What Is a Full Lease Apartment?

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Full service leases require landlords to bear several costs associated with the apartment.
Full service leases require landlords to bear several costs associated with the apartment. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A full lease, usually known as a full service lease, is typical in commercial real estate, although it can occasionally apply to other forms of rentals. Full service leases require landlords to bear the full costs of maintenance, repairs and associated taxes. In a residential context, it may also include utilities such as water, sewage and garbage.

Advantages

Tenants with a full service lease have few worries. Their agreements require landlords to handle all maintenance and repairs, which means that when a plumbing problem occurs or a heater breaks, the landlord is responsible for the costs and timely service. Additionally, annual servicing of equipment like air conditioners and dryer ventilation lines also fall to the landlord. This allows tenants to live without responsibility for the upkeep of their homes.

Utilities

Not all full service rentals include utilities; when they do, they usually only cover certain ones. Water, including hot water, are sometimes included, especially in buildings with central hot water heaters. Garbage and sewer are commonly included in apartment rentals as these are services shared by all tenants. However, electricity, gas and telephone, which are cost incurred by the tenants, don't usually apply.

Disadvantage

Full service leases are very convenient and can eliminate reservations a tenant might have about taking an apartment. However, while tenants may feel they're getting a great deal, they may also be paying for their services. Landlords offering full service leases -- particularly those that include utilities -- consider their costs when formulating rent. Renters may find better deals on apartments without full service leases and can sometimes better control costs through sparing use of utilities.

Landlord Tenant Law

In many jurisdictions, the idea of a full service lease is somewhat moot. Landlord tenant laws often require landlords to maintain the premises of their rentals and to provide regular maintenance of their buildings -- including fixed equipment like heaters and water heaters. Renters should always review their state and local landlord tenant laws before signing a lease.

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