Oral Rental Agreements

Oral Rental Agreements Are Binding

Usually tenants and landlords are bound by an oral rental agreement. The “statute of frauds” requires rental agreements for more than a certain length of time (normally one year) to be in writing. Most states still allow the Common Law month-to-month rental agreement to be either oral or written. Both are to be considered legally enforceable agreements.

Other states require that even if the rental agreement is oral, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written statement which states the landlords’ name, address, and phone number, as well as the person who will be receiving or collecting the rent. This  writing should normally include the manner and time of month the rent is to be paid.

How To Prove An Oral Rental Agreement

By testimony of the people who made the agreement or heard it made. If there is a dispute as to what was said, then the judge or jury will decide who is telling the truth. People sometimes say, “It’s your word against mine, so you can’t prove it.” Not true. If her word is believed and your word isn’t, then she proved it!

That is why it is better for everyone if the agreement is in writing, even if the law does not require it to be in writing. When you write everything down, sign it, and keep a copy, you can prove later what was agreed to without worrying about who is believed.

Can I As A Tenant Draft The Agreement?

Yes. But this is extremely rare. Even small-time landlords require that the tenant use the landlords rental agreement. If not, here is what you need to know concerning the necessary basics of such an agreement. There is no formality required in writing a rental agreement. Just write on a piece of paper the names of the landlord and tenant, the address of the place to be rented, the monthly rent and when it is due, and whether the term is month-to-month or some set period (like six months) – and then have both parties sign it and keep copies. Those are the basics, but you should also write down anything else that is important to you, such as the amount of any security deposit and how clean the tenant must leave the place to get the deposit back, any repairs either party promised to do, and whether pets are allowed.

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