planning to rent?

A Sample Rental Agreement

prepare for yourself here

An Interactive Tool
prepared and posted 12-2008; note that laws change and forms may be revised at any time


The Fair Housing Council (FHCO) has selected the Metro Multifamily Housing Association’s (http://www.metromultifamily.com) (MMHA) Rental Agreement as a sample rental contract.

PLEASE NOTE: We do not sell this, or any other, form. The agreement form used here as a sample, along with other rental forms, may be purchased through Multifamily Housing Association (http://www.metromultifamily.com).

It is our aim is to demystify the process of filling out a rental contract by providing tips and instructions you can use with this or other similar rental agreement forms.  We provide this material to assist you in becoming an informed renter with an understanding of what will be asked of you and why, in order to help you protect your rights as a housing consumer.

Note that in addition to hyperlinked tips and instructions specific to this form, we have provided you with additional links throughout this document with more general renting information and definitions.

The FHCO would like to give special thanks to the industry professionals, advocates, and colleagues who helped provide the material for this interactive forms project!

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Interactive Sample MMHA Rental Agreement now

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Contents of this Page:

Questions About Your Credit?
What to Expect When Filling out a Rental Agreement
General Recommendations
Additional Words of Caution
About the MMHA Rental Agreement Form
Using this Interactive Tool

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If you have questions about your credit:

  • For a list of Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling agencies by state visit http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm.
  • If you feel you have been a victim of predatory lending, contact the Oregon Dept. of Consumer and Business Services Division of Finance and Corporate Securities at 866/814-9710, or http://dfcs.oregon.gov.  
  • Visit our Preparing to Rent, Credit, & Financial Literacy page at
    www.FHCO.org/prep_to_rent.htm for more information.

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What to Expect When Filling Out a Rental Agreement:

Your landlord may accept your application during a face-to-face appointment, over the telephone, through the mail, or via the internet. You should read and review the entire rental agreement, as well as any addenda or attachments, very carefully.  Be certain that you thoroughly understand it before signing it and that all of the information is accurate.

If you are unable to read or write you have the right to take the agreement home and get help from someone you know or an assistance agency. You should know that until you and the landlord both agree and both sign the rental agreement contract, it is possible that someone else may come, apply, and rent the unit you were considering in the meantime so be sure to stay in touch with the potential landlord and return the signed agreement to him/her as soon as possible.

Never sign a legal document with blanks not filled in or “scratched out” as unscrupulous individuals could alter the document without your knowledge, making it look as if you had signed it with the information s/he had added. Both you and your landlord will sign the original agreement; be sure you get a copy of the signed contract as well. Note: You should obtain a copy of any document you sign at the time you sign the document; that way you will know you have received an accurate copy of what you signed and not something that may have been subsequently altered.

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General Recommendations:

Never sign any document you don't understand or that has blank lines that are not filled in or otherwise crossed out. Your rental contract spells out your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the landlord including the amount of your rent, when the rent is due, penalties for late payments, etc.

It is also very important that you know whether you or your landlord is responsible for the cost of utilities, upkeep of the grounds, etc. 

Note that landlords can legally evict renters under state landlord / tenant law because of: late rent, disturbing neighbors, damage to property, illegal activity, etc. Rules and procedures should be consistent and penalties for breaking the rental contract or community rules should be based on the bad behavior and treated consistently regardless of protected class status.

For more information on Oregon’s Landlord / Tenant Act visit:

For more information on Washington’s Landlord / Tenant Act visit:

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Additional Words of Caution:

  • Just because the landlord accepts you, does not mean you have to move in. Read the rental agreement carefully. If you do not agree with some of the rules, ask about them. If it doesn’t seem to work for you, don’t sign, and look for another unit to rent.
  • Sometimes landlords will say, in the rental agreement, that they will not accept rent in cash. Keep in mind that, if you are given a 72-hour notice to pay late rent or move out, you should be able to pay the full rent amount in cash during the 72-hour period, even if the rental agreement says that cash payments will not be accepted. Make sure to document this transaction in some way, especially if the landlord refuses to accept the cash and contact a lawyer immediately if your cash payment is refused within the 72-hour notice period.

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About the MMHA Rental Agreement Form:

The Fair Housing Council has selected the Metro Multifamily Housing Association’s (MMHA) Rental Agreement as a sample rental contract. MMHA is a landlord trade association with member landlords in Oregon and SW Washington.

Among other services, they sell rental forms to their members and the general public in their Portland, OR office and at http://www.metromultifamily.com . The Fair Housing Council would like to thank MMHA for allowing us to use their Rental Agreement form as a model form for this interactive project.

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Using this Interactive Tool:

Click here to open a copy of the MMHA Rental Agreement in Portable Document File (PDF) format.

You will need the Adobe® Reader® software to view this document; in addition, if you have any difficulty viewing the document, downloading the latest version may remedy the matter. Download a free copy of Adobe Reader (http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html) if needed.

Once opened, you may read the file online or save a copy by selecting File / Save As and choosing a location on your computer to save the sample document.

Whether reading the file online or saved to your computer, simply roll your mouse over the form to find hyperlinked sections. 

LEFT click once on each link to view the tips and instructions relevant to that section.  When you’re done with each, hit the "Return" button at the bottom or use your browser's "Back" button to continue on with the Interactive Rental Agreement Form.

Go to the Interactive Sample MMHA Rental Agreement now

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"Thank You"

The FHCO would like to thank our partners and members for their support.
Their contributions and grants have helped to make the resources on this site possible.
Please join them in supporting our efforts!

If you have a fair housing question, or to report a fair housing complaint, please call 503/223-8197 Ext. 2 or 800/424-3247 Ext. 2 (TTY and translation available). Alternatively, you may call HUD at 800/877-0246.

Office Location:

1221 SW Yamhill Avenue #305, Portland, Oregon 97205
information@FHCO.org .| .503/223-8197 .| .Hotline 800/424-3247 Ext. 2

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and the publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

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