Guide to Making a Solid Lease Agreement For Your Rental
As a landlord, it is crucial to get your tenant to sign a lease before allowing them to occupy your rental unit. A leasing contract is binding to the landlord and renter. It provides critical details of the duties and rights of tenants and landlords, including specific property policies, clauses, and required disclosures.
A lease agreement also offers more protection than simply relying on verbal agreement. It reduces future disputes since verbal arrangements can lead to being forgotten or misinterpreted. A written lease agreement has all the information clearly explained for both parties.
Issuing a written lease is especially favorable to landlords since it can act as a reference for renters, guiding them through the rental payment process or the requests for property maintenance. It also saves you time when the renter turns to the lease contract instead of asking you every time they have a question.
Best Way to Create a Lease
Landlords often make their own leases, but if you’re a new property owner you need more support to ensure your lease is solid. Copying from an online template might be easy, but most are generic and won’t be customized to your rental apartment.
You can consider engaging the services of a property management company. They can draft a lease that meets the requirements you’re looking for. Aside from that, a property manager ensures that you have a main support system helping you market your vacant unit, screen tenants, collect the rent on time, and maintain your rental home.
Property management firms are also well-versed with state laws and local regulations so your lease is legally compliant. A property manager ensures that the lease follows the Fair Housing Act. They also know which vital clauses and disclosures should be included in order to give you peace of mind.
Reasons to Craft a Leasing Agreement
As stated above, leasing agreements can prevent conflicts from escalating. The more specific and clear the lease is, the better. Leasing contracts also hold up as valid evidence in court in case a tenant decides to file a case against you.
Basic Coverage of a Lease
Though each leasing agreements may differ, they have commonalities such as:
- Landlord and tenant/s names: The full names of the parties to the agreement must appear on the contract.
- Rental property name and address: The property name and address must be complete and specific. For apartment units, the door number must also be indicated for clarity.
- Rent due date: It’s important to state the due dates in full on the lease agreement.
- Rent amount: Both the amount of the rental should be written out in figures and words on the contract. Should additional fees need to be paid, such as pet rent and security deposits, it’s good practice to place them as a separate category.
- Rental term: The tenancy term must be specific and include full dates. Being vague can allow misinterpretation and issues of overstaying. Avoid mentioning rental duration as “one year” or “six months”. Think about if you want to rent month-to-month or yearly.
- Signatures of the parties: A signed leasing agreement makes it a valid contract. It signifies both parties have reached mutual understanding on the tenancy terms and conditions.
Clauses and Policies to Include in a Lease
You might wonder why clauses hardly differ in leases. This is because clauses are found in State laws and can’t be adjusted by the landlord.
Here are clauses typically found in leasing agreements:
When you permit an occupant to divide the rental cost by accepting other renters, this is known as subletting. If you’re open to this idea, you can allow it, but ask the renter to seek your approval first through a written request. Screening subletting tenants or meeting them before they move in can help you understand the type of person occupying your unit.
Adding a clause in the lease that dictates under what conditions a tenant can sublet is a great way to control who lives in your unit and when.
Even if you own the rental apartment, the tenant is protected by state laws by only allowing the landlord entry for specific reasons. Privacy is important so accessing the property requires sending a written notice to the renter first at a designated notification period indicated by the law.
Though landlords often are in charge of maintaining the rental space, tenants also share in the responsibility.
You can outline the tasks a renter must perform such as proper waste disposal and reporting property issues to the landlord for prompt inspection and repairs. So long as the tenant properly reads the lease, they will understand their obligations.
Breaking the Lease
There are specific legal instances when renters are allowed to break the lease early. This can be due to a tenant being called to participate in military duty, or going through domestic violence or landlord harassment. Landlords can also be more flexible with other conditions such as job relocations, but this must be clearly stated in the leasing agreement. Make sure to learn the laws about breaking a lease in Arizona to avoid legal issues.
Landlords are legally obliged to disclose crucial information to tenants, as mandated by state laws. The following information must be revealed to prospective renters:
- Bed Bugs: You must let renters know if bed bugs are or were recently present in your apartment. You can also provide solutions and prevention methods.
- Radon: Since radon gas is a health risk to residents, they should be aware if it exists in your rental unit.
- Flood zone: Notifying renters if your rental apartment is exposed to flooding is a must.
- Lead-based paint: Rental homes constructed before 1978 are often coated with lead-based paint so renters must be informed if the building is this old.
Prioritize creating a lease and ensuring it’s clear and detailed in order to avoid future tenant issues. You can also use it for added protection if a renter claims illegal policies and clauses in the contract.
Following the tips for drafting a leasing agreement helps you gain peace of mind. You can also opt to hire a property manager like get MULTIfamily Property Management to draft the lease agreement for you. Contact them now!