Lease Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Lease, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Lease?

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History and Definition of Lease

A lease is a legal contract between an owner (the landlord) and a tenant, giving the tenant the right to use the owner's property for a specified period of time and rent payment. The payment is usually made monthly and must be agreed upon before signing the lease. The terms and conditions of the lease, such as the length of the tenancy, rent amount, and security deposit, are all specified in the agreement. The lease serves as a legal document that outlines the responsibilities and rights of both the tenant and the landlord.

The practice of leasing property dates back to ancient times, when landlords leased lands to tenants in exchange for payment. Leasing became more common in the Middle Ages when the feudal system was established. Leases have since evolved to include commercial and residential properties, and they are now ubiquitous in the modern world.

Examples of Lease

  1. A couple agreeing to lease an apartment for one year for $1,000 per month
  2. A business leasing a storefront for five years for $2,500 per month with an option to renew
  3. A farmer leasing land for crop production for one year for a percentage of the crop yield
  4. A car dealership leasing a new vehicle for three years for a monthly payment
  5. A university leasing a building for its administrative offices for 10 years for $500,000 per year

Legal Terms Similar to Lease

  • Rent: The payment made by the tenant to the landlord under the lease agreement.
  • Lessor: The owner of the property that is being leased.
  • Lessee: The tenant who is leasing the property.