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What Is A Lease On Property?

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A Lease is an agreement, which creates the relationship of landlord and tenant.  The landlord leases to the tenant exclusive possession of land or tenements for a period of time.  The length of the Lease may be for a determinate period of time or at will.  The land subject to the Lease is sometimes referred to as the “leasehold.”  A Lease should contain, at the minimum: the length of the Lease, the amount of the rent, the payment periods, a clear identification of the parties to the Lease including their addresses, a clear description of the property leased, the amount of any security deposit, and any other terms agreed upon by the parties.  State law may require that other terms be included in the Lease, such as identifying the landlord and his/her agent able to receive notices, the time and manner of rent increases, and the method of termination.  Leases or rental agreements, as a form of contract, imply a duty of good faith upon the parties to the agreement.  In addition, a Lease or rental agreement usually implies other terms, even if they are not specified.  The Lease usually implies a covenant of quiet enjoyment.  This is a covenant given by a landlord to the tenant arising from the terms of the Lease by law.  The tenant is able to enjoy the possession of the premises in peace and without disturbance.  Regardless of whether it is included in the Lease, most states have held that the tenant has an implied right of quiet enjoyment of the premises.  Another covenant usually implied in a Lease is the warranty of habitability.  The warranty of habitability means that the premises are suitable for habitation by people.  The Lease or rental agreement also implies that the landlord holds possession of the land or tenements and is able to lease or rent them.


Leases for more than one (1) year must be in writing and signed to be enforceable.  Residential Leases should be in writing, and a copy of the Lease must be delivered to the tenant at the beginning of the Lease.  


Oral Leases for more than the time period specified by law are still valid between the parties.  However, if a dispute arises between the parties, the fact that it is not in writing may make it unenforceable.  The advantage of putting a Lease in writing is that it reduces the possibility of disputes arising between the parties due to ambiguity or uncertainty.


There are several types of Leases.  The Lease or rental agreement creates a tenancy.  A tenancy is an interest in real estate or tenement belonging to the tenant who possesses it exclusive of others except as the Lease or law may permit a landlord’s right of entry to demand rent or to make repairs.  A Lease may be for a specific time period as stated in the rental agreement.   A tenancy that has no fixed time period is known as a tenancy at will.  If the length of the Lease is not specified in the rental agreement, the length is determined by the payment periods for rent.  The length may be week-to-week, month-to-month or year-to-year.  These types of Leases are sometimes referred to as periodic estates.  If the tenant remains on the premises after expiration of the Lease without the landlord’s consent, a holdover tenancy results.  A tenant who remains on the premises after expiration of the Lease is known as a “holdover tenant” or a “tenant at sufferance.”  If the landlord chooses to consent to the continued presence of the holdover tenant, the tenancy becomes a tenancy at will.

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What Is A Mechanics’ Lien On Property?

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A Mechanics’ Lien is a lien (or encumbrance) on real estate held by a person for labor, service or materials furnished in connection with the construction or improvement of real estate. The claim will allow for interest or right to property, or a portion of it, by the lien holder that arises by law or agreement until payment of a debt or liability is satisfied.  This type of lien is typically codified by a statute of the state which governs the creation, extent, filing, and foreclosure of the lien. The time limitations for filing of the lien and foreclosure of it are set by statute.

In many cases, a lien on property must be removed before the sale of the property may commence.

For most states, the lien must be verified or sworn under oath and must include the names and addresses of the lien claimant, the owner of the real estate, and/or their agent, the street address and legal description of the real estate subject to the lien, the amount due or claimed, including an itemized list of labor or materials furnished, the nature of the work performed, and when the work began and ended. The time for filing of the lien determines its priority with respect to other liens on the real estate.  Please see specific state for details and/or differences.

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Budgeting For The Holidays And Special Events

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Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. To the left are some worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. In the meantime, here are some other tips for not overspending:

Set a Limit - Before any spending spree begins, make sure you know your limit. Set your cap a bit below as last minute expenses may arise. Did you account for mailing the gift? Gift wrap? The unexpected can creep on you before you know it! Also, take a look at how much you have spent in the past. Was it too much? What expenses surprised you? Asking questions like these will help you plan for the holidays and events to come.

Make a Gift List - Instead of hoping for something to catch your eye, keep a list of gift ideas. This way you will know what you are looking for and be able to better preplan the budget. This will also prevent buyers remorse - sometimes that gift that seemed like a great idea when you were in the store may not be so great when you sit down to gift wrap it.

Pay Cash - Credit cards are easy to use but not all of us are good at paying them off as soon as the bill comes. Taking cash helps you stick to your budget. Another alternative is the prepaid credit cards that you load with a limited amount in advance. Many also find these pre-paid credit cards a nice alternative to use for online purchases for extra credit protection.

Shop Early or Late - Depending on how far in advance you like, plan to shop either in advance of the holiday season or post-holiday season with the next year in mind. This will allow you to stick to a budget and not get caught up in last minute buys. It will also relieve a lot of the stress that comes with shopping during the busiest shopping days of the year!

Allow Time for Shipped Gifts - Plan ahead if you are shipping gifts to friends and relatives far away. Waiting until the last minute will mean more expensive postage to get gifts to the door on time.

Take Time to 'Comparison Shop' - Some of us get our list together and then just want to get it over and done with. Be patient, compare store prices and options before you go out to buy. This will help stretch that budget further.

Be Creative - Have fun with your gift ideas. Consider homemade or crafted gifts; however, don't forget the time involved making these items! Or make your own gift baskets - know a lot of chocolate lovers? Instead of buying a pre-made gift set - make your own basket of local chocolates or goodies.

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