Leasing agreements are written contracts that bind landlords and tenants to their responsibilities. Without one, it can either be difficult or impossible to prove your mutual consensus on the terms and conditions of occupying the property.
Creating a solid lease prevents you from getting entangled in costly lawsuits. It requires great detail and clarity to avoid misunderstandings.
Here are our top tips for landlords when creating a lease agreement.
How to Draft a Lease
There are a variety of ways that landlords can create a lease.
While it’s possible to make a lease on your own, first-time landlords may need to refresh or get familiar with the state laws and local policies to ensure that the conditions stated on the contract align with legal stipulations.
This is an easy method but it can also be generic and won’t include the details specific to your rental property.
Hiring a Property Manager
A property manager is able to draft a great lease on top of the support services they offer, such as marketing, property maintenance, and tenant screening.
Purpose of a Lease
You can’t run a rental property without setting rules and policies. It would mean responding to the same questions day by day, making it a time-consuming task. With a leasing agreement, you save a lot of time and time worrying. If you simply rely on an oral agreement, some terms may be forgotten or misunderstood.
Another benefit that comes with a lease is that it can be accepted as proof in court. So if you ever need to go to court with a tenant, it can protect you and your property from legal ramifications. Without one, the burden of proof will rest with you. A lease helps bridge understanding between a landlord and tenant, reducing disputes.
Basics of a Lease Agreement
Though leases may appear different from one landlord to another, there are basic details that remain the same, such as:
Names and Address
It’s essential to write down the full names of all the parties included in the lease. This includes the property address as well. If you have an apartment or condo unit, the door number must be recorded as well.
Rent Due Date
Be clear on the date of payment. It’s best to write it in full to ensure that your renters will pay on time. For example, the due date is on December 1, 2022.
State the rent amount using both words and figures to avoid confusion. If other fees are collected, such as parking fees, designate this in another section.
Mention the entire rental period using the full dates. For example, January 1, 2023 to December 21, 2023. If you simply state the term as one year this can be misinterpreted and you may have a problem with an overstaying tenant.
Signatures of the Parties
The signatures of the landlord and tenant must appear on the lease, as proof that both have mutually understood and agreed with the terms and conditions present in the contract.
Clauses to Cover on the Lease
After ensuring that the basics are covered, we can start on the clauses. There may be slight differences but all must comply with your State’s laws. Clauses prevent disputes since it specifies exact conditions.
Here are the terms you can include in your lease:
Security Deposit Clause
To protect the rental from potential tenant damages, most landlords ask for a security deposit to be paid by a tenant prior to occupying the property. This ensures that the unit will be properly taken care of.
Repair costs of property damages beyond wear and tear can be taken from the security deposit. If the tenants have maintained the rental well and paid the rent on time regularly, then the security deposit will be reimbursed in full. The security deposit limit and how it is stored should be mentioned here.
Pet Policy Clause
Allowing a tenant to bring in a pet is subject to a landlord’s authority. Restrictions on the breed, number of pets, and fee charges are covered here. Details on pet requirements, such as insurance and vaccines are also included in this clause. Further, the consequences of violating the pet policy are also outlined here.
Landlords can exercise flexibility and permit renters to accept other tenants to share the rent fee. They may allow it on the condition that a written request is submitted prior to welcoming an additional renter.
Breaking of the Lease Clause
Terminating a lease early may be acceptable in certain situations. Some of these valid reasons include military deployment or being a victim of domestic violence or landlord harassment.
If a landlord permits reasons like relocation, job transfer, or change in marital status for ending a tenancy before the agreed date then this must be outlined on the leasing agreement.
In this clause, you may state that tenants are prevented from performing property repairs on their own. Aside from the lack of skills, you want to avoid any accidents that the tenants may expose themselves to. This may result in high medical costs for you. You might even be subjected to a lawsuit.
Tenant Obligations Clause
Though landlords are required in keeping a habitable home for the renters, the occupants also have duties to fulfill. They need to dispose of their trash, empty it properly, and respect the right of other renters or neighbors to enjoy their peace and quiet.
Landlords must also inform their tenants regarding the presence of radon gas, lead paint, bed bugs, and the possibility of flooding.
We hope this article has helped you better understand what to include in your lease agreement. Leases must be specific and clear to reduce conflicts and protect yourself, your rapport with your tenants, and your property.
We at Rent Easy understand that this can be a stressful and complicated process. If you need help crafting a lease or want a professional to oversee your rental operations, contact Rent Easy today!