rental agreement

If you’re new to property management, you should know that the rental agreement is one of the most important things you’ll be in charge of for your properties. Some landlords may already have an agreement in place, but others will expect you to draw up the contract and ensure that everything is included that needs to be under your state’s regulations. What needs to be in place for generic rental agreements in most states?

Fees, Deposits, and Rent

rent feeThe handling of your tenant’s money is important and should be outlined in detail in your generic rental agreement. How much will the security deposit be, where will the money be kept, and how will it be handled in the event that it needs to be used? You should also outline any fees in your generic rental agreement. These could include fees for the maintenance of the property such as landscaping and repairs if not already included in the rent, fees for violations such as pets or destruction or property, or penalties for moving guests in. You’ll also need to outline when the rent is due, how much it is, and the conditions under which it’s subject to change.

Disclosures on Safety Hazards

hazarddisclosureIn many states, you’re required by law to inform the tenants of anything on the property that could pose as a potential safety hazard. For your generic rental agreement, you’ll need to outline these in detail to make sure your tenant understands these hazards before they move in. Did the last home inspection reveal some mold in the basement? Is there an old well in the backyard that’s not properly covered? Did you have to remove lead paint when you bought the property? Double check your state’s requirements before you draw up the generic rental agreement and make sure you’re fully disclosing anything required of you to disclose.

Notice for You to Enter the Property

to-enterYou may be required to give the tenants notice before you can legally enter the property. How long in advance the notice will be and the circumstances may need to be outlined in your generic rental agreement. For instance, if you need to schedule a home inspection or complete repairs, you may be required to give the tenants a 48-hour notice. Some states also require you to outline conditions under which the landlord or property manager may enter the property without notice, such as a flood or fire. These are emergency conditions and they should be detailed in your generic rental agreement so that all parties understand the conditions under which you may enter the property without notice, but also when notice will be given.

Terms of the Stay

calendarThere are many things to consider and some things that your state will require to go on your generic rental agreement when it comes to the terms of stay. You should detail how long the lease will be for, but also conditions under which the contract will be void or the tenants may need to leave. If your tenant loses his or her job and is unable to pay the rent, what will be the conditions under which he or she will be asked to vacate the property, or how long is he or she able to stay there? You should outline notices such as contract violations and how much notice is required before the tenant moves out.


restrictionsAny restrictions that you or the landlord require need to be detailed in the generic rental agreement, and you should also outline what will happen if these restrictions are violated or repeatedly violated. Restrictions could include things like pets on the property, moving guests in for any period of time not outlined in the agreement, who will perform maintenance and repairs and when. This last one is particularly important as you should also outline what restrictions are in place for your tenants to alter the property in any way. Are they allowed to paint the walls, remove furniture, or alter things they may not like, such as the kitchen cabinets or bathroom tile? These restrictions will need to be detailed if you want your property to remain in stable condition throughout their stay.

A generic rental agreement doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be detailed and thorough. Be sure to check your state’s requirements for what you need to put in the lease and make sure your tenants are well informed. This will keep all parties happy and keep your property management running smoothly throughout your tenant’s stay.

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Jenn Ryan is a freelance writer and editor who has done work with a variety of local companies in the DC Metro Area. She loves running, reading, and spending time with her four rescued bunnies.




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