A lease outlines the responsibilities and obligations of both the owner and tenants of a particular apartment or house. It details the rules by which landlords and tenants agree to live. Once signed, a lease governs what landlords and tenants can and cannot do. Should you become involved in a legal proceeding, courts will generally hold you to everything you’ve signed. Leases, therefore, are documents of extreme importance.

Leases are legally binding. If you and your roommates sign a lease, then you and your roommates are bound to the terms of the agreement. Moreover, you and your roommates are jointly responsible in most cases. So if your lease states that the rent is $1,000 a month, then (unless your lease states otherwise) you and your roommates are collectively responsible for the entire sum. If one person does not contribute her or his share, then all tenants on the lease are equally responsible for the missing amount. A landlord is similarly bound to the terms of the lease. Once a lease is signed, no one can be forced to accept additional provisions while the lease is in effect. Always remember to read your lease carefully and do not sign a lease with blank spaces.

Legal Information Is Not Legal Advice
This site provides information about the law designed to help students cope with their own legal needs. But legal information is not the same as legal advice — the application of law to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we try to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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