Basic Rules Every Landlord Should Include in Their Rental Agreement

  • Lionunion by Lionunion
  • 11 months ago
  • FAQ

Every landlord knows that setting down rules for tenants is important for a smooth landlord-tenant relationship and an overall pleasant renting experience. These rules, when put into writing through a lease or rental agreement, will serve as protection for both sides and give legal recourse should anyone break any of the rules stipulated in the contract.

The following are basic rules that every lease agreement should have. Make sure that your tenant understands and agrees to all of the items included in your agreement before you have him sign.

1.Rent Due

Be specific in your agreement the amount of rent on a monthly or other basis, when payment is due and when it is considered late, and your preferred mode of payment. If you wish to discourage renters from paying late, you can set penalty fees for late payments or set charges for bounced checks.

2.Deposit and Advance Payment

A security deposit is usually required by landlords from their tenants to ensure that they (tenants) keep to their agreement. It is refunded at the end of the lease period if the tenant has lived up to the terms of the lease. Unfortunately, the security deposit is the usual cause of tension and confusion between landowners and tenants.

To avoid misunderstandings, you have to make it clear and specific in your agreement how the deposit will be used and returned. Security deposits are usually used to cover repair costs to damages caused by the tenant to your property. The remaining amount, should there be any left, is then returned to the tenant.

A full or partial advance payment is used by landowners to protect themselves from tenants moving out without paying before their lease term expires. The payment can be used to cover rent for the last month or entire duration of the lease depending on how much (advance payment) is made, how much rent is charged, and when rent payments are due. If you require advance rent, you have to specify it in the contract.

3.Your Right of Entry

Include in your agreement when it is legal and proper for you to visit the property (i.e. to make repairs, regular maintenance, etc), and specify as well the least amount of time notice will be given to the tenant before the said visit. This is to avoid tenants claiming illegal entry or violation of privacy.

4.Names of All Tenants

The agreement should include the names of all the tenants who will be residing in your property. Including the names of the tenants ensures that each one of them is responsible for the terms of the rent and that they are the only ones authorized and acknowledged to live in your premises. This will give you grounds for eviction should any of your tenants sublease to a stranger or let a friend or relative move in without your permission.

5.Pets (Allowed/Disallowed)

It is your right as a landowner to decide if pets are allowed within your premises (if your property is in a condominium, check with the administration first if they allow pets in their building). If you do allow pets, you have to specify the kind and size limit of pets tenants are allowed to bring in. Include instructions on how they should care for their pets in your property (i.e. if they should be leashed when in hallways or in common grounds).

6.Term of Tenancy

Indicate in your lease agreement if tenancy is on a monthly or fixed-term basis. Rental agreements run on a month-to-month basis which self-renews unless terminated either by the landlord or tenant, while fixed-term lease usually lasts for about a year (or longer) which can be renewed by both parties after the term expires. It’s up to you to decide which term tenancy you want for your property based on how long you want the tenant to stay and type of flexibility that you would want to have. Consider the pros and cons of both before deciding on either one.

7.Garbage Removal

Trash disposal is one of the usual concerns of landlords. Improper waste removal is not only unsanitary, it can also pose health hazards to the occupants and neighbours. Plus, you wouldn’t want your property looking run-down and smelly after the occupants move out. Be clear and specific in your agreement how often the trash should be taken out and how hazardous materials should be disposed. Some condominiums and apartments have recycling policies which should be made aware to tenants. Providing them with guidelines on what goes where would be really helpful to them.

8.Proper Use of Fixtures and Repairs

As mentioned before in my previous article, the security deposit is the usual cause of tension between landlords and their tenants. That’s why it’s important for both of you to be clear on each other’s responsibility regarding repairs and maintenance. Providing instructions on how fixtures should be used will save you time and headaches for repeatedly having to go over and make repairs. It will also give you the option to not pay for repairs if the fixture has not been used properly by the tenant.

As landlord, it is your obligation and responsibility to carry out basic repairs and make sure that installations are in good working order. Let the tenant know that he should report any defect or dangerous condition in your property immediately. Provide him with details in your agreement on how complaints and repair requests will be handled (i.e. complaints will be handled within 24 hours for emergency cases and within the week for non-emergency cases).

Lastly, state in the agreement any restriction on tenant repairs and alterations, and that consent should be given first before any modifications are made.

9.Advance Notice of Vacating

If your rent runs on a monthly basis, state in your agreement the time duration of notice you’d prefer tenants give you before they move out. Landlords usually ask for a one-month notice or 30-days heads-up to give them time to look for new tenants.

10.Modifications and Restoration of Property

Inform your tenants that it will be their responsibility to restore the rented property back to its condition when they first moved in. You have to make this clear to your tenants from the start to avoid future misunderstandings. In addition, you should be upfront with your tenants on what they can and can’t change in your property as they may be tempted to renovate it to their liking (paint, landscaping, etc), and that they should ask for permission first before any changes are made.

Source: Rentpad

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