A lease agreement addendum is an additional component to an already legally valid rental lease agreement. The addendum allows the tenant or the landlord to make changes to a contractually valid lease after it has been put into effect. The addendum can add or alter existing terms and conditions within the lease agreement to meet appropriate needs or requirements by either party. All parties must be in agreement to the addendum and the addendum must be signed to obtain its validity. For month to month rental agreements, the tenants will need to be provided with a reasonable amount of time for the addendum to take effect after it is signed.

Why Create an Addendum to a Lease

A lease agreement addendum can be created for multiple reasons. Creating an addendum ensures that the needs of either party are fully met and documented in the lease, thus making them legal. It is possible that additional details or conditions were identified after the lease was put in place and the addendum provides an opportunity to ensure everything is listed appropriately.

An Addendum to a lease can be created for the following reasons:

  • Changing the cost of late fees or rent
  • Changing the date the rent is due by
  • Updating the payment type accepted by the landlord
  • Include Pet Fees (rent or deposit)
  • Add a month to month option at the end of the lease
  • Address Subletting to ensure the property is not leased by the tenants
  • Identify responsible party for maintenance of the property (indoor vs outdoor)
  • Available options for lease termination (Military personnel, job offer, tenant incapacitation, etc.)
  • Identify responsible party for the Home Owners Association (HOA) dues
  • Document a smoking or drug policy
  • Document the responsible party for Utilities or Appliances
  • Disclosure due to renting the property “site unseen” (in which the tenant did not visit the property physically prior to signing the agreement)
  • To add additional tenants not originally disclosed on the rental agreement
  • Disclose the need or recommendation for Renter’s Insurance

Pros and Cons of a Lease Addendum

A Lease Addendum provides the property owner and the tenant with clear expectations and warrants that the desires of all parties are being met. Therefore, this can serve to protect both parties by ensuring they are fully informed of their responsibilities. Another positive aspect of an addendum is that both parties have to be in agreement and sign the addendum before it takes effect. No surprise clauses can be added mid-way through a lease or after it has been put in place unless all parties sign and agree with it.  However, because the tenant does not have to be in agreement with the addendum, this can impose issues and risks. Potentially causing friction and requiring arbitration dependent on the addendum being issued. Which could further result in time or money being spent attempting to resolve the proposed addendum.

Can an Addendum Be Attached to Any Lease Agreement?

Addendums may be attached to lease agreements where appropriate, and it is important to note most states do accept them. However, the landlord or tenant will want to verify with their local Real Estate Commission or their state Housing Commission. They will be able to provide what requirements, if any, must be fulfilled in order to request an addendum and what ensures it is valid.