Lease Addenda vs. Lease Alterations: What’s the Difference?

Lease Addenda

Behind every great landlord-tenant relationship is a strong lease agreement. 

Leases are the backbone of your legal and personal relationships with your tenants. If your tenants feel that the lease conditions are fair and reasonable, they are likely to think highly of you and comply with them. On the other hand, unreasonable terms could lead to resentment from day one.

You probably won’t write a perfect lease the first time. During the term, you may find you need to alter, add to, or otherwise change the original agreement. Depending on their nature, these changes can be either lease amendments or addenda.

You’ve heard the terms, but do you know the difference?

This article will discuss the differences between lease addenda and alterations and clarify the implications of each for your rental business.

Changing Your Lease

A variety of situations call for a change to your original lease. 

For example, you might decide to relax your ‘no pets’ rule after stripping odor-trapping carpets from your units. Even though your tenants will gladly accept this change, you should still prepare a new legal agreement for their sake. A new contract will protect your tenants legally should they decide to get a pet. 

You might also need to change a lease to respond to less ideal situations. For instance, you might decide to raise your rent rate during a difficult economic period. Or you may seek to accommodate your tenants during a sudden global health crisis, during which many might reconsider their living situations as workplaces and job securities evolve. It’s to your benefit to be adaptable in any of these situations.

You shouldn’t hesitate to make a change if something isn’t working for either you or your tenants. The key is to be forthcoming and honest with your tenants about the change.

Lease Amendments

What are the types of lease changes you can make as a landlord? 

A lease amendment is a change to an existing lease clause. It could be a simple correction, a clarification of imprecise wording, or an explanation of a vague sentence or clause.

For example, let’s say you just moved in a new tenant. The lease states that overnight guests are permitted so long as the tenant takes responsibility for them. However, after mid-year inspections, you discover that your tenants’ guests have trashed your property. You decide that your original rule isn’t working after all. 

You charge your tenant for the property damage but decide that you don’t want to risk anything similar happening again. You should make an amendment to the lease to clarify your rule regarding overnight guests. For instance, you might decide that overnight guests are not permitted to stay longer than three consecutive days.

Once the amendment is written, your tenants must sign it before you can enforce the new rule. 

Lease Addenda

Lease addenda differ from amendments in that they add something that didn’t previously exist in the lease. Once the addendum is signed by both you and your tenants, it becomes part of the legal, binding lease.

Here’s an example. Your tenant is a fourth-year college student who has rented from you for a year. She signs a lease with you in March for the following term. Then she calls you in a panic because a spot just opened on a semester-long study abroad trip. Can she still go and have her apartment when she gets back?

Let’s say your original lease did not provide any information about subletting. However, you don’t want to lose your tenant and risk turning over the unit. You decide to write an addendum outlining the conditions under which tenants can sublease their units. Now your student renter can find a subletter to live in her apartment while she’s away.

Online Lease Signing

As with original leases, lease amendments and addenda can be composed and signed digitally on your property management software. Most platforms offer document creation tools and signing capabilities.

What’s more, eSignatures are much more secure than traditional signatures. You can track the signer’s IP address, identity, and the exact time they sign the new agreement.

Perfecting Your Lease Agreements

Leases are binding documents, but they aren’t unchangeable. As conditions and circumstances change, you should have a procedure for adapting to them. Lease amendments and addenda are the appropriate legal solutions. By choosing the correct type and using a property management system tool, you can stay on top of problems and conquer changes in your rental business.

Also Read: 6 Best Psychic Sites For Free Reading By Chat Or Phone.


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