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Understanding the Lease Signing Process

The rental lease agreement is a formal contract between a tenant and a property owner, or a representative of the owner, such as a property manager, outlining the terms and conditions for living at a rental property in exchange for rent. In order for a lease agreement to be valid, both parties (Representative and Tenant) must sign the contract. Depending on your state’s laws, if a property manager is representing the homeowner, the owner may or may not be listed on the lease agreement.

Colonial Property Management is an active member of the Texas Apartment Association and utilise their lease agreements for lease signing.

The Lease Signing Process

Lease signing can take place in person or be completed online before you move into a new unit. If you sign the lease with your landlord or property manager present, they should go over all the important terms with you. If you the lease online, with the help of electronic signatures, it will be up to you to read through the document and understand everything to which you are you are agreeing. Do NOT treat a rental lease signing like a ‘Terms of Service’ checkbox. Lease agreements are very important legal documents. You must be thorough when reading your contract.

For managers and landlords who do not use electronic signatures, they may choose to mail a lease agreement to the tenants if they cannot meet to sign the lease in-person prior to move-in.  If you mail a lease agreement, some managers might require the tenant to have the signature notarized. Alternatively, a lease might get emailed or texted to a tenant, the tenant can print out the lease, sign it, and then send it back to the manager or owner.

Who Signs the Lease

The lease should be signed by all adults living on the property and by the property manager or landlord.  If a co-signer is part of the rental agreement, they need to sign the lease along with the tenant. Roomates/other occupants must qualify individually.

Everyone who signed the lease agreement should get a copy of the contract.  Tenants should keep their copies in a safe place to reference throughout tenancy as needed. Some property managers or landlord may charge the tenant to get an additional copy of the lease.

With the help of property management software, copies of a rental lease can be stored online and shared with renters to access at any time in a tenant portal. Managers and landlords should keep excellent copies of signed lease agreements.  It is a good idea to copies of lease agreements for past tenants, at least until any statute of limitations expire on the tenancy. Depending on the management agreement and any local laws, a property manager may or may not give a copy of the lease agreement to a property owner.

If you have questions about lease terms or the lease signing, make sure to communicate with your property manager so they can help you better understand the lease signing process. Remember, once signed, the lease is a legally binding contract between both the representative and tenants.

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