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Can My Landlord Amend My Lease?

Let’s face it, as much as we might hope to keep our world simple and predictable, most of us lead pretty hectic lives. Our situations are constantly changing and it’s often impossible to plan for everything in documents like lease agreements.

If you’re leasing residential or commercial property for more than a few months, then chances are something about your situation will change in a way that the lease doesn’t account for. Fortunately, if you used a forward-thinking lease, such as our residential lease agreement or commercial lease agreement, then you can easily amend your lease to account for changes in circumstances.

Who Can Amend the Lease?

When a landlord and tenant sign a lease agreement it forms a legally binding contract. The lease cannot be altered except through another written agreement signed by both parties unless the original lease specifically gives a party the power to change something on their own. For instance, the lease may allow the landlord to change the rules on having animals at any time.

Ideally, no party has the right to unilaterally change any of the important terms, such as the rental payment, the length of the lease period, or any of the fees. Therefore, both parties will normally need to draw up a lease amendment agreement and sign it.

How to Amend the Lease

To amend your lease you should use a form such as a residential lease amendment to effectively integrate the amendments into the original lease. You will need to specify exactly which provisions you are changing and how the new language should read. Our lease amendment also allows you to add completely new language on issues that weren’t discussed in the original lease.

You can also add and incorporate new documents into the lease, such as:

  • move-in checklists,
  • photos, and
  • payment tables.

It is important that any amendments to the lease comply with your state and local regulations. For the most part, commercial leases can include any terms that both parties agree on and residential leases can include any terms as long as they are not manifestly unfair to one of the parties.