If you are thinking about purchasing a rental property for an investment, or renting your home instead of selling it, you could be getting in over your head. You have no idea what some of the tenant issues are that you could be facing if you aren’t smart about the things you put in your rental agreement.
One place to look to get a good base lease that covers all the basics is your state real estate commission. It could also be the state attorney general’s office. They have spent years gathering up solutions to all the biggest issues that landlords have with tenants. They also know the law and you can be sure that their basic lease covers all of the legal issues as well. Do you know the law on holding security deposits? Who you can and can’t rent to (hint: the “can’t” is most likely the problem) or your responsibility as a landlord in keeping up the property? This is a great place to start to get everything you need.
Here are some other things to think about:
Make sure you include a clause that gives you reasonable access to inspect the property and allow reasonable access to hired tradesmen to make repairs.
Have tenants put all utilities in their name. That way you aren’t stuck with paying the utilities for a tenant that has vacated the premises.
It’s important to also make sure that you include that any improvements, including painting, hanging pictures (specify the types of hangers or fasteners to be used) or hanging lights on the outside of the home requires your approval before any work is done.
No working on cars or changing oil on the property. It may sound silly, but disposal of motor oil is regulated in most areas, and have you ever tried to remove oil and chemical stains from garage floors?
Put it in writing that your insurance does NOT cover them or their belongings.
Leave a space to list all the names and contact information of everyone who will be living in the home. Also specify the time period that overnight guests can stay. If you don’t you may end up with eviction issues of a guest who won’t leave.
There are other issues that you should consider, but these are some that may not occur to you, but may end up being a problem. Get your tenant issues under control from the beginning and you will have a better landlord tenant experience.