The first thing to prepare when taking in a tenant for your rental property is a lease or rental agreement. This agreement is a contract between the landlord and tenant, which allows the tenant the legal right to use the property. The document contains rules for both parties to follow during the lease period, important business details and some other vital information necessary for the tenancy. If the agreement is violated in any way, the eviction process can take place, and the lease agreement is the first thing that will be required to push a case.
In case of any disagreements, either party may proceed to court. Also in the case of express eviction, a Writ of Possession may be issued to the tenant.
Some of the rules to include in a rent agreement include:
- Names of all Parties to the Agreement
The rental agreement should include your name and the name of every adult occupying the rental apartment. The tenants should also sign the agreement to make them legally responsible for the terms stated in the lease agreement, including the paying of rent. Should any issue arise in the long run, either of them can be held responsible, and you can also terminate the contract if any one of these parties violates a rule.
- The Term of the Tenancy
The lease agreement must include the term of the tenancy, which indicates if the agreement will be a month-to-month rental agreement or a fixed-term lease. While rental agreements continue to run from month to month unless if terminated by the landlord, lease agreements are for a fixed term of one year, with options to renew or terminate the contract at the expiration of the term.
A rental agreement should specify the amount of the rent and when it is due. It should also include how it should be paid, emphasizing the acceptable payment methods and the exact amount to be paid at a particular time. Deadline for payments should also be spelled out clearly, including the consequence for paying later than the due date.
- Deposits and Fees
The lease or rental agreement should be specific about security deposits. Ensure the agreement concisely points out the exact amount of the security deposit, how the deposit will be used, how it will be accounted for and returned should the tenant move out, and also any non-refundable fees. Failure to point all this out clearly could result in disputes between the landlord and the tenant. To better understand the proper way to go about this, you must be familiar with your state laws to know the specific requirements.
- Repairs and Maintenance
The lease agreement should clearly state each party’s obligations in repairs and maintenance, to avoid hassles in the long run. For example, the tenant should be held responsible for keeping the premises clean and be required to fix or pay for any damage caused by them. The tenant is also required to inform you of any defect in the property, so it can be fixed as soon as possible. They should also request the landlord’s permission before taking renovating the house or doing other work.
- Right of Entry
The lease agreement should mention your legal right of entry to the leased premises and the conditions under which you are allowed access. For example, you could have access to the house to fix repairs when necessary. However, while you have this legal right, you still need to inform the tenant ahead of time. The lease agreement should clearly state how much advance notice will be given before gaining access to the leased property. Ensure you check your state laws to confirm that you are in line with what it says, to avoid being charged for illegal entry.
Clearly state the restrictions for the leased property, including disruptive behavior (like noise making and disturbing the neighborhood) and illegal activities (like drug dealing and theft). The prohibition of these should be clearly stated in the lease agreement. You can also have restrictions on the tenant having a friend sleep over, areas of the property that should not be trespassed and also the time when the gate will be closed every night if that applies.
Your lease or rental agreement must align with your state laws regarding rental properties. Should any case arise in the future, your lease agreement is what stands for you, and you cannot file a case on what is not on the agreement.