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New Landlord? These Items Need to be in Your Lease

As a landlord, there are a lot of legal considerations you need to make. You need to abide by state laws and the Fair Housing Act. You also need to protect your own rights and interests. Striking a balance between your rights and your tenants’ rights is a complex issue in real estate law. When you draft a new lease, be sure it includes all of the following:

Every Tenant’s Name

Even if only one person will be paying the rent, the lease needs to name every person living in the unit. This includes any minor children living there.

The Term of the Tenancy

The lease must state whether it is for a year-long tenancy, a month-to-month tenancy, or another arrangement.

Occupation Limits

Your lease should also include language that limits the unit’s occupancy strictly to the individuals named in the lease. You may also include restrictions or specific terms for subletting, if you permit it at all.

Restrictions on Illegal Activity

It might seem obvious that illegal activities like manufacturing drugs and engaging in prostitution are not permitted in your rental house or apartment, but this part of the lease is not to outlaw those activities – it is to provide legal protection for you. Explicitly prohibiting illegal activities in your lease can protect you from facing lawsuits from neighbors and other tenants if your tenant decides to engage in illegal acts while renting from you.

Your Right to Enter the Property

You will need to enter the property from time to time, whether that is to make repairs or to read the utility meters in the unit. However, your tenant has the right to privacy. In the lease, include language that states how much advance notice you are required to give the tenant before entering the unit and the reasons for which you may enter the unit while the lease is in effect.

Repairs and Maintenance Terms

Some landlords prohibit tenants from making any repairs to their units while others only handle larger, more complex repairs. In your lease, state exactly which repairs and maintenance procedures are your responsibility, which are your tenant’s, and the procedure your tenant should follow when notifying you about problems in the unit that need to be remediated.

Rent, Deposits, and Fees

The rent is probably the most obvious item you need to include in your tenant’s lease. After all, that is why you are renting the property. But this is not the only financial aspect of the lease. You also need to include what you are charging as a security deposit, how you will use the deposit, and whether you are charging any fees, like a cleaning fee.

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Lawyer

The most effective way to draft a legally binding lease is to work with an experienced real estate lawyer. To create a valid lease that includes everything necessary, schedule your consultation with Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd.

Published July 3, 2018
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