Top 10 “Must Include” Clauses in a Lease or Rental Agreement

Nowadays lease or rental agreements are available all across the web. However, one size does not fit all and most landlords and tenants find themselves in difficult situations. An important clause omitted from the agreement may create a chaos between the parties. Here are the top 10 clauses you need to include in your lease agreement at all times.


Obviously, the parties, the property address, the term, renewal clauses or expiration date of the lease agreement must all be clearly indicated.

Security Deposit

Landlords in Washington must disclose in the lease the circumstances under which all or part of the deposit may be withheld and must provide a receipt with the name and location of the banking institution where the deposit is being held. A security deposit can only be collected if there is a written lease agreement stating the condition of the premises. Washington law on security deposits can be found at Washington Revised Code Annotated §§ 59.18.260 to 59.18.285. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Washington.

Tenant’s repair and maintenance responsibilities

Landlords must make sure to include a clause that will indicate who is going to maintain the property and cover utilities’ costs. Itemizing the furnishing and their conditions will really help.


Landlords in Washington have a duty to warn a tenant of a known or reasonably knowable defects. This will help you to avoid unnecessary personal injury or other lawsuits later on.

Assignment and Subleasing

Even though it may not seem as a possibility today, it may happen that a one wishes to sublease / assign the rights on the lease agreement to a third party. If you include a written provision on assignment/sublease, as a landlord you are going to be in a better position if tenant wants to sublease the property by being able to reject or decline. You should know the pros and cons of subletting or entering into a new lease agreement with new tenant.

Pets on the Property; No home businesses

Entry to rental property

Lease agreement must have a clause clarifying the rights of access to the property, e.g. in order to make repairs.

Termination Clause

This is a very important. The issues you need to consider are early termination consequences, possible conditions that give rise to termination of lease agreement, eviction, holding over personal property for unpaid rent, etc.

Dispute Resolution

Lease agreement has to provide for the methods of dispute resolution between landlord and tenant.

Be aware of online forms you find on the Internet, those may not be the best way to protect yourself from possible claims you may not foresee. Should you need any experienced attorney in landlord-tenant area, please contact us at 206-838-8118 today.


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