10 Tips on Writing a Residential Lease Agreement

Any smart landlord will protect their legal interests with a residential lease agreement or rental agreement. Here are 10 tips that will help you properly write an airtight residential lease agreement. A properly written lease agreement will guarantee your rights to protect your property.

Know Your State/City’s Laws
Your state and possibly city may very well have different property management laws. Some state’s, for example, require your lease agreement to have a warning for lead based paint for older buildings. This will also help you figure out what you can and cannot include in your lease agreement.

Make Your Lease Agreement as Clear as Possible
Loose language, confusing terms, slang, short-hand, and a poorly written agreement can be misinterpreted into an interpretation that may not be in your favor.

Include the Condition of the Rental Unit
If the rental property is in good condition with no problems or damages then include that, if there are problems or damage then you need to go into specifics.

State Your Pet Policy
Include whether or not you allow pet lovers to keep a pet on the rental property. If there are exceptions or restrictions list those too, you can get into for example the size of the animal you will allow, or the type of animals you allow or don’t allow.

State Your Right of Entry
Be careful though, each states requires a specific amount of time you must wait after you notify the resident(s) that you want to enter their residence.

Do You Require a Security Deposit?
If you do require a security deposit you must specifically state what is considered to be damage to the dwelling on the lease agreement. It is vital you clearly state the security deposit policy if you want to properly protect your legal right to keep that deposit.

Precisely State the Amount of Rent
Include when the rent is due and when it is considered late; this will protect you against legal recourse if the tenant is continually late. Do what you can to prevent misunderstandings.

Repairs Covered or Not Covered
It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide repairs for any fixtures, heating and cooling equipment, and included appliances.

Activities you Restrict
If there is something you just absolutely cannot tolerate from your tenants then include that on your lease agreement. A code of conduct will give you the legal right to manage your property accordingly.

If the Lease Agreement is Breached What Will Happen?
State what will happen if the tenant violates the lease agreement. If you want the right to terminate the lease if the tenant breaches the agreement made then you need to state that.