Create Your Own Lease?
Whether you create your own lease, use a state-specific template or have your legal team draft a lease, there are some key items that should be included.
The lease agreement is what contractually connects a tenant to one of your rental properties. The lease outlines the expectations and rules of this relationship, no matter the length of time.
You may already have all these bullet points plus some in your current lease. Consider reviewing your leases and tweak as needed.
Tenant Demographics & The Basics
As property managers, it’s up to you to make sure this information is accurate. This includes your company information, tenant’s information such as contact phone #s and your property information and description.
Include and confirm the lease terms, start date, end date, rent increases etc. Specify the due dates on all charges and clearly define the late fee policies.
Be sure to detail any other occupants that the tenant plans to have lived with them. Besides the current ones, also include language about your requirements to change or add occupants during the life of the lease. This should also include a section for pets.
Be sure to define what is considered a short term or long-term guests. Family or friends visiting for the holidays is different then a co-worker moving in for a few months. Make sure you include a clear definition and what is acceptable and what isn’t.
This is where you need to consider a lot of details for security deposits, late fees, rent, CAM expenses and any other add on expense.
Outline the security deposit and what conditions will affect the return of the deposit. Be specific and clear. Make sure you follow your state’s laws regarding security deposits.
Some property management software has the ability to auto-calculate late fees and rent increases. Use this to your advantage to help manage your leases.
Caring for the Property
This section is often overlooked in leases. Never the less, it is an important section to include. Consider outlining the care expected for the appliances, furniture (if applicable), HVAC system. This includes changing out the filters (water and air) and the frequency.
Include your policies on noise, vehicle maintenance on the property, smoking policies (including vapor) and changing locks without permission.
Also, make sure you include specific rules for your properties. Such as common areas like pools, picnic areas, trash receptacles, dog park, tennis/basketball courts etc.
If it applies, list out who is responsible for the lawn maintenance. If the tenant is responsible, be sure you specify the details. Such as weed control, trimming, the height of grass etc. You may be surprised, but a tenant may not keep the yard trimmed and cut the way you and the neighbors would want. Remember, at some point, you will be marketing that property again. You don’t want new tenants to drive by and see an unkept yard.
Also, consider the rules about what can be in the yard. yard art, toys, furniture etc. It’s best to lay out all the rules in the lease so you have some legal standing should any action be required.
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