What Extra Clauses should you add to Your Lease Agreement?
Many times a basic lease agreement is not enough. There are many other important clauses that many landlords tend to neglect, yet in a dispute they may become very important. Below are some examples of clauses that can be added to your lease agreement.
- Parking restrictions – how many vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, etc) can be parked at the residence?
- Business use – can the tenants run a business? What kind? Is signage allowed?
- Garage sales or auctions? Are you going to permit these? How often?
- Change in status (any changes in the lease application, such as employment)
- Subletting – is it allowed? How many residents? What notification?
- Co-signer or guarantor – should you add another responsible party as a guarantor?
- Partial payment – how is it handled and does it stop any legal proceedings?
- Returned check fees – how are you going to handle returned checks? What fees?
- Bankruptcy – what are you legal rights if your tenant files for bankruptcy?
- Lease violations – what are your rights? What are the tenant’s rights? What jurisdiction?
- Absence of tenant – what is the tenant disappears? Can you get into the rental?
- Furniture lien – can the tenant possessions be taken? After what time period?
- Increase late fees – can you charge additional late fees if the tenant is often late?
- Judgment collection – who is responsible for the court costs and legal fees?
- Utility bills – which one of you pays the deposit? What if the tenant defaults?
- Emergency repair – what if you have to cut off the water for repairs?
- Problem neighbors – how do you handle complaints?
- Disasters – what if you can’t fulfill your landlord obligations because of a disaster?
- Illegal activity – make sure you can take action against drug use, explosives, firearms, etc.
- Quiet enjoyment – insure that the tenant music or noises do not intrude on other people’s rights
- Smoking – make sure your rules are clear. Specify restrictions on illegal drugs.
- Pets – how many pets? What additional deposit? What about additional cleaning costs?
- Yard upkeep – Make sure your property looks neat and is safe. Protect any large trees.
- Health and safety codes – Be sure your tenant doesn’t not violate these, and what your recourse may be.
There are other clauses that you may need to add. Just reflect upon any possibly situations that might arise with your particular rental property. With the right additions to your lease, it will help protect your legal rights and avoid future legal complications.
Paul Toller works for W G Software, Inc. developers of the Tenant File Property Management Software. He has over 20 years experience in consulting and software development for real estate.
Somewhere in the tenant screening process, tenants are usually required to fill out a lease application that will help determine if they are a good fit for the property or not. Lease applications are pretty standard but you can modify the required information if your lease requires you to. So, what exactly is a lease application?
A lease application, like any other application, requires tenants to put down basic information that goes into making the decision about renting your property out to them. Basically, contact information, previous residence(s), proof of income, criminal history, and employment history are all standard on rental applications.
Rental applications are a great tool for weeding out the people who really aren’t interested in your property. If someone who is very unsure of whether or not the home is right for them, they won’t want to waste time filling out an application. Plus, a fee is usually required of the tenant, to be submitted with the application; not surprisingly, this is referred to as the application fee. They aren’t going to want to pay a fee if they don’t think they’ll actually end up living there. If you have multiple people interested in your property, tell them about the rental application and their responsibility to fill it out and pay the fee; those who are truly interested will be the ones to stick around for the entire process.
If you’re having problems with your current tenant, you have to ask yourself, at what point is it time to have them move out and find a new tenant?
Finding a good tenant is hard, and keeping a good tenant is even more difficult. Sometimes a tenant that may
have been the best thing since sliced bread can turn sour, leaving you with a mess. At some point, you need to start considering finding a new tenant that you know you’ll be at peace with.
Now, you can’t just decide to evict your tenant out because they’re bothering you, but you can evict them if you
have a reason. While actual eviction laws vary from state to state, if you have a valid reason to ask your tenant to leave, it’s typically justified. If your tenant remains in your property beyond the date stated in the lease, you can evict them. You can also evict them if they fail to pay rent. Property damage, and rule breaking
are also justifiable reasons for to ask your tenant to leave the property. Basically, at the first sign of any of these, or if you feel that your tenant is putting you or your property in danger, you should ask them to leave to avoid further problems.
So, you’ve officially found the perfect tenant and now it’s time to put together the finalized lease agreement; but the question is, what do you include in the agreement?
When you’re putting together all the terms of a lease agreement, it’s extremely important to touch on any issue that you think is relevant or may come up throughout the time of the rental. You need to make sure that the lease is clear on everything, and not just a vague list of things that are left to the tenants discretion, or even your own discretion (for their sake).
If you make a lease agreement that doesn’t cover specific items, you’re leaving a lot of blank space that may hurt you later on. It’s imperative to set clear roles and decide what’s going to be your tenants responsibility and what’s going to be your responsibility. This comes into play when you’re talking about things like general maintenance, or even landscaping; who’s going to be hiring someone to fix things, who’s going to take care of mowing the lawn? Some people may think these things are implied and won’t put them into the terms of the lease, but that can lead to problems later on.
Your tenant is also going to want to know what they are and aren’t allowed to do, so be sure to set rules that are both clear and fair. If you’re clear with your terms it makes it easier for your tenant to follow them, or for you to address issues if they go against your agreement.