Investing in rental properties requires you to handle a lot of paperwork. After choosing the perfect tenant, it’s essential that both parties have an understanding of their corresponding responsibilities and expectations in terms of renting the space.

If you want to learn how to draft a solid lease agreement, keep on reading!

Importance of Written Lease Agreement

As a landlord, it’s vital to have a written lease agreement in place. This is not only about setting expectations but also a way to protect all parties as well as the investment property during the tenancy. 

When tenants don’t hold their end of the bargain, you can easily reference the lease agreement to determine the appropriate consequences. It also protects the tenants. For instance, if you, as the landlord, have failed to respect your tenant’s privacy, they can also go back to the lease agreement to guide them on how to address said issue.

Written Lease Agreement Basics

Every written lease agreement is different and based on your type of property and limitations. That said, there are some standard elements to include in any agreement:

Rental Property Details

The rental property’s owner/ manager and complete address must be included in the agreement. The address must be specific so down to the house number or unit number if it’s a multi-family building.

Name of All Parties Involved

The real names of the tenant and landlord must be included in this legal document. Include co-tenants when necessary.

two people holding onto the same document as they pass it back and forth

Rent Rate

Include the rent rate and have it written both in words and figures. If you have agreed on other fees apart from the rent, make sure to break them down and label them accordingly to avoid misinterpretations. The security deposit and the date it was paid must be written in the agreement as well.

Rent Due Date and Interval

To prevent any misunderstanding, be clear on when the rent is due and how frequently the tenant is expected to pay until the lease ends or is up for renewal. Putting the due date on the agreement helps in reminding the renter to pay on time.

Lease Duration

Prevent any loopholes in the contract by adding the tenancy period. Put the start and end date, for example, January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023. Ensure that there is no confusion on the dates to avoid the renter from overstaying.

Signature

Signing the contract signifies that all parties understand and agree to the terms, conditions, and limitations stated in the agreement. The date when the specific party signed the lease should also be added beside the signature.

Landlord-Tenant Expectations

As a landlord, you must be familiar with your responsibilities as well as your tenants’ rights. In separate clauses, clearly express what’s expected of you and your tenants, what’s allowed and what’s not.

person signing a lease document with an ink fountain pen

 Here is a list of clauses and policies that are essential when writing the lease agreement:

Landlord Entry

Remember that even if you are the owner, it doesn’t give you the right to enter the property without giving notice to your renters. You have to respect their privacy and notify them at least 48 hours before your visit. Also, it’s important that you visit during regular business hours unless an alternative time has been agreed upon with the tenant.

Pet Policy

By law, tenants are allowed to bring a service animal to guide them in their daily activities. Other than that, you have to specify if pets are allowed in the rental property. If fees are involved, the fee should also be indicated in the agreement.

Tenancy Obligations

Reasonable tasks can be given to tenants such as emptying the trash and fulfilling some basic property maintenance roles. Gauge their skill before asking them to do the troubleshooting steps to ensure their safety.

Keeping the space clean is also the tenant’s responsibility during their tenancy. You can negotiate with them regarding some seasonal maintenance such as cutting grass, shoveling snow, or raking leaves. It’s also the tenant’s responsibility to report any issues right away and the landlord should assess the situation and resolve it in a reasonable timeframe.

two tenants unpacking cardboard boxes after moving into an apartment

Occupancy Limits

Mention in the written agreement if you allow or don’t allow subletting. The sublet must submit the same requirements or tenant screenings as the other renters. It’s your right as a landlord to accept or reject the sublet based on the set standards.

Avoid any loopholes by being clear of the consequence if they are caught subletting the property without your knowledge.

Breaking the Lease

You have to be well-versed with the tenant-landlord act and know when the lease can be broken by a tenant. If you are more lenient and can allow some exceptions, always ensure that it’s specifically and clearly written in the lease.

Property Disclosures

These are some disclosures that the tenant must be aware of according to local, state, and federal laws:

  • Potential Lead Hazard –If the property was built before 1978, tenants must be informed about the presence of lead-based paint in the house.
  • Radon – When radon gas has been confirmed to be present in the rental property, tenants must be notified.
  • Flood Zone – To properly set their expectations and prepare accordingly, tenants must know when to expect to flood in the area.
  • Bed Bugs – Renters must be briefed on the presence of bed bugs, and how to manage the situation, and prevent their occurrence.

Bottom Line

Resolve and prevent any landlord-tenant issues by writing a solid lease agreement. Terms, conditions, and limitations must be clearly written leaving no room for misinterpretations. It should be used as a reference when any party is unsure how to manage certain situations related to the rental property. 

If you’re unsure how to begin crafting a solid lease agreement, we at Keyrenter Property Management Hampton Roads can take care of that. Contact us today to learn about property management solutions!