While many people are aware that landlords can make amendments to leases, they often don’t realize that tenants may as well!
Oftentimes, tenants make requests 🙏 for a lease amendment template to ask for early termination, a subletter, or the addition of a pet.
Therefore, in order to help educate tenants on their rights as renters, I’ve curated a list of common FAQs 🙋 my clients often ask about lease amendments. Check it out below!
Q: Can I modify my lease without my landlord’s approval?
A: Unfortunately, any modifications you make to your lease must be approved ✔️ by your landlord in order to go into effect. For example, adding an amendment that your landlord must make you popcorn every time you watch Netflix probably won’t slide – and definitely won’t hold up in a court of law.
However, if you have an amicable relationship with your landlord, there’s a great possibility they will be willing to sit down and consider the proposed amendments you’ve made.
For instance, if you and your landlord come to a compromise regarding pets 🐶 when your lease originally prohibited them, it would be a good idea to add that amendment to the lease. Terms should include acceptable types and sizes of pets on the property.
That being said, if you and your landlord are not on great terms or do not have a friendly relationship, you may have some trouble making amendments to your lease 👎.
Q: Can my landlord change my lease without my approval?
A: Nope! Just as you may not legally modify your lease without your landlord’s approval, they may not do so without yours. This stands true for the duration of your lease agreement.
That being said, your landlord may legally make changes to your lease agreement upon the expiration 📆 of your current contract.
For example, if you have signed a year-long lease with your landlord, they cannot raise the rent or make other changes to your rental agreement until that year is over. However, after the one year mark, the landlord can present you with a new lease (if you want to continue living there) that has been changed – so always make sure to read 👀 every lease you sign!
In fact, some landlords may even provide themselves the ability to change the lease in the future right in the language of the agreement! For instance, if a signed lease reads “the landlord retains the right to increase rent by $100 after six months,” that’s totally legal.
That being said, if you’re involved in a month-to-month rental agreement, your landlord can make changes to the lease, usually after providing you 30 days’ notice. In this case, if you’re not happy with the changes and the landlord won’t budge, it may be time to find a new home 🏠.
Q: If I get a new landlord, can they make changes to my lease?
A: Still no. If the management of your property changes midway through your rental agreement, your new landlord must follow the same rules and wait until your lease expires to make any changes.
Q: How do I make amendments to my lease?
A: If you are comfortable having a conversation with your landlord about making potential changes to your lease, you should begin by typing ⌨️ up your proposal into a lease amendment form, also known as an addendum.
You can find templates for this document on many legal websites as well as attorney’s sites.
Next, you should present your proposed changes to your landlord and negotiate what terms will be in the official lease, should they approve 👌 them.
If your landlord approves the changes, they should add them directly into the lease or attach an addendum to the existing document. Then, ensure both parties sign and date ✍️.
Q: Can I make a change to the duration of my lease if I need to move out early?
A: If you need to end your lease early due to personal or extenuating circumstances, you will have to meet with your landlord and discuss this proposed change to your original agreement.
Before meeting with your landlord, take a look at your lease and find any mention of early release or termination. Some agreements will require a loss of your security deposit and fees 💰, while others will require you to find a replacement renter.
That being said, sometimes landlords will allow early lease termination without imposing any penalties. For example, during COVID-19, many landlords have made exceptions for renters moving out of densely populated areas such as New York City 🗽.
All in all, there are many options for tenants who need to end their lease early, so speak with your landlord about the solution they most prefer.
However, if you are vacating your apartment due to illegal activity on the premises, an illegal rental, or a breach of your lease by the landlord, you may want to consider hiring legal representation 💼 to avoid penalties on your end.
Q: Should I make a lease amendment template?
A: If you are uncomfortable or unhappy with your current living situation in some way, it may be in your best interest to request a change to your lease. However, all tenants should approach lease changes with the knowledge that they rely on the landlord’s agreement 🤝.
Unfortunately, if your landlord does not approve your request, you will almost always have to wait until the end of your lease to find a new rental.
However, if you require an amendment for your protection or safety, feel free to consult an attorney to discuss your options.