How to modify the content of a lease contract

Lease agreements can be a tricky thing to negotiate once that dotted line has been signed. There is some maneuvering that tenants can make for changes. Which changes apply and when can changes be made? Here’s how it all works.

Can a Lease Agreement Be Changed?

Yes…and no. Changes to a lease agreement depend on two very big things: firstly, the landlord-tenant laws of each state and, secondly, how amenable a landlord is to change. Since the latter is subjective, tenants will have to rely on the former. Technically, the terms of a lease contract are intact for the duration of the lease period. Certain aspects can be modified mid-term but only if the tenant is given a notice period first. Tenants must carefully read the terms of the lease contract because there can be no clauses in there that try to limit, at the outset, the legal rights of a tenant.

Making a Lease Contract Even Better

Severability, liability and maintenance are usually key clauses with the terms of a lease contract. But there are certain clauses all tenants should be considering because situations can always arise and it’s best to be prepared in advance. So consider including sublet terms, disturbance clauses (regarding hours prohibiting loud music or parties, for example), and access to premises in a lease contract. This latter clause is useful because how much access to premise a landlord is granted is stated here. For example, would the landlord be able to enter the property without notice in case of an emergency? This is what this clause would try to limit (or broaden).

Remember that the best time to “change” or modify a rental agreement is right before it is signed. That way, a lease amendment agreement might not be necessary. And these terms can help offset many other things. For example, if the apartment’s monthly rent wasn’t quite in the preferred budget, why not negotiate more flexible terms in compensation?