Landlord Advice: 4 Things to Include in a Lease Agreement

If you are becoming a landlord, the following advice can help you avoid many of the mistakes that new landlords make. When you are composing a lease agreement, there are a number of things that you are going to need to keep in mind. Here are a few things to include in a lease agreement.

1. Rent 

One of the main things that you need to include in a lease agreement is information about the rent. You need to clearly spell out how much the rent is and when it is due. You also need to include information about what happens if the rent does not arrive on time. You also need to make sure that you tell the tenant exactly how much he or she will have to pay in late fees and if it increases over time.

2. Further Action

When a tenant refuses to pay his or her rent, you are going to have to do something to remedy the problem. Typically, you will want to evict him or her after a certain point. When you are dealing with a lease agreement, you need to make sure that the rules are clearly spelled out. For example, if you are going to start the eviction process after one month of being late, you need to tell the tenant that in the lease. When you are writing your lease, you want to make sure that the rules of eviction match up with your local and state laws regarding this topic. There are typically rules that govern how soon you can evict someone for non-payment of rent. 

3. Deposit

When you are a landlord, you are going to need to charge your tenant a certain amount of money for a deposit. The deposit is designed to cover potential damages to the property while the tenant lives there. It is also an incentive for the tenant to continue paying rent and living as a solid tenant. Many times, landlords have to end up keeping the deposit because of damage to the property. When you are writing out your lease agreement, you are going to want to make sure that you include information about the deposit. Clearly tell the tenant exactly what he or she is going to have to do in order to get the deposit back. This way, there will be no confusion when the tenant moves out of the property as to what is going to happen to the deposit.

4. Additional Damages

Sometimes the amount of the deposit is not going to be enough to cover all of the damages to a property. When a tenant completely destroys a property, you are going to have to spend more money than what the tenant has already given you. In this case, you might want to consider charging the tenant for this damage. In the lease agreement, you need to include provisions about how much you are going to charge if certain damage occurs. For example, you might charge the tenant $1500 if the carpet in the unit has to be replaced. Try to cover as many of these contingencies as possible in your lease agreement.

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