A lease is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. Once the parties enter into a lease, they are usually legally bound by its terms, as long as these terms are not contrary to the landlordtenant law. An oral lease may be legally binding but it is better to have a lease in writing so the parties' obligations and rights are clearly spelled out. The lease should state who is responsible for paying the utility bills and should spell out each party's responsibility for caring for the premises. Do not sign a lease with blank spaces, and do not rely on promises made by one party but not included in the lease. If you have any questions about the provisions of a lease, talk to your attorney before you sign. You should be provided a copy of the lease; keep it in a safe location for five years after you move out of the property.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.