If mylandlord refuses to give a lease or rental agreement, what are my rights to obtain one?

I am a business owner. I feel that I need a lease because my landlord frequently increases my rent. He also expects me to fix the equipment I rent from him when it breaks. Can I force him to give me a lease or rental agreement? If so, how? If not, what can I do to ensure I am not unjustly evicted?

Asked on March 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately you can't force or require a landlord to give you a written lease, other than by threatening to leave if you don't get one. Written leases are not requiered under law; oral leases are allowed. And while there are significant problems with oral leases--they are only for one month at a time; it's hard to prove their terms; they provide little certainty--the big advantage for many is that since they are only for 1 month at a time, they can be changed--or terminated--on one month's notice. So while you can always try to play hardball to "force" the landlord to give you a written lease, there is no legal basis for requiring one; and if you play hardball, you have to be prepared for the consequences.


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