I know, I know... you can find a great lease on dozens of websites that you can use free of charge. That agreement may look great but are you sure that it is an enforceable document?
This document protects your legal rights AND the legal rights of your Tenants. Make sure it is written in accordance with current local, state and federal laws. A well written, LEGAL lease will make a world of difference:
A clear agreement will clearly outline the landlord’s rights and responsibilities as well as the tenant’s rights and responsibilities.
Some items to include in the Lease:
- Beginning and ending dates
- Rent amount
- Security deposit information
- Due dates
- Where to make payments
- Late fee schedule
- Inspection procedure
- Notice procedures
- Utility responsibilities
- Pet/Smoking policy
- Maintenance procedures
- Insurance responsibilities
- Move out expectations
- Renewal procedure
- Military clause
Expectations as far as cleanliness, yard care, parking, etc all need to be outlined in the lease. I could keep going but you get the just of it. It is much easier to outline responsibilities in the beginning rather than arguing about it later.
The document needs to be a working document that is updated and current as times and laws change. This rental agreement will become very important if you ever end up in court with a current or previous tenant. Your case is only as strong as your lease.
The agreement must be clear and concise. Go over the document with your tenants. Be sure that everyone understands the agreement, after all, this is a legally binding document.
If you doubt the legality/validity of your lease, you need to consult a local attorney. Make any necessary revisions. Remember, you cannot enforce something that is not in your lease. You also want to have your bases covered if you ever go to court.