No single piece of paper or electronic document will have a more significant impact on your relationship with your future renter than your rental lease agreement. When you begin working with renters, it may be tempting to use a basic lease agreement. However, an experienced Silver Spring property management company can tell you that your rental properties could be vulnerable to income loss without customizing the document.
Property owners are far better protected when fully understanding everything in the lease and ensuring it thoroughly protects a property. In addition, your renters will be more likely to follow the rules if you can adequately explain everything in the lease! Here's what you need to know.
Understanding What a Rental Lease Agreement Does
Even seasoned property owners could lack a full understanding of everything that should be in a rental lease agreement. That's why it is so important, no matter where you are in the process of becoming a rental property owner, to consult with a property manager about what this document does (and if it's doing everything it can for your rental properties).
The rental agreement is a legal contract that outlines landlord and tenant responsibilities during a tenancy. This document is your chance to lay out ground rules for living in your property and what will happen if a renter chooses not to obey them.
A properly executed rental lease agreement is more than a formality; it helps ensure the renter understands the rules and expectations during the lease term. This helps you avoid misunderstandings that could lead to broken rules, late rent, or more severe issues that could lead to eviction.
The Recipe For a Residential Lease Agreement
If you've never read through every page of the lease before, now is the time! A residential lease agreement can include many terms and clauses, but some of the most critical customizable elements of the lease include four critical pieces of information.
Your lease agreement remains in effect for a specific time period, and these dates must be clearly noted in the document.
Renters need to know the move-in date (and understand they cannot move in before that date). They also need the lease to document when to move out, when to pay rent, and grace periods you might allow before late fees. For a month-to-month lease agreement, the document should outline how to give notice to end the agreement or how much notice you will give if you want to end the monthly tenancy.
If you plan to conduct mid-lease property inspections or have already scheduled any repairs on the property, it's not a bad idea to mention those approximate dates in the lease too. Generally, a property manager will tell you it's smart to set clear dates for payments, the tenancy start and end, and any routine activities in the lease.
Everything from pet or parking fees to how you'll process the security deposit should be spelled out clearly in the agreement. Doing this helps prepare renters for costs above the monthly rent and helps ensure you'll get paid on time.
Property owners should be well-versed in every fee mentioned on their lease. If your renter asks about a fee in the lease but it doesn't apply to their property, the lease agreement is probably not customized enough to adequately protect your property.
Conditions and Policies
The lease is your opportunity to set rules and conditions (within legal guidelines) for what can and cannot happen at your property. Doing this is crucial to protecting the condition of a rental property and avoiding costly damage left by renters.
The document should spell out everything from mentioning noise and nuisance issues to defining that only service animals and emotional support animals are allowed in your pet-free rental. These "house rules" are where you can clearly outline what matters to you as a rental property owner in a way that doesn't discriminate since every renter has the same rules in writing.
Consequences and Procedures
Excellent Property Management Helps You Craft an Ironclad Custom Lease
If you want expert guidance on your lease but aren't sure where to start, start with Renters Warehouse BW Metro. We've seen firsthand how an excellent lease agreement can reduce problems between owners and renters, but we also know that owners can often use some help to understand every aspect of the lease. So let us be your resource! Reach out to our team to learn how our property management services can help.