The Conditions of the Use for Which the Property is Rented
2215. The use for which the property is rented must fulfill the following four conditions:
1. It should be a legally permissible use. Therefore, renting out a store for the purpose of—for example—selling wine, or leasing out any mode of transportation for transporting wine, is not valid.
2. Paying for that use should not be considered an act of foolishness or unacceptable by intelligent persons. In addition, performing that task free of charge should not have been obligated by the shari’a. Therefore, to be hired for the purpose of—for example—preparing a corpse for burial is not permissible.
3. If the item being rented out is multi-purpose, the use that the renter makes of the item must be specified. For example, if an animal which can be used for riding and also for transporting goods is rented out, they must specify whether the renter may benefit from the animal by riding on it, or using it to transport goods, or all of its possible uses.
4. The period of use must be specified. If this period is not known, but specifying the task resolves the ambiguity, it will also suffice. For example, one may hire a tailor for a period of ten days, or form an agreement with him that he will stitch a particular dress in a particular fashion.
2216. If the beginning of the rental period is not specified, it will begin the moment the rental contract has been realized.
2217. If a house is rented out for a year (for example), and the beginning of the rental period is set to a month after the rental contract is signed, the rental agreement will be valid, even if the house is being rented by someone else at the time of signing the contract.
2218. If the rental period is not specified, and instead the lessor says, “Whenever you choose to reside in this house, its rent will be $1000,” the rental agreement will not be in order.
2219. If a person says to a renter, “I have rented out the house to you for $1000 a month,” or says to him, “I have rented out the house to you for a month for $1000, and thereafter, for as long as you reside in the house, the rent will be $1000 a month,” then if the beginning of the rental period is specified, or if the beginning is known, the rental agreement will be in order for the first month.
2220. If the accommodations in which travelers and pilgrims take residence, and the length of their stay is not known, is used on the basis of a rental agreement where it is agreed, for example, that the renter would pay $50 a night, the rental agreement will not be in order with respect to the nights other than the first night, because the rental period has not been specified. In such a case, after the first night, the owner can ask them to vacate the premises whenever he wishes to do so. However there is no harm in using the premises after the first night with the permission of the owner.