Any landlord or property manager can tell you how important the lease agreement is to ensure a professional and legally sound rental situation.
While you may know the importance of having your lease agreement reviewed with a lawyer, and you are aware of just how crucial prepping your new tenants on your expectations can be, are you certain your lease covers every detail it should?
Here are 4 key points to add to your lease agreement if you haven’t already.
Require Regular Cleaning:
A dream tenant will understand that crumbs and refuse spread around attract mildew, vermin, and insect infestations. None of which will make their living situation pleasant, and all of which will likely cause damage to your property in some manner. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a clause requiring a clean and maintained property, you have little recourse should your new tenant create an unsanitary situation. Build a requirement of reasonable cleanliness into your lease to ensure you won’t have a–potentially literal–sticky situation on your hands during their tenancy.
It can be tempting to simply include a small clause requiring your tenants to keep the premise maintained, without specifying specifically what that will entail. To protect yourself and your property, list out in detail what tasks your tenants are responsible to perform. Remember, many renters–particularly young first-time renters–have never been homeowners and may not be familiar with the ins-and-outs of maintaining a property. Remind your tenants of their obligation to regularly change HVAC filters, clean gutters, or perform other duties. Leaving no room for gray areas means there can be little misunderstandings about what needs to be done to keep the property well cared for and keep your investment sailing smoothly from tenant-to-tenant. Furthermore, this detailed list will greatly assist you in assessing whether any funds need to be withheld from the security deposit due to glaring neglect.
Understand your state’s laws regarding roommates and subleasing, and accordingly include your personal policies regarding the tenants’ abilities to sublet the unit to a friend or stranger. Avoid trouble by expressly stating that your tenant must seek your permission in writing before turning over the rental to another person. Include that any subleaser must go through your regular tenant screening process, including a credit and background check to ensure that they are qualified to take over the lease.
Detailed Pet Policy:
Are pets permitted on the property? Not only do you need to formally outline your pet policy, but you need to include specifics as well. If you decide to allow tenants to keep a pet (or multiple pets) you must include information regarding any pet fees, breed restrictions, size restrictions and any additional information that will supply a tenant with the right knowledge to choose a pet that will fit their needs and your expectations.
Having a solid lease agreement, and even highlighting its important parts in a tenant welcome packet, is a sure-fire way to mitigate damage to your property and strife with your tenant during their lease term. And while it may seem overkill at times to list too many specifics, it’s always helpful for your tenants to have the ability to become well-educated on how to be a good tenant while living at your property.