Landlord Tenant Legal Advice for Lease Agreements & Negotiations


Optimizing the rental process is critical to the long-term profitability of your real estate business. Using a lease that is drafted with a landlord’s interests in mind is an important first step. As a landlord adding the Home Business Supplement to your Legal Plan gives you the ability to work with a lawyer on this important part of the rental process.

The lease you use should cover certain key terms and conditions

To be effective, a lease must adequately protect your financial interests. To be enforceable, the document must comply with federal, provincial and local laws.

Working with a lawyer can help ensure that the terms and conditions covered in your lease thread the needle between effectiveness and enforceability.

On this page

  • Tenancy term
  • Financial terms and conditions
  • Occupancy rules and regulations
  • Rights and responsibilities 
  • Have a lawyer review the lease to make sure your property is properly protected

Tenancy term

A lease that sets proper expectations and addresses common issues related to the lease term can help you avoid disputes and prevent unexpected rental gaps.

Should your lease be month to month, 6 months with renewals, a year or something else?

Choosing the right term to use in your lease is a balance between risk vs. reward. Month-to-month leases provide flexibility but may sacrifice income stability. Multi-year leases may provide income stability but can be a problem if a tenant turns out to be a problem.

What date, specifically, should the lease start and end?

To avoid confusion related to pro-rating rent, notice deadlines, late fees and other time-sensitive elements of a lease, it may be best to start and end leases on the first and last day of a month.

What happens if a tenant wants to leave early? Or stay longer? 

If a tenant stays after the end of the lease term and the landlord accepts rent, they become a holdover tenant with the right to occupy the property under a new lease term. Make sure your lease properly covers this situation to avoid having to evict a tenant that won’t leave. A lease normally will provide when a landlord or tenant may terminate the lease and the notice that is required.

Financial terms and conditions

Every province has laws that address what landlord can and cannot do when it comes to financial terms. Do you know the laws in your province and does your lease comply?

If you offer multi-year leases, it’s important to address rental fee increases so you don’t get locked into a low payment over the long term. Also, some provinces prevent landlords from billing tenants for shared utilities, so you’ll want to make sure utilities, HOA fees and other financial items beyond the monthly rental fee are clearly articulated in your lease.

Rather than stress and guess, get a legal plan from LegalShield and have a provider lawyer help make sure you’re following the law.

Occupancy rules and regulations

There are a variety of issues beyond the rental rate and term that warrant specific treatment in your lease document to proactively avoid disputes and have adequate legal protection should you end up in front of a judge.

Many landlords are not aware that they can, for example, require tenants to maintain the lawn, use felt pads under their furniture to protect hardwood floors and require guests to remove their shoes. Adding key details is an important part of protecting your property. Here are a few other common areas you may want to address in your lease.

  • Rules for roommates, guests and subletting the rental unit
  • Neighborhood noise ordinances or other regulations
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the rent if there are multiple “roommates” and one skips town?
  • If the power goes out through no fault of the landlord, tenants can hold the landlord liable, unless you address it in the lease.
  • What pets, if any, are allowed to reside in the rental unit

A LegalShield business legal plan provides landlords access to vital legal assistance at an affordable price.

Rights and responsibilities

Both landlords and tenants have certain rights and responsibilities under federal, provincial and local law. Having a good understanding of the laws that govern your rental relationship is an important part of creating an effective and enforceable lease.

  • Does your advertising or lease agreement violate anti-discrimination laws?
  • Are you required to provide accommodation to a disabled tenant?
  • If you do have to modify your unit to accommodate a disabled tenant, who’s responsible for the cost?
  • When are you allowed and not allowed to enter the property once a tenant is occupying it?

Some of the questions above are simply a matter of law. Some issues may require specific language in your lease agreement.

Whether you have a simple question about your lease, a complicated question about a specific law, or any other legal question related to your rental business, when you have a business legal plan from LegalShield, you can pick up the phone and get the legal advice you need without worrying about getting a huge legal bill at the end.

Get a lawyer to review your lease before your tenant signs

LegalShield offers the most affordable way to have a lawyer on your side. As a landlord adding the Home Business Supplement to your Legal Plan gives you the ability to work with a lawyer on this important part of the rental process.

Have a lawyer review the lease to make sure your property is properly protected

A lawyer may charge $150-$400 an hour for even basic advice. As such, most people don’t think of calling a lawyer when they have quick questions or need someone to look over a lease and provide feedback. That could be a mistake.

First, using a standard rental agreement downloaded from the internet without having a lawyer make sure it meets the legal requirements in your state can have significant legal and financial implications over the long term. Second, LegalShield makes getting day-to-day legal support to protect your real estate investments super easy and very affordable.

Our most popular legal plan for landlords is only $47.90 per month and allows you to have your lawyer review your lease (or any other documents up to 15 pages each) and get unlimited legal consultation on all aspects of your rental business. Furthermore, your provider lawyer is available to make calls and write letters on your behalf to help resolve a dispute with a tenant, contractor or any other third party.

Answers to frequently
asked questions

What is a pre-paid legal plan and how does it work?

Instead of paying a lawyer by the hour, you pay a small monthly fee (starting at $32.95) and get a huge variety of legal services without a huge legal bill. Services like consultation with a lawyer, document review, preparation of a Will and defence at civil trials are included as standard benefits. Just using the plan once can save you literally thousands of dollars. Watch the video on our home page for more information.

Using the plan is as simple as signing up and contacting our team. They will connect you a lawyer in your location that specializes in the specific legal issue you need help with. Also, you can download our super simple app to quickly access your legal benefits and perks anytime.

How long after I join can I use the plan?

You can use your plan as soon as your membership application is reviewed and your account is set up. The review process takes 12 – 24 hours (or less) from the moment you purchase your plan (on regular business days). Once accepted, you can be in contact with a lawyer and begin to use the plan benefits and member perks outlined in the membership agreement right away.

How much can I save with a membership?

The average lawyer charges between $150 – $400 per hour. If you use your membership for even just a few hours a year you could easily save over $1,000. If you have a bunch of small legal issues or one rather complicated issue, you can easily save multiple thousands of dollars over hiring a lawyer directly. Not to mention the stress you’ll save by having a lawyer on call instead of trying to handle legal issues yourself. Also, our lawyers often help our members recover thousands of dollars of damages or avoid thousands of dollars in fees over what they would have experienced had they tried to resolve the legal issue themselves. Obviously, every member and usage situation is different, but when used correctly, your membership can easily save significant amounts of money. Not to mention savings from our member perks.

Who is covered under the Personal Plan?

Our Personal Plan is really a family plan. You, your spouse or partner and your dependants living at home are covered under one membership.

There is more information about this on the Personal Plan Coverage & Pricing Page.