Landlords – Four Items You Must Include in Your Lease
Every time a landlord rents their property, they should have a tenant that signs a lease. This lease determines what will be done during the time the tenant is renting the property. A landlord can include almost anything they want in the lease. Every lease should include these 4 items in the lease.
#1 – Rent Amount
Every lease should clearly spell out the amount of the rent. If you do not include the amount in the lease then it becomes a case of he says and she says when you end up in court. In most cases like this the court will rule in favor of the tenant. If you lease covers more than a 12 month period, you should include a phrase that includes an automatic rent increase after 12 months.
#2 – All Fees
The lease should state the amount of any fees that need to be paid by the tenant and when those fees are incurred. If you charge a late fee when the rent is paid late, both the amount of the late fee and the date it becomes due should be included in the lease. If you charge a cleaning fee at move out this needs to be included. If you need to evict a tenant and you want to charge for the cost of filing the dispossessory and for an attorney, this needs to be included in the lease.
#3 – Who Pays for Maintenance
Sometimes landlords will require tenants to handle repairs under a fixed dollar amount. This dollar amount is usually small like $50. The landlord tells the tenant that if they perform any repair that costs under $50 then the tenant is responsible for paying for the bill. This prevents the tenants from calling the landlord for every pity repair that they will come up with. Another item is to require the tenant to pay for any repairs that are caused by the tenant or their guests. For example if the tenant has friends over for a party and one of them breaks the window then the tenant is responsible for repairing the window.
#4 – Security
Your lease should specify that the tenant is responsible for their own security. Sometimes you will have tenants that will get into fights with other tenants. When this happens the tenants will start to call the landlord and try and get you to choose sides between the two. If a tenant is playing their music to loud, other tenants may call you asking you to contact the tenant to turn down the music. Your lease needs to let the tenants know that you are not responsible for security. If they have an issue with loud music being played then they need to call the police.
A lease is your best protection against disputes that might arise. If you include the key 4 issues in your lease, you can prevent most of the problems that occur when you rent a property to a tenant.