The most important legal document that a landlord signs with his tenants is lease agreement. Through this document, a tenant gets legal rights of possession of a unit inside the property for a specified term at a monthly rental that is also mentioned in it. All landlords need to draft this lease agreement carefully and get it checked by an attorney to make sure there are no loopholes in it. This attorney should be well versed with the local laws pertaining to tenancy.
Irrespective of the state or the county, all lease agreements have some points in common. As a new landlord, you should be aware of these important points to include them in your lease agreements.
Monthly rent and the due date
Monthly rent is the most important thing for a landlord. A lease agreement should clearly mention the amount of money the tenant needs to pay every month on a due date. By mentioning this date, the landlord can know if the tenant is late in his payment and by how many days.
Term of the lease
Throughout the country, the usual term of lease agreement signed by landlords and tenants is 1 year. However, many renters want shorter or longer lease terms. This term should be clearly mentioned along with dates so that there is no confusion in the minds of both parties. Lease should also mention if it is renewable or not. It could run on a month to month basis with automatic renewable at the start of the month.
While it seems obvious, the lease should clearly mention the address of the property to remove all chances of a dispute later on.
Most landlords ask for a security deposit in advance from their tenants to get compensation for any damages done by the tenant when leaving the premises. The amount of this deposit and what the tenant needs to do to get his money back should be clearly mentioned in the lease agreement.
Late fee on payment
In every state, there are provisions under which a landlord is entitled to receive late fee from their tenants if the payment of rent is done beyond due date. Lease should mention this amount and when it will be charged from the tenant.
Occupants of the unit
This is an important point that mentions the names of all the occupants living inside a unit. It is necessary to identify any trespasser in your property if his name is not mentioned on the lease agreement.
Even though landlords do not have eviction on their mind, it becomes necessary if they experience a bad tenant. There should be a clause on eviction and when it becomes applicable in the lease agreement.
Rules of the house
Every lease agreement should mention the undeclared rules of the house that the landlord expects his tenants to follow. For example, a tenant cannot disturb other tenants by playing loud music or by organizing late night parties. By including the laws of the house, you make sure that your tenants do not have anything to say when you read them out in case of a violation.
Rules regarding alterations
Landlords should clearly mention rules about alterations that tenants can make inside their units. If you do not allow tenants to change the paint of the walls or carry out any renovations, you need to mention it in the lease agreement to avoid any dispute later.
Fee of the attorney
Insert a clause that states that the fee of the attorney that you hire for eviction or any other purpose would be paid by the tenant. Otherwise, you will find yourself bearing the expense of the attorney out of your own pocket.
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