If you are a landlord, you need a quality lease agreement with your tenants. While you may think the process of developing a lease is too time-consuming or not necessary because your tenant is a family friend, you should not fall into that trap. Developing a quality lease is not that difficult. You just need to spend a few minutes thinking about problems that could arise and questions that your tenant might ask about the property. Regarding that family friend, things can change.
Whenever responsibilities are not explicitly stated, people are at risk for additional money being taken out of their bank account to fix repairs, pay for fines, or address overdraft charges. When money is at stake, people can quickly feel burned by the other party, and friendships get dissolved. Once the friendship is ended, and you have no lease, you have no way to bind the person to your expectations or to get him or her evicted. If you’re worried about the details, a quick consult with a real estate lawyer, who is fully prepared to discuss real estate law with you, will put your mind at ease.
Why do you need a quality lease as a landlord? Let’s explore four specific reasons. There are more, but these are the most important reasons.
The top and the most important reason for creating a quality lease is to establish responsibilities and expectations. You must spell out how much the deposit is, when rent is due, how much rent is, and what happens in the event of an overdraft. By getting these financial responsibilities out of the way, your landlord and tenant relationship can be less stressful. Additionally, you need to establish when and how much of the deposit will be returned at the end of the lease. You must be specific about what tasks should be completed and how much your tenant will be charged for dirty rugs or broken windows. With all these items clearly detailed, you can avoid small claims court. Or, at the very least, you will avoid a judgment going in your tenant’s favor.
The next reason you need a quality lease is to retain the value of your property. If your tenants trash your home, you lose the value of your home. It is important to have utility and upkeep items spelled out as well. If you are responsible for snow removal and mowing, let your tenant know. However, if they are responsible for keeping the utilities up in the winter and taking out the trash, you need to explain that up front. Also, you need to identify times that you will be allowed into and/or onto the property to conduct tours. It is essential to make sure that your tenant is keeping your property well maintained. Moreover, you need to be able to observe if trash is left lying around, to spray for bugs, and to ensure the heating and cooling systems are in proper working condition.
If you own multiple properties with numerous clients, having a quality lease can prevent repeated calls from tenants. Spelling out what to do if the trash company is running late and listing phone numbers for TV services, water, and electric will help your tenants. Also, you can add specific rules for the neighborhood that your tenants wouldn’t already know, such as where they can park, emergency snow routes, trash days, and hours for the community laundry and pool.
When you’re a landlord over an apartment building or condo, you will need to spell out how many parking spots can be used, what isn’t allowed on sidewalks (such as skateboards or bicycles), and what the rules for noise levels are. Also, you will need to add what recreational activities tenants can hold at or in your building. If these are not spelled out, tenants can quickly get crossed with the other tenants. As a result, you will be required to drop everything and resolve a complaint. Lastly, if your tenant breaks these rules for “being a good neighbor,” you can begin the documentation process for eviction.
You must have a quality lease to protect your property, your assets, and the rights of your tenants. By having a quality lease, you can eliminate a portion of your stress. If you need help in drafting a quality lease, contact a lawyer who is trained in real estate law. Contact us today.