The lease you write should reduce stress and make life easier not only for you, but your tenants as well.
If you have ever been a renter, or have done some research on local Salt Lake City property managers, you would find that each of them tend to use their own versions of a lease agreement. The reason behind that is because the more properties you manage; you find more circumstances that you wish would have been outlined in your lease in the first place. An incredibly detailed and thorough lease can avoid some major stress, hassles, and situations that create more work for you as a landlord.
If you choose to have a property manager assist you in lease preparation, make sure that you communicate clearly with them about some points that are really important for you to have in there. They can usually add specific addendums if there are certain situations with your property you would like additional coverage on. Remember, their job is to keep you compliant with all of the fair housing laws, so they will only be allowed to write addendums that do not violate any tenant landlord laws.
What needs to be in your lease: Of course this depends on the state your rental is in, and even sometimes city regulations and ordinances that are constantly changing! Make sure you keep up on all of the laws and ordinances that effect you as a landlord!
- The total amount of rent due
- When that rent is due
- When rent is considered late, and what those penalties are. This is a very important one to clearly outline, and make sure that you are abiding by your states tenant landlord laws.
- A joint agreement clause – you need to make sure that roommates understand if one of them does not pay rent, they are all liable and all equally responsible!
- Security deposit allotment, where it is held, how much, and how much is refundable .Again you must make sure you strictly abide by tenant landlord laws in your area!
- What the tenant is responsible for when it comes to maintenance and upkeep, and what you are willing to take care of as the landlord – Not to sound redundant but please make sure you understand your legal obligations as a landlord when it comes to maintenance, you may be surprised at what you really are responsible for!
- Notices of entry – how and when those will be given. How often inspections will be completed.
- Additional guests – when must an additional guest actually fill out an application and be added to a lease?
- What happens at the end of the lease terms?
- And anything else that your state requires
What can NOT be in your lease:
- Tenants waiving their right to a safe, clean, and habitable dwelling
- Altering the agreement at anytime
- Any disabilities civil rights act violations, or civil rights violations
- Any waiving of the security deposit that violates your states law regarding tenant and landlords
- Any violations of the consumer protection act
Some highly recommended points and clauses:
- Utilities – clearly define who pays for what, and if you are paying certain utilities outline how and
- In addition to a single late fee, a per day fee if allowed by your state
- What happens if a tenant bounces checks
- Clearly outlying responsibilities for giving notice
- What is expected to be done at move out
- Landscaping clauses
- Collections and attorney costs – what happens if you have to take things that far
Available Lease Templates:
The National Association of Realtors or Multifamily Housing Association provides a very basic lease that is used by many. This is a great starter point, but it does not include many, many details that you will want to make sure you have in your lease so that you are covered, reduce your risk, and clearly educate the tenant on their responsibilities.
We ALWAYS recommend that if you are not using a property manager expert, you have your lease reviewed by an attorney, without question. The worst thing you could do is have to end up in court, and the judge tell you that your agreement is not valid.
If you need help making sure that you are covered please contact us!
Here are some related blog articles to help educate you on being a great landlord:
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