Terms your lease agreement should define

Terms your lease agreement should define

I have met a lot of landlords with hand-shake leases. Needless to say, this is a recipe of disaster. A lease or tenancy agreement is one of the best ways a landlord can layout the terms of a tenancy. Everything from the rental amount to the dispute resolution procedure should be outlined in the lease. Moreover, your tenancy agreement lays the tone for your relationship with your tenants. Here are some terms your lease should define clearly from the onset.

The importance of a lease cannot be understated in the least. Your lease serves as both a legally binding contract, as well as a reference point. As such, your lease must be very specific and as exhaustive as possible. It is always advisable to let a lawyer draw up a lease for you to ensure it is in compliance with the law.

1. Terms of tenancy

Firstly, you have to clearly define the terms of the tenancy. It is also important to cover the basic terms of the tenancy. This will include:

  • If the tenancy is self-renewing
  • Details on whether it is a month-to-month or a fixed-term lease agreement
  • Start and end dates of the lease
  • The property’s details containing the physical address

Secondly, make certain that every adult living in the property is named as a tenant and signs the lease. Thus each tenant is legally liable for all terms of the lease, including the complete rental amount. In addition, each tenant becomes responsible for the proper use of the property. Remember that minor children are an exception.

2. Rent payments

It is also very important to set out the rules pertaining to rent payments. This means your rental agreement should describe the amount of rent to be paid. Moreover, it should specify when the rent is due, as well as how the rent is to be paid. In order to avoid misunderstandings, disputes, and fall outs, spell out clear details such as:

  • The rent amount
  • When the rent is to be paid
  • Acceptable payment methods
  • The grace period for late payments plus ant applicable penalties
  • The course of action to take if a tenant fails to pay rent

3. Terms for deposits and fees

One issue that brings up a lot of problems between landlords and tenants is the security deposit. There is usually a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the use and return of the bond. Thus, to avoid complications and legal hassles down the line, ensure the lease is clear on this point. It is vital to highlight the limit, use, and return of the security deposit. Make sure to include:

  • The amount of the security deposit in accordance with the law
  • Provisions for the use of the security deposit
  • The policy for returning the security deposit
  • Any nonrefundable fees

Another equally important inclusion in the tenancy agreement should be the details of where the bond is being held.

4. Repairs and maintenance

It is also essential that you clearly define the landlord’s as well as the tenant’s obligations for repair and maintenance. As such, your lease agreement should include:

  • The tenant’s responsibilities for keeping the property clean and the premises sanitary
  • Provisions for the tenant to notify you of any damage or issues that require rapid attention
  • Procedures for dealing with complaints plus repair requests
  • Restrictions on any tenant repairs, as well as alterations and renovations without your consent
  • Obligations to foot the bill for any damages caused by the tenant’s neglect

5. Access to the rental property

Also, ensure that the lease agreement includes clarity on your right to access the property. In order to avoid any complications from claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy, define your access to the rental property. Therefore be specific as to your legal right to access the property. In addition, make a provision for the amount of advance notice you need to provide the tenant.

6. Pets

First and foremost you must be very clear on your position with regards to pets. Are pets allowed on the property or not? If you do not allow pets then make sure to be clear on the subject. In the event that pets are allowed on the premises, then make sure to specify which type of pets and any other special restrictions.

7. Limits on occupancy

One thing that landlords tend to take for granted is placing restrictions that limit occupancy. With that in mind, your lease agreement must place limits on occupancy to only the tenants who have signed the agreement. It is important that you limit occupancy to people you have met, interviewed, screened, and approved. This provision ensures that the tenant does not being in other people or start subletting the property. This clause also limits your liability in the event that a tenant breaches this clause and someone gets hurt, injured or killed in the premises.

In addition to ensuring that your tenancy agreement implies with relevant laws, spell out my other restrictions. For example, you can place restrictions on the type of business your tenants can conduct from home. When I’d doubt it is okay to ask for help. In fact, it is important to consult a lawyer so as ensure your lease agreement is in compliance with the law.

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