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What is an Addendum and How Is It Used?

by Editor | ezLandlordForms
lease addendum meaning

The Latin word “addendum” appeared more than 230 years ago to define “something added.” Here we are in the early 21st century, and no one on Earth speaks Latin as his or her native language.

Yet, that word, addendum, is still in heavy use to describe something added to a book, to a magazine, to a yearbook, and, yes, to a lease agreement.

Even if you are in that small minority of folks who still remember a few words from long-ago Latin lessons, the use of lease addenda (that’s plural for addendum) may still stump you. So here’s the 411 on that important form.

  • A lease addendum is usually a page or two long and often uses simple language.
  • A lease addendum typically addresses just one topic.
  • A lease addendum can be used even if you already have a comprehensive lease agreement.
  • A lease addendum is as important as the rest of the lease.
  • Rules in a lease addendum aren’t optional; they must be followed by tenants.

When do you use a lease addendum?

There are common misconceptions about using lease addendum. Among them is the belief that a lease addendum is drawn up after a lease has been signed, in order to change some existing term. However, the more common tool used to make changes after a rental lease is signed is the lease amendment.

Another myth is that a solid lease shouldn’t need addenda; after all, the thinking goes, any rental property rule should be listed in the rental lease. That may be true for rules that can be explained in a sentence or two. However, some lease rules need more explanation, extra details, and a separate signature or place for a tenant to add their initials.

These are a few examples of rules that may not need a home lease addendum, followed by examples of rules which probably need to be explained in an addendum:

Addenda is typically not needed when including these rules:

  • No pets are allowed.
  • Subleasing is not permitted.
  • Bedbugs or other pest problems must be reported to the landlord.
  • No landscaping is permitted without the landlord’s written permission.
  • Smoking is prohibited on the leased premises or rental property common areas.

Addenda recommended for these rules:

  • The tenant has the option to purchase the leased property.
  • Pets are permitted but tenants must follow certain rules and pay a pet deposit.
  • Tenant’s guests may visit for no more than a specified number of days in a row.
  • Tenants who move out before a lease expires must pay a specified early termination fee.
  • Installing a satellite or antenna must be done according to the landlord’s guidelines.

What are the advantages to using addenda with your lease?

The primary purposes of a written lease agreement are to have a document that outlines the parties’ rights and responsibilities and to remove any doubt about terms and rules. It plays a critical role in minimizing potential misunderstandings and disputes.

It’s common for questions to come up throughout the time a tenant has possession of your rental property. A comprehensive lease with the necessary addenda anticipates the questions that may arise and spells out the answers in advance. This makes the lease the most important go-to source for both tenant and landlord.

The length of the lease will depend in great part on the number of addenda and disclosures (both optional and required by law) that are included. Obviously, addenda will make a lease agreement longer, but they offer the benefit of breaking a long document into sections that make the lease easier to read and refer to.

Addenda also come in very handy when terms that are in the basic lease don’t need to be changed with every new tenant. The landlord can retain rules that will apply to every new tenant – and then select addenda that may address a specific tenant’s needs.

The pet addendum is a good example of this. If an incoming tenant has no pets, the lease can simply state that there will be no pets. There is no need for a pet addendum that is typically used to spell out how many pets will be living in the rental property.

Likewise, a roommate addendum may have been used in the past but, if the new tenant lives alone, there is no need to include a roommate addendum.

Can I write my own lease addendum?

To apply our earlier Latin lesson, a lease “addendum” simply means information that is added to a lease. Since every leasing situation is a little different, it makes perfect sense to craft your own lease addendum to address unique terms. If you can’t find an addendum that applies to your special situation, create your own.

Type in terms on a computer rather than handwriting them. Give your addendum a title that includes “addendum.” Enter a date, the rental property address, and the parties’ names, just as they appear in other addenda. A blank addendum template has those fields and allows the landlord to enter just the information on the specific rule to be addressed.

Whether using a template or starting from scratch, use clear language to define the rule and list guidelines and fees, if appropriate. Explain how the tenant must report any problems or issues that could be encountered with the rule.

Addenda that you create on your own must comply with Landlord-Tenant laws, so be sure that your addendum is not violating those rules.

Don’t be concerned if the addenda make your lease agreement longer than you expected. Veteran landlords know that the more information a tenant has, the better the tenant can follow your expectations.

What is a residential lease addendum?

A residential lease addendum is attached to the original lease at the time of signing or shortly thereafter. It adds extra rules, requirements, or disclosures to the earlier agreement.

What is a lease addendum extension?

An agreement that extends the length of an existing lease is known as a lease extension addendum. The addendum will include a new lease expiration date that is acceptable to both the landlord and the renter.

The purpose of this Addendum is to extend or prolong the term of the Original Lease. Also, it may document any increase in rent throughout the Extended Lease Period. Particularly if the extension is for a little time, it is typical for the initial rent amount to vary (and increase). This sum will be included in the amendment. All other terms of the original Lease Agreement shall be applicable.

A tenant can be added to or removed from a lease using an add/remove tenant lease amendment. This frequently occurs between tenants who live together and in instances when there are roommates. After a split, the departing spouse frequently asks the landlord to take them out of the lease. In addition, if a new tenant moves in, the landlord may ask to add them to the lease.

What are lease addendum Laws? 

Lease addendum laws are legal regulations dictating what can and cannot be added to a lease agreement.

Lease addendum laws exist to protect tenants from unfair or predatory practices by landlords. For example, a landlord might try to add an unreasonable rent increase to the lease agreement after it has been signed or try to require the tenant to perform excessive or dangerous repairs on the property.

If you are a tenant, it is important to be aware of your rights under lease addendum law, and to consult an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about your lease agreement.

Do tenants have to sign a lease addendum?

It all depends on the timing. Do tenants have to sign the entire set of paperwork that comes with the lease in order to begin their tenancy? Or is this an amendment to an existing lease that still has some time until its initial expiration date?

Let’s understand both scenarios:

  1. When you begin your tenancy: Yes, tenants must sign all of the documents to begin your new lease agreement if they are all legal and a common understanding is required to acknowledge them. No, tenants shouldn’t sign all the documents if they cannot accept the legal documents they are being forced to sign in order to have a lease that has been mutually agreed upon. It’s time to start looking for another rental property at that moment.
  2. In the middle of the agreement: Tenants might be able to decline to sign it if it is an addendum to a current lease. Particularly if they are aware that the addendum is against the law, voidable, or otherwise unenforceable under state landlord-tenant law or was forced upon them.

As you can see, timing and lawfulness both play a huge role here to determine the next course of action by tenants. The best line of action is to see a real estate lawyer or, if available, a local housing clinic for free counsel or assistance. Finally, landlords and tenants both should be aware of the landlord-tenant laws in their particular state. There are links to the landlord-tenant law for different states here.

Check the free lease addendum forms here by ezLandlordForms, the #1 site for landlords!

What happens if a tenant refuses to sign a lease addendum?

If the tenant does not agree to sign a lease addendum, you can take no legal action against the tenant. However, if the tenant signs, you as the landlord may decide not to renew the lease at the end of its term. Lease addendums must be signed by all parties, just like the lease agreement, in order to be legally binding. If the tenant refuses to sign, the addendum is not considered valid or legal because they have not agreed to the changes.

How to Write an Addendum to a Lease?

A lease addendum might help deal with certain problems peculiar to a property. You can adhere to certain fundamental guidelines if you decide to write your own addendum.

  • An Addendum is a document that supplements a lease agreement between a landlord and tenant. It should contain the essential terms and conditions of the lease. An Addendum can be added to any type of lease, including for land, commercial property, residential real estate, or office space.
  • The dates, names, and addresses of every party to the original lease agreement must be included in an addendum to the lease.
  • Each addendum should address a specific and distinct issue.
  • “The word “addendum” should be included in each title, following the topic of discussion.”
  • Addendums are typically one to two pages in length.
  • Both parties must sign all addenda in order for them to be legally binding.

Can a landlord add an addendum to a lease?

Yes, a landlord can add an addendum to a lease. An addendum is a document that is added to a lease to provide additional information or to make changes to the original lease. The addendum should be signed by both the landlord and the tenant, and it becomes part of the original lease agreement. The terms of the addendum should be consistent with the original lease and should not conflict with any laws or regulations. It is important for both the landlord and the tenant to carefully review the addendum before signing to ensure that they understand and agree to the terms.

What is the meaning of roommate addendum?

A roommate addendum is a document added to a lease agreement that outlines the specific terms and responsibilities of the individuals sharing a rental property. It may cover issues such as rent and utility payments, shared living spaces, and household rules.

Can we use lease addendum to add tenant?

Yes, a lease addendum can be used to add a tenant to an existing lease agreement. The addendum should be in writing and should be signed by all parties involved, including the original tenants and the new tenant. The addendum should clearly outline the terms and conditions that apply to the new tenant and should be added as an attachment to the original lease agreement. It’s important to note that the terms of the addendum should be in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

What is a utility addendum?

It outlines the specific details and responsibilities related to utilities, such as electricity, water, gas, and other services. The addendum typically clarifies who is responsible for paying for and managing the utilities during the tenancy.

What is the difference between a lease and an addendum?

A lease is a comprehensive document outlining the terms of a rental agreement. In contrast, a lease addendum is a supplementary document that modifies or adds specific terms to an existing lease. Essentially, a lease addendum refines or expands upon the original lease, providing additional clarity or stipulations for both parties involved.

What do you write in a roommate agreement?

In a roommate agreement, include rent and utility responsibilities, house rules, cleaning schedules, and guest policies. Outline expectations for shared spaces, noise levels, and communication channels. Address potential conflicts preemptively, fostering a harmonious living environment.

Visit ezLandlordForms.com to learn everything you need to know about third-party lease and learn to create a Lease Agreement that protects your investment.


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Colleen King
Colleen King
3 years ago

Is a addendum legal if only one tenant signs when i have both on the original lease?

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