In all aspects of life, we often learn from those with more knowledge and experience than us. Through research and trial and error, we can learn on our own, but sometimes that can come at a price, especially when dealing with legal matters. Rent-to-own agreements can range from basic to super complex. For situations such as this, you’re better off getting help from a seasoned professional to make sure no points are left uncovered.

Having a knowledgeable real estate attorney is an invaluable asset to both a seller and buyer for any home transaction, but especially with rent-to-own agreements. Rent-to-Own laws and regulations are different from place to place, so having your attorney on standby can guarantee a well-written agreement.

Your attorney can aid in writing a sufficient contract to be sure the following disclosures are detailed, and nothing is skipped:

The number of payments required and the due dates of the payments

With a traditional lease, you can expect to make a monthly payment for 12 months until you need to sign an updated lease agreement. When it comes to rent-to-own, that’s not always the case because, commonly, a lease is signed for at least two years. In a rent-to-own agreement, it’s important to be specific about exactly how many payments are to be made and when in order to gain ownership of the property. If these dates and numbers aren’t specified and planned out from the beginning, things could get muddy. In this section, an attorney would also recommend a statement providing clarification that the renter will not legally own the property until all agreed upon payments have been made.

The actual cash price of the home

This may seem like a no-brainer, but making sure the number of payments seamlessly match up to the final purchase price of the home is critical. Part of the financial education you receive in a legitimate rent-to-own program is learning how to pay attention to where every penny is going and why. Having the final purchase price clearly stated so everyone involved understands will not only help with your budgeting progress, but will make sure there are no gaps for your money to fall into something you didn’t agree to.

Landlord/Seller access to premises and Lessee to Maintain

While you’re in the tenancy phase of your agreement, it’s important to reiterate that you simply don’t own the home yet. The seller is still the legal owner; therefore, it is still their property. However, there are still differences between a traditional lease and a rent-to-own arrangement at this stage. With rent-to-own, you will most likely be responsible for the upkeep and repairs/maintenance of the property and the landlord/seller should have very little to do with this. There should really be no reason for them to enter the premises unless another term has been neglected, such as failure to pay or complete disregard for the safety and upkeep of the property. Your real estate attorney will help you specify in writing under what circumstances the seller is allowed access, if ever.

What your rights are

As mentioned earlier, all states have slightly different laws that can provide safety for both a seller and a buyer in terms of untraditional real estate agreements. An attorney would help you understand every right you are entitled to and would be able to represent you in a court of law if things were to go awry.


Before you sign a rent-to-own agreement, there are many important things to consider. Getting the professional help you need can make for a stress-free process. With a quick online search, you will be able to find the perfect match in an attorney that will have your best interest at heart.

Additional Resources

Rent-to-Own Law

Lease Guide