When a person wants to rent an apartment or some other type of dwelling the person, called the Tenant, enters into an agreement with the owner of the property, the Landlord, spelling out the terms and conditions of the rental of the property. Such an agreement is called a Lease, and a Lease may be one of two types, an oral Lease or a written Lease.
Under an oral Lease, the Landlord tells the Tenant that he will rent property to the Tenant for a certain amount of money each month and Tenant agrees to pay it. Under an oral Lease, the property is usually rented on a monthly basis and can be ended by either party for whatever reason. To be enforceable, a Lease for a period of more than one year must normally be in writing.
The other type of lease agreement is the written Lease. The written Lease spells out in more detail the responsibilities of the Landlord and the tenant. Usually the Lease will spell out the amount of the rent, how many months or years the lease will last and other matters. Basically, a Lease, whether it is oral or written, is a contract between the parties.
No particular form of words is necessary to create a Lease. The Lease usually has at least the names of the parties, a description of the rental property involved, the amount of the rent to be paid, and the length of the term.
A written Lease can be as simple or as detailed as the parties desire. Before signing a Lease, a tenant should read it and understand it. Unless there is fraud or a deception or a mutual mistake, a tenant who signs a Lease is normally presumed to have understood it.
When you have an oral lease on a month-to-month basis, it may be ended at the end of the 30-day period. However, under a written Lease, the lease ends at the time stated in the Lease unless either the landlord or the tenant violates the terms of the lease, making the lease end. A written Lease usually spells out certain items which will cause the lease to end. A Lease may be ended earlier by joint agreement of the Landlord and the tenant.
This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington Counties, and 1-800-868-2284 from other parts of the state.