How to Draft a Real Estate Lease Contract

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Складання договору оренди квартири Перша Юридична

Property rental is an integral part of the life of almost every Ukrainian, as nearly everyone has rented accommodation or leased it at least once in their lives. In this overview, we will briefly examine the specifics of drafting a real estate lease contract.

First and foremost, it’s worth noting that a lease agreement for an apartment is drawn up in a simple written form without the requirement for notarization. The exception is a lease agreement with an option to purchase, which requires notarization.

The parties to the lease agreement can be both individuals and legal entities. More often than not, it involves the rental of property between individuals. Let’s take a closer look at this particular scenario.

To draft a lease agreement and provide maximum protection against future risks, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer or attorney from the outset.

In practice, not everyone avails the services of a professional lawyer for renting out or leasing their property. If you engage a real estate agent for finding or renting out a property, they typically have a standard contract template that simplifies the process.

However, individuals often post ads on public internet platforms for renting out or searching for accommodation and create a lease agreement using templates from the internet or other sources.

To minimize risks when drafting a lease agreement for accommodation, it is important to consider a set of conditions that should be stipulated in the agreement.

For a lease agreement to be considered concluded, it must necessarily define essential conditions: the subject matter, price, and the term of the agreement.

According to the general rule for entering into any contract, the parties must determine its essential conditions, including the subject matter of the contract and other necessary conditions for that particular type of contract.

Based on the current legislation of Ukraine, we have identified the following essential conditions of a lease agreement for accommodation:

  1. Subject matter of the contract – information about the property, i.e., the characteristics of the apartment you plan to rent or lease, including its precise address, area, and the technical plan of the apartment.
    To achieve this, it is strongly recommended to obtain from the apartment owner (or their authorized representative) copies of the property title documents for the apartment, confirming the ownership or the right to use and dispose of it!
    Also, it is advisable to obtain a copy of the technical passport for the apartment, which includes the plan of the specified apartment.
    In practice, apartment owners (or their authorized representatives) often refuse potential tenants to provide copies of such documents, and the original ownership documents may only be provided for inspection, as an exception. Therefore, for prospective tenants, it is strongly recommended to use the services of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, where you can order up-to-date information from the State Register of Property Rights (SRPR) for real estate regarding ownership of the apartment you are interested in at any time. To do this, you need to know the exact address of the apartment (search by address) or the taxpayer identification number/name of the apartment owner. The cost of such information is approximately 30 hryvnias. However, with the SRPR, you will not be able to see current information if the apartment was acquired before 2013 and has not been registered in the SRPR since then. Therefore, if there is no information about the apartment you are interested in in the SRPR, it is strongly recommended for potential tenants to obtain at least a copy of a document confirming ownership of the apartment (purchase and sale agreement, certificate of ownership, certificate of inheritance, etc.) from the owner (or their authorized representative).
  2. Lease Term – Specify the start and end date of the lease term or the term of the lease agreement. As a general rule, in practice, the document confirming the fact of transferring the apartment for rent and its acceptance by the tenant is an acceptance-transfer certificate, which is signed by the parties at the time of handing over the keys to the apartment, and the lease term begins from this moment.
    Please note that when signing the acceptance-transfer certificate for the apartment, it is necessary to specify (list) all property located in the apartment at the time of its transfer, its quantity, as well as qualitative characteristics (model, brand, if it concerns household or other equipment), and also the condition of such property. If the property has obvious defects (e.g., scratches or other defects), it is necessary to indicate this in the certificate, which will protect you as a tenant from possible claims from the landlord in the future.
  3. Rent – The amount of rent (what it consists of), the term, and the method of payment (bank transfer, cash, etc.), as well as the conditions for its revision.
    It is worth noting that in practice, rent is often paid in cash rather than by bank transfer. In the case of paying the rent in cash, we recommend signing any written document between the tenant and the landlord confirming the amount of rent paid and the period for which such payment is made. This can be a bilateral acceptance-transfer of funds or a separate addendum to the apartment lease agreement, which will contain a kind of payment schedule indicating the amount, payment period, and the signatures of the parties.
    !!! Please note that only the parties to the lease agreement or their authorized representatives can be parties to the document confirming the receipt of rent, and to confirm this, the corresponding power of attorney (notarized) must be presented, specifying the authority to receive/transfer funds, depending on who acts on the basis of the power of attorney (landlord or tenant).
  4. Security Deposits – Here, parties typically determine the amount of the deposit (usually equivalent to one month’s rent) to cover potential losses or other property claims by the landlord against the tenant in the future.
    !!! In the case of payment of a security deposit, it is recommended to sign a bilateral document (see comments on clause 3).
  5. Rules of Use of the Apartment – Here, it should be determined whether other residents have the right to live with the tenant. If such right is defined by the terms of the agreement, these residents should be identified, and their details (full name, passport information, taxpayer identification number, registration address, etc.) should be included in the agreement. It is also recommended to obtain copies of identity documents for such residents.
  6. Rights and Obligations of the Parties – A list of the rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant is defined.
  7. Termination Conditions (Early Termination) of the Lease Agreement and the Procedure for Refunding Paid Sums as a Security Deposit – Cases where either party has the right to early termination (termination) of the agreement are determined. These cases usually involve violations of obligations by either party as defined in the lease agreement or advance notice to the other party about such early termination, in the absence of violations of the agreement’s terms. In case the tenant pays a security deposit, conditions for the return of the paid funds should be specified.
  8. Responsibilities of the Parties – This is an important instrument that safeguards each party from possible abuses or breaches of obligations by the other party. In case of delayed payment of rent and/or utility bills, this may include a penalty, calculated for each day of payment delay, and compensation for damages in case of harm to the landlord’s property.
  9. Details and Signatures of the Parties. It is important to specify all details of the tenant and the landlord, including full name, passport information, registration address, taxpayer identification number, phone number, email address (if applicable). !!! It is strongly recommended that when signing the apartment lease agreement, the parties exchanging copies of their passports and taxpayer identification numbers.

To ensure the protection of your rights and property, we recommend reaching out to our law firm First Legal Kyiv where our lawyers have extensive experience in contractual work and will consider all your preferences while maximizing the protection of your rights. We will help to draft a contract of any complexity!

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