How to Rent a Home Without a Lease or Rental Agreement


Many landlords and tenants alike prefer renting their house or apartment without a lease because it allows for more flexibility. Even without a written lease, you still have rights and responsibilities under your local tenant and landlord laws.

Typically under these laws, landlords must provide a livable home that is safe and sanitary with adequate weatherproofing, heat, water, and electricity.

You should have no problems renting a home without a lease, but you should take some steps to protect yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Notebook and pen

Ask the landlord to give you something in writing indicating your move-in date, rent amount and security deposit amount, if applicable.

Document the condition of your new home when you move in with photographs and a written list of any problems that exist when you take occupancy. Note the type and amount of keys you receive. Ask the landlord to sign and date the form.

Pay for your monthly rent and any security deposit using a personal check or a money order and save the stub. Request a written receipt for any payments made when possible. Avoid making rental payments in cash.

Maintain your home according to your verbal agreement with the landlord.

Provide sufficient written notice if you plan to vacate your home (see tips section).

Return the home to the owner in the condition you received it along with any keys you were given and your forwarding address to return your security deposit if applicable. An owner can only deduct for damages, not for normal "wear and tear."

Tips & Warnings

  • As a renter without a lease, you're considered a tenant at will. You and your landlord are required to give one another notice in the same time frame that rent is collected (typically monthly) before terminating or making any changes to the terms of your residency (such as rent or rules).
  • If you are renting your home without a lease because your previous lease (at the same property) expired, you may still be subject to some or all of the terms outlined in your expired lease.

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