An example of a lease addendum

What is a Lease Addendum, and When Should I Use One?

Landlords live and die by their lease agreements, so the idea of making a change to that critical contract may leave you feeling queasy. But lease addendums are more common than you might think.

According to ContractCounsel, “an addendum to a lease is a separate legal document added by the landlord to the original lease agreement between the landlord and tenant. Lease addendums are used to provide additional information that the original lease does not cover.” In other words, a lease addendum allows you to add an additional document to or adjust the terms of your existing rental agreement.

While landlords can add addendums to both commercial lease agreements and residential lease agreements, we’ll focus on residential agreements in this article. So, why would you update your original lease agreement, and how does the process work?

Why Would I Use an Addendum to a Lease Agreement?

Your residential lease agreement looked great, so your renter was happy to sign off on the terms of the lease. But in the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast — which may mean that you need to update part of your lease while keeping the rest intact. Below, we’ve listed the most common rental lease addendums you may need to add to an existing lease:

Pet Addendum: Did you renter inherit a dog from a loved one halfway through their lease agreement? You can update your provision mid-lease without impacting the rest of the document — which should have your renter and their new four-legged friend wagging their tails. Specify which types of pets you’ll allow, how many animals can be included in the tenancy, and any related fees or deposits in this addendum.

Need help determining what to include in your pet policy? Our comprehensive blog can help!

Extending Tenancy Addendum: You’re such a good landlord that your tenant isn’t ready to say goodbye when their lease expiration date rolls around. Why not allow them to stay longer by extending their tenancy through an addendum? You can even adjust the lease to be month to month if that better suits the situation.

Updating Rent Payments or Security Deposit Amounts: The rental market is hot, and that means it might be time to revisit how much you’re charging your renters, both in terms of their month-to-month payments and their security deposit. It’s important to note that both the landlord and tenant have to sign off on lease addendums, so be sure to present your case for increasing either of these payments thoughtfully.

Landlord-Tenant Law Disclosure: There are some legal disclosures that you’ll need to add to your lease if you missed them the first time around. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require “the disclosure of known information on lead paint and lead-based paint hazards” before renting out real estate built prior to 1978. This requirement is also called the paint disclosure, and tenants’ rights dictate that they must also receive a federally approved pamphlet on lead poisoning prevention.

While we’ve listed a few of the most common lease addendums, it’s important to note that your unique situation may require other updates to your original contract. For example, perhaps you could benefit from adding addendums related to occupancy, long-term guests, smoking, subleasing/subletting, parking, or renter’s insurance. When in doubt, consult your local legal professional for the best ways to protect your rental property.

A person with long hair holds a white cat in a comfy living room. There's an orange cat nearby.

When Can I Use a Lease Addendum?

Now that you understand what a lease addendum is, it’s important to understand when they’re normally used. There are two typical circumstances in which you’d enact a lease addendum:

  • Mid-term (for minor additions or changes)
  • End of lease (to extend tenancy)

That said, as long as you and your renter sign off on the addendum, you can add provisions to the lease at any time.

When Can’t I Use a Lease Addendum?

While lease addendums are helpful for updating a standard lease, they can’t be used willy-nilly. Remember, lease addendums should be used for minor updates to the initial lease; you can’t use them for major changes to a lease agreement or tenant/guarantor changes. For example, you can’t use a lease addendum to aid in the eviction process.

How Do I Add an Addendum to a Lease Agreement?

You have a couple of options when it comes to updating your original lease contract. If you have the time, money, and energy to pull everything together yourself, addendum templates generally contain:

  • The renter’s name
  • The landlord’s name
  • The rental property’s address
  • The date of the addendum
  • The lease start date
  • The provision itself
  • Signatures from the landlord and all involved tenants

If you’re looking for a streamlined process instead, we can help. TurboTenant makes mid-lease changes and extensions easy while keeping your core lease agreement intact with our online addendums. 

Why Use TurboTenant’s Lease Addendum?

We’re glad you asked! Our lease addendums are:

  • Easy to Fill Out: We’ll walk you through every step of the addendum creation process.
  • Designed to Give You Legal Confidence: Rest easy knowing our flexible document was built to protect you and your property.
  • Fast to Sign: Working with TurboTenant means you can choose between having your tenants e-sign the document or printing it out and having them sign in person.

Additionally, our addendums are fit for all landlords, regardless of your lease creation process. Whether you used TurboTenant’s lease agreement from start to finish or didn’t use our services at all before now, your satisfaction is our top priority. Get started today and rest easy knowing that TurboTenant has everything you need to boost your property management business.

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