10 Terms to Include in Your Lease Agreement
A lease or rental agreement is the contract signed between the landlord and the tenant which sets out the rules and regulations they both agree to follow. As well as being immensely practical, a lease agreement is also full of crucial business details such as leasing time length, property rules, and repair disclosures. Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation wants you to be aware of some the most important items to include in your lease agreement.
1. Names of all tenants/occupants. Every adult who lives in the adult, including both members of a married or unmarried couple, should sign the lease agreement. This makes the tenant legally and financially responsible for their damage to the property as well as other terms in the agreement. This also means that any one of them can be held responsible for the entire rent and if one tenant violates a term of the lease agreement, you can terminate the tenancy of all the tenants on the lease.
2. Limits on occupancy. Your lease should clearly state that the rental unit is only the home of the tenants who have signed the agreement and their minor children. This gives you the right to determine who lives in your property and evict a tenant who moves in a friend or relative, or sublets the unit, without your permission.
3. Term of the tenancy. Every agreement should state whether or not it is a rental agreement or a fixed-term lease. Rental agreements usually run month-to-month until cancelled. Leases, on the other hand, typically last one year, six months or however long you want the tenant to stay and how much flexibility you want.
4. Rent. Your lease should be explicit with regard to the amount of rent, when it is due, and how it is to be paid. Remember to include:
- acceptable methods of payment (such as personal check or certified funds)
- if there are late charges, the amount of the late fee, and whether there is a grace period
- any charges that incur if a rent check bounces.
5. Deposits and fees. The use and return of security deposits is a frequent source of dispute between landlords and tenants. This tension may be relieved if there are clear details about the security deposit included in the lease agreement, including:
- the dollar amount of the security deposit
- how you may use the deposit (e.g. for damage repairs)
- when and how you will return the deposit and account for any deductions
- any legal non-returnable fees, such as for cleaning or pets
6. Repairs and maintenance. In your lease agreement, clearly set out your and the tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and repairs in order to avoid disputes and rent-withholding.
7. Entry to rental property. To avoid tenant claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy rights, clarify your legal right to access the property—for example: to make repairs, in an emergency, etc. And if it is known, state how much advance notice you will provide the tenant before entering- 24 hours notice is required by law.
8. Restrictions on tenant illegal activity. Avoiding trouble from your tenants and disputes with neighbors can be as simple as including an explicit clause in your agreement prohibiting disruptive behavior such as excessive noise and illegal activity.
9. Pets. Be clear on whether you do or do not allow pets. If you do, set clear rules or special restrictions in the lease.
10. Other restrictions. Be sure that your lease agreement complies with other state laws and ordinances including rent control ordinances, health and safety codes, occupancy rules, and anti-discrimination laws. There are also state laws regarding security deposit limits, notice requirements for entrance without permission and other laws.
Drafting and finalizing a lease agreement can be complicated and confusing. It is always a good idea to seek the help and advice of an experienced attorney. Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation is just a click or call away (800) 985-9885.
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