How to Avoid Crime in Social Media

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Social media sites provide people with an easy way to stay connected with family members and friends, but these sites can also serve as a helpful crime-solving tool for law enforcement officers.

Michael Whalen, a Criminal Justice and Legal Studies instructor for South University Online Programs, says that although most police departments do not have a dedicated social media unit, detectives are beginning to use social network sites more often to investigate crimes.

For instance, YouTube is a popular place for people to post videos of fights, vandalism, etc,” Whalen says. “With video cameras integrated with nearly every cell phone these days, criminal behavior is caught on tape and shared every day. Sometimes the clips are uploaded by the offenders themselves.

Whalen says that one British study found that a high percentage of the burglars they interviewed admitted to using social media sites when choosing their targets.

If you have a Twitter account, anyone can ‘follow’ your tweets without having to be approved by you, so anyone could be watching your account to see when you tweet a message about how you’re waiting for the movie to start or what you’re doing on vacation,” Whalen says. “Google Maps ‘Street View’ is also helpful to burglars who can use it to plan in advance how they will try to get into your home.

With video cameras integrated with nearly every cell phone these days, criminal behavior is caught on tape and shared every day. He advises social media users not to announce anything on Facebook, Twitter, or FourSquare that they wouldn’t tell to a total stranger.

Think about that, would you turn to a stranger in a bar, show him your address, and tell him you won’t be home for two or three hours,” Whalen says? “That’s exactly what people do all the time when they carelessly update their Facebook status, tweet, or ‘check in’ on FourSquare. The average burglary only takes about 15 minutes to complete.

He advises social media users to check out the Internet Crime Complaint Center to learn more about ways to protect themselves from becoming a victim.

Connecting with the Police Department on Social Network Sites

Officer Jon Agnew, public information officer for the Bryan Police Department , in Bryan, Texas, says the department maintains a presence on social media sites.

We have a Facebook page and we also tweet,” Agnew says. “Citizens can contact us via Facebook for complaints or concerns. We also publish all of our safety recommendations and press releases on these websites.

Agnew says the most difficult part of maintaining the department’s social media presence is getting residents to go to the sites and register.

The people who care and are good citizens go and register or ‘like’ us,” Agnew says. “But those who we really want to reach, do not have the capabilities or do not care to be reached.

In addition to using social media as a way to connect with the community, George Richards, a Criminal Justice instructor for South University Online Programs, says police departments commonly use social networking sites to investigate and apprehend suspects for crimes such as cyber stalking and cyber bullying.

“However, these are not uncovered by police, but rather reported to them,” Richard says. As social media scams are becoming more common, Richards advises people to think wisely when using them.

The same advice for any type of scam will also serve in cyberspace,” Richards says. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Use common sense and don’t be too trusting.

Agnew says the laws regarding crimes committed on social media sites can be tricky.

This is really a nightmare when it comes to policing social media,” Agnew says. “It is like trying to police pirates in open waters. Who should investigate, what laws apply. Laws have recently changed that say you can investigate where the crime originates or where the victim lives.

Regardless, Agnew urges residents to report social media crimes to their local police departments, so they can launch an investigation, or at least get the right people involved to solve the crime.
Avoiding Internet Scams on Social Media Sites

John Harrison, group product manager at Symantec , says internet scams on social networking sites are increasing, as more people join these sites.

“With user groups with hundreds of millions of members, there is always some black sheep with malicious intent,” Harrison says. Harrison says scammers generally focus their efforts on the most popular social media sites, as they offer the greatest return for their efforts.

Harrison says there are countless types of internet scams on social network sites, but he describes these as the most common:

  • Copy-Paste Script Attacks: The user is tricked into copying malicious JavaScript into the address bar of the browser and executing it under the context of the facebook.com domain.
  • Like Clickjacking: The user is asked to click on some places on a page, but is not aware that he or she is actually clicking on an invisible iframe tag that is overlaying the page. The invisible layer contains the Facebook Like button, with a prefilled text and a link of the attacker’s choice.
  • Manual Like: The user is asked to manually like the rogue site in order to get access to some promised content.
  • Event Scams: Facebook allows users to create events with text and images and invite random people to it. This allows them to send the usual bait messages with URLs to many people, such as “find out who is stalking you.”
  • Phishing: It comes in various forms, such as fake email notifications that tell you that you have a friend request pending, or that your profile was suspended. If you follow the link in the email you are brought to a site that mimics the original Facebook login page, but in reality, it is a scam that will record your password before forwarding you to the real Facebook site.
  • URL Shortening Services: Users can create a short URL out of any given long link. This makes it easier to share as there is no line break and it fits well into short messages, too.

Harrison advises social media users to protect themselves from becoming a victim of an internet scam by being skeptical of any information or people that appear suspicious, checking site privacy policies and settings, using strong passwords and not sharing them, thinking twice before posting information, keeping software updated, and running a security suite from a trusted vendor, such as Norton.

If a user suspects they’ve been victimized by a social media scammer, Harrison says the type of action they need to take varies according to the scam. Resolving the issue can be as simple as changing the account password or unliking a Facebook page.

If one of your friends’ accounts has been compromised the best thing is to try to let them know about it via a different communication channel,” Harrison says. “Merely replying back to the email or account where the scam originated from will tip-off the hacker.

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Proven Ways to Prevent Crime in Your Community

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We used to keep our porch lights on and open the door when the doorbell rang, even if we didn’t know who was there. We don’t do that in the world we live in now. But there are many ways to take back control and prevent crime in your community. It just takes communication, commitment and time.

  • In honor of National Night Out —an annual community-building campaign held the first Tuesday every August—here are 10 ways to make your neighborhood a safer, better place to live today.
  • Work with your local public agencies and other organizations (neighborhood-based or community-wide) on solving common problems.
  • Set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol, working with police. Make sure your streets and homes are well lit.
  • Report any crime or suspicious activity immediately to the police. There’s even a free app for that: McGruff Mobile , available on iTunes or on the Google Play store . The app is powered by AlertID, a national online and mobile service, and includes a virtual neighborhood watch where you can share photos and info about activity with neighbors, police, and even Homeland Security. (It also shows you an interactive map of crimes and sex offenders in your neighborhood, and you can receive alerts and information via email or mobile device.)
  • If you own a dog, be a part of your local Dog Walker Watch crime awareness program (sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch ), and serve as “extra eyes and ears” for local law enforcement agencies in ongoing crime prevention efforts.
  • Volunteer to help clean up your community. Call your city offices or local waste management company and schedule a dumpster for the event. Then pick up litter together. Show you care about where you live and each other.
  • Organize to help clean and improve parks in your area. Well-kept play equipment and a clean park can attract enough people to discourage illegal activities. Insist that your local government maintain the parks, immediately repairing vandalism or other damage.
  • Adopt a school. Help students, faculty, and staff promote a sense of community through your involvement in a wide range of programs and activities. Work with the school to establish drug-free, gun-free zones if they don’t already exist.
  • Mentor young people who need positive support from adults—through programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters .
  • Create a community anti-violence competition. Include speech, dance, painting, drawing, singing, musical instrument acting, and other creative arts. Get young people involved to plan it and suggest prizes. Make it a fun, local celebration. You can hold it in a local park, and even include an old-fashioned potluck.
  • Support organizations that help make communities safer, like the National Crime Prevention Council.
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The U.S Data privacy and Data Protection

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Data privacy laws and legislation are in the news these days for a variety of reasons, and in a variety of countries. For example, government officials from the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) are currently engaged in a heated debate about the privacy of data that crosses national borders. There is hope that this debate can be resolved by something called the Privacy Shield, a new ‘Safe Harbor’ arrangement intended to maintain ‘transatlantic data flows’ by assuring Europeans that their privacy rights will not be negatively impacted if their data is transferred to the US (for example, when Europeans do business with American companies). At the same time, the clock has started ticking on an even more stringent EU data protection regulation, the GDPR.

One challenge posed by these debates and developments is to fully understand the way that data privacy and its legal protections are handled in different jurisdictions. The challenge is particularly acute in the US because it has a lot of different data privacy protections but no over-arching data protection legislation. So how can you get a comprehensive view of US data privacy protection? There are several good sources listed at the end of this article. I leaned on these and other sources when I put together this 15 page white paper: Data privacy and data protection: US law and legislation. Among the 80 or so references at the end of the paper you will find links to a lot of the federal privacy laws, and some of the articles I cited (articles without links may be available via Google Scholar using the Lazy Scholar plugin for Chrome or Firefox, or a good college library).

In addition to federal data privacy legislation, most of the 50 states have some privacy statues of their own. The white paper does not review these state laws, but makes the point that they are sometimes more protective of privacy than federal law, and they may be aggressively enforced by state attorneys general. Consumers in the US have another defender of data privacy in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The white paper discusses this agency’s role in policing the privacy and security of personal data. Here is an abstract of the paper:

Over the last four decades, the privacy of personal data has been the subject of legislation and litigation in both the US and the EU. Protection of personal data privacy under the law has been shaped by the interests of multiple constituencies: individuals, commercial organizations, government agencies, law enforcement, and national security services. This white paper examines the development of data privacy legislation in the US as an ongoing balancing act, with security interests on one side, and the interest of the individual on the other. The complex and arguably incomplete nature of US data privacy law is often criticized by countries that have more comprehensive data protection legislation. Yet that very complexity can obscure some data privacy protections that are then overlooked by critics. The paper serves to provide a neutral review of US data privacy legislation; however, it also observes that interests other than those of the individual have tended to prevail in US data privacy legislation, notably the interests of commerce, as well as those of state security agencies, particularly those that respond to the complex technical realities of data communication and data processing with a “collect everything” approach to electronic surveillance. Hopefully, all or parts of this paper will prove helpful to We Live Security readers as the data privacy debates roll on. Data protection will continue to evolve in the EU and US with the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), also known as the European Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR is not discussed in the white paper – it probably merits one of its own). Knowing how data privacy protection has evolved in the US so far should help inform its further progression. And there is no doubt in my mind that progress needs to be made. The trust-eroding effects of weak privacy protection on our economy are clearly reaching measurable proportions.

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Understanding the Criminal Justice

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The terms “criminology” and “criminal justice” are often used interchangeably even though they’re not the same thing. If you ask 10 college students who plan to work as police officers what they were studying, chances are that half of them will tell you criminology and the other half will say criminal justice. The fields are definitely related, but you should be able to distinguish between the two if you’re looking into this type of career.

What Is the Difference Between Criminal Justice and Criminology?

Criminology is the study of crime and its causes, costs, and consequences. Criminal justice is the system in which crimes and criminals are detected, detained, tried and punished. People who study criminal justice actually learn about all the different components and inner workings of the system.

What Are the Components of the Criminal Justice System?
Three main components make up the
criminal justice system: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. They work together to prevent and punish deviant behavior.

The History of Crime and Punishment
The criminal justice system has its roots in the Roman Republic and medieval England, which is one of the reasons why Latin remains the basis of the language of the courts. Concepts such as restitution and execution are carried over from ancient times, although other ancient punishments such as mutilation, flogging and branding have largely been done away with in industrialized countries as our sensibilities and understanding of crime have changed.

Incarceration and the prison system only became widely used in the 1800s. When society deemed it necessary to separate a criminal from the population before that time, he was usually exiled and often threatened with death if he returned home.

Modern Policing
Another relatively new development in criminal justice is the modern police force. Once viewed as the duty and responsibility of every male citizen, maintaining safe and secure communities has now become a function of the government.

The criminal justice system continues to evolve through the work of criminologists and law enforcement professionals as we search for ways to better serve victims, witnesses, society and even suspects and convicted criminals. The study of criminal justice helps us learn better ways to solve a crime and protect citizens.

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legal-app

Best Mobile Apps to Handle Lawyers’ Tasks

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Recently, mobile apps become more popular in supporting lawyers’ daily tasks. According to ABA Legal Technology Report, there are three the most downloaded mobile apps by lawyers in 2013, which are; Fastcase, Westlaw and Lexis and WestlawNext. In recent days, lawyers have more options of which apps that could be able to support their business in law. There are tons of downloadable mobile apps available both in Appstore and Google Play now. The following we provide list of the most recommended apps for lawyers:

To -Do-List
Wunderlist and Google Keep are two best mobile apps for doing the “To-Do-List” task. Both of them can be used in android platform only. Please download them for free in Play Store.

Note Taking
Evernote and Drafts App are the winners of this task. The first can be operated in all mobile system. If you are looking simple note taking apps , then Evernote is specially created for you. The best thing of this app is that FREE. The second one only be operated in iOS, and to download it you will be charged with $9,99.

Time Keeping
There are may good options for this type of apps. Cyber Advocate has listed six kings of Time-Keeping apps, they are iTimeKeep (IOS and Android), Time Master + Billing (iOS and Adroid), Billa4time (iOS and Adroid), Hours Tracker (iOS and Android), Timewerks Pro (iOS), Office Time (iOS).

Security
Since having data online is vulnerable from hacker attack, security should become one of primary concerns of lawyers. They must secure their password or login access with a very reliable security app. 1Password App is the app that we recommend in doing this task. Please note, it is not only available for mobile devices but also it can be used on PC and Mac. You can download this app for free with limited feature or pay $9,99 with full feature.

Legal/Legal Research
I personally believe that TranscriptPad App is the best for doing the legal research task. There are a range of great features on this app. It lets a court or deposition transcript straight into the app to read your Ipad. However, you need to pay $89,99 to download it. Other good apps for doing the same task are AustLII, Lexis Nexis Red, Torts, HeinOnline,and LawSauce.

Email/Inbox
There is no doubt, Gmail app is the best apps in term of receiving and sending email. It make you easier in checking your inbox. You only need to sync your smartphone with your gmail account and you will receive notification each time you got a new message in your inbox.

Networking
CamCardis the only app that we can recommend as the best networking app. To operate it, you are required to sign up on the CamCard Website to scan all your scanned information across all devices. This is available both in iOS and Android.

Document/Typing
The best and the most popular apps for doing this task is Microsoft Word. Use it in your smart phone will make you easier to handle your daily-typing task. Microsoft Word is free but $99,99/year for office 365.

Dictation
Dictate+Connect is the most reliable apps for doing this task. With this app, you can turn your phone into a recorder device that can be run for 24-hours straight. Free version of this app allow lawyers to test the app with sound files for 30 seconds only. It can be operated on Android with $9,99 charge and iOS with $16,99 charge.

Negotiation
Negotiation 360⁰ will help lawyer to be a good negotiator. With this, you can record and analyze data on your negotiation. In addition, this app makes you be able to do self-evaluations. It is only available on iOS and $2.99 charge.

mobile apps lawyers

Best mobile apps for lawyers

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what is trademark

The Process of Trademark Registration

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In order to be a legal Trademark, name or logo of certain product must be registered as trademark in certain country. The registration should pass a number of process that involving multiple steps before it can be legally acclaimed as an intellectual property right. The following we describe the trademark registration in USPTO – United States Patent and Trademark. (Please note, the process tends to be similar in many jurisdictions).

STEP 1:
Make sure that your product is eligible as trademark. You must clearly understand of which marks that can be registered as trademark. Please note, only those have commercially purposes that would be claimed as trademark. Simply, for goods, the mark must be embedded on the goods, the container for the goods or displayed associated with the goods and the goods must be sold or transported commercially. For services, the mark must be used in sale or advertising of the services, and be rendered in commerce.

STEP 2:
Do trademark searching on database. This process must be done before filling the trademark application. Since trademark must be unique, one must assure that his or her mark is not already claimed by others. Please do carefully research on USPTO database.

STEP 3:
Registering a Trademark. This step can be done either onlie or offline. Filling application online can be made trhough TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System). You may also request hard copy of the application form at Trademark Assistance Center. In this registration process, you will be required to provide:

  • Applicant’ name
  • Name and Address for corresponded.
  • A listing of the goods or services.
  • For foreign applicants: designation of domestic representative.
  • The filling fee for at least one class of goods or services, the cost ranging from $275 – $325.

Typically, USPTO examine your application three to four months of filling. In case, there is no objection or the objection has been resolved , the application will be approved for publication in the Trademark Official Gazette.

Trademark registration

Trademark registration process

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Letter of agreement

How To Write Letter of Agreement? – Sample of Letter of Agreement

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Letter of agreement is a standard business letter that consists of points which identify all works to be done, detail descriptions of the points, and relevant information to them: cost, schedule, deadline, terms of payment, etc. This letter has function as strategy to ensure that all parties understand their rights, obligations and the terms before the job begin. To write a letter of agreement, there is no set format to be followed. However, ones must consider to include the following common areas to be included in the letter of agreement;

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  • Nature of agreement which covers the explanation about what the freelancer and the client will be responsible for. The responsibility of freelancer may include designing logo and writing newsletter while client’s responsibility may be providing background materials and arranging for printing services.
  • The letter of agreement may also describe the specific product what the freelancer will deliver. For exemplifying this, a – ten page of newsletter containing 10.000 – 15.000 words. Other related project also might be mentioned clearly.
  • Calculation of project cost. Practically, the estimated cost of project is usually based on the number of hours of freelancer will works. Sometimes, he or she will be paid with a range (for example $2000 – $3500). It is also important to include other type of costs such as long-distance phone costs that might be freelancer’s responsibility or client’s responsibility.
  • A good letter of agreement must specifically state the timeline or schedule of the work. Specific dates must be listed clearly that may include when the first draft is due and when the final draft is due.
  • How the freelancer will be paid is described in term of payment. In common situation, half payment to freelancer at the beginning of the project and the rest payment will be paid after the project is finished.
  • Other common areas may also be included in the letter of agreement such as intellectual property right concern consult to lawyer and other related things.

Please note each letter of agreement is different from others due to their own purposes and their unique situations. However, the above lists of considerations is commonly found in most letter of agreement. These, therefor, can be used as basic reference to write a letter of agreement. The following sample of letter of agreement may describe further how to write a letter of agreement.

You may also like this: Things to be Considered Before Registering A Trademark

Letter agreement sample

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Class Action Lawsuit Controv

Support and Controversy of Class Action Lawsuits

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One of the most important aspects of class action lawsuits that supported by most people is that they are mainly purposed to advance several important public policy goals. Through the lawsuit, a serious injured person may be able to remedy injustices they receive from multinational corporation. The statement of William O. Douglas (former United States Supreme Court Justice) has affirmed that “The class action is one of the few legal remedies the small claimant has against those who command the status quo.” The class action lawsuit also enable to force the corporations to stop their fraudulent action since they must responsible greater compensations rather than those incentives to be paid in individual lawsuit.

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In addition, the class action lawsuits receive public support in term of their effectiveness. Plaintiffs can attain an effective remedy of injustices without burdened with the costs of thousands of separate lawsuits and risking inconsistent decisions by the courts. The last thing to say that class action lawsuits give opportunity to individual to take – on multi-national corporations, where expenses of litigating would be otherwise prohibitive. The individuals or class may become the facto corporation for the purposes of suit in which these people join togather to form the “corporation” against the defendant corporation.

On the other hand, Some critics have apparently generated pessimistic views toward the lawsuit. The ability of corporations to prevent effective government regulation has been reported as potential weakness of class action lawsuit. For exenplifying this, Toyota’s “success” in stopping federal regulators from ordering recalls of its vehicles that suddenly accelerated after the problem first came to the attention of the National Highway Transit Safety Association. Furthermore, Before a class action settlements are proposed, the judge of the case must give notice of the settlement to the class, that enable people who wish to be heard to state their positions and/or objections, and approve the settlement, including the attorneys’ fees, only if the settlement and fees are fair and reasonable.

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class action lawsuit definition

What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?, A Comprehensive Description

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What is a class action lawsuit?. It can be simply defined as a legal procedure that allows one or more plaintiff to file a lawsuit on behalf of certain class or larger group of people that previously known as “representative actions”. In the United States, modern class action is based civil law or common law. This basically originates from the common law tradition of England stretching back to medieval times. Based on the class action lawsuit definition the following illustration case may be able to exemplify it:

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  • Employees subject to discrimination due to gender, race and age from their employers
  • Residents are negatively affected by a toxic spill of industry or manufacture in their neighborhood.
  • Patience are prescribed with dangerous side – effect medicines.
  • Investors who apparently are victimized by fraud committed in connection with the purchase or sale of stocks and other securities.
  • Consumers paying products with unreasonable prices caused by the anti-competitive activities of large corporations
  • Consumer purchasing a harmful product of unfair business practice of certain corporation

Advantages and Disadvantages

Practically, class action lawsuit obviously advantageous in some ways. It is much more effective and efficient rather than the lawsuit proposed individually. In general, the trial process is very costly and wasting time only for attending court for following the trial process. Through class action, a large group of injured people, for example, may prosecute corporation and receive compensation with only one lawsuit. This of course very effective and efficient both in time and financial term. The second benefit of class action lawsuit over individual lawsuits is that individual suits operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If your neighbor sues a corporation for $50 million and wins, then the company might be in bankruptcy before he or she can even stake your claim. Class actions ensure that payments are distributed equally to all injured parties. Thirdly, Represented by experienced people or attorney may also become the advantage of class action lawsuit.

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The disadvantage of class action, on the other hand, is that if the class action lawsuit fails the plaintiffs will be prohibited to fill individual lawsuit in the future. This, therefor, it must be carefully considered before it is proposed to court. In addition, the damage paid to the individual plaintiffs might be very small, but lawyer may receive a huge percentage award is another disadvantage one. The class action also is usually criticized because the lawyers tend to file frivolous lawsuits just to earn a quick settlement.

Please see our next article about class action: Support and Controversy of Class Action Lawsuit

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rental agreement

Principle Difference Between Rental Agreement and Lease Agreement

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Renting a property can be based on both rental agreement and lease agreement. These two terms of contract are commonly used interchangeably and similar to each other. They, however, are different in some ways. Before deciding to rent your property, it is important to understand what different between the two legal terms and which one suit to your own business. The following we discuss what make them different.

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Rental agreement basically made on monthly basis and it mostly renew every 30 days. Both property owners (lessor) and tenants (lessee) are free to change the rental agreement after 30 days subject to rent control laws. The change may include raising the cost of rent, improving the terms of the initial agreement, or asking the tenant to leave the property. This type of rent agreement might be useful in case you have a problem in attracting new tenants or if your potential tenants are people who often move around such as professionals and students.

Lease agreement, on the other hand, mostly made on annual basis or at least six months (long – term agreement). Tenants agree to rent a property during these periods and agree to comply all things that has been agreed with the property owners or landlords. These things may include tenants agree to pay the rent every month. This type of rent agreement may be best for landlords who want to “lock in” a tenant for a set period of time. The lease agreement is more popular rather than the rental agreement and it commonly will not have a problem committing.

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