in writing at least two weeks in advance.
22. UTILITIES. Landlord shall provide [water and sewer service] without charge. Tenants shall
not use these utilities in a wasteful manner. All other utilities are the responsibility of Tenants.
Tenants shall have [gas and electricity service] placed in the name(s) of one or more Tenants from the
start of the tenancy until possession of the premises is returned to Landlord. Tenants shall ensure that
the heat is maintained at a temperature sufficient to prevent freezing of pipes during cold periods.
23. RENTER’S INSURANCE. Landlord is not responsible for damages to Tenants’ property
unless caused by Landlord. Tenants are advised to obtain sufficient renter’s insurance to cover the loss
of their property along with sufficient liability coverage to cover accidental damage to Landlord’s or
neighbors’ property caused by Tenants.
24. PETS. No pets are allowed. Tenants may keep one cat and one aquarium of fish up to 50
gallons. Tenants shall not keep or allow any other animals (other than service animals) onto the
premises. Any deposit required by Landlord on account of allowing pets is included in the security
25. WAIVER OF BREACH. No waiver of any breach of this lease on any one occasion shall be
construed to operate as a general waiver of another breach on a subsequent occasion. If any breach
occurs and is later settled by the parties, this lease shall continue to bind the parties as it is written.
26. JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY. All Tenants shall be jointly and severally liable for all
Tenant obligations (rent, damages, and other). (The Landlord may collect the entire amount due from
any Tenant, no matter which Tenant caused the damages or failed to pay their share of the rent.)
27. INCORPORATION & MODIFICATION. This Lease is the complete and entire agreement
between the parties and all prior agreements and understandings, both written and oral, have been
incorporated herein. It may only be modified or amended by executing another written document signed
by all parties or their authorized agents.
28. SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this lease are severable, and if any part of the Lease is
held illegal, invalid, or inapplicable to any person or circumstance, the remainder of this lease shall
remain in effect.
29. GUARANTORS. The Guarantors hereby unconditionally guarantee payment to Landlord all
amounts due or that become due from Tenants to Landlord under this lease.
30. CONDITION. This lease is conditional on being signed by all parties named on page 1.
We, the undersigned, hereby represent that we have read this entire lease and agree to be bound by its
terms and conditions.