Updated March 8, 2022
Every property owner has their own preferences when it comes to putting together a lease agreement between landlord and tenant. There are some commonalities, though, which should be included in every lease. Many standard aspects of a basic lease agreement help protect investors from liabilities, lawsuits, and income loss.
What do rental owners need to include in a rental agreement. Before you make a mistake with your next lease, the best property management Tacoma offers weights in here!
Protect Your Rental Property With An Airtight Lease
Downloading a free lease agreement template might seem like the simplest way to start and finish an agreement with a new renter--and it probably is! However, free downloads or templates won't always have the critical information property owners in Tacoma need to protect their investments and income.
While a template can help you get started, property management experts recommend having an attorney review the document before finalizing it with new residents. A property manager can also help you identify weaknesses in the agreement and ensure that every critical element is in place before new tenants sign and move in.
Critical Elements For Your Lease
So, what should your lease include to comply with the law and keep rentals safe? Here's what property managers recommend.
Handling Pets or Emotional Support Animals
This is a big recommendation from property management companies that deal with property damage from pets. All property owners should have a lease clause that specifies the rental criteria for what kinds of pets are allowed in the property and under what conditions they can be kept there. In addition, property owners need to describe how damages will be handled if a pet causes property damage.
Including an emotional support animal (ESA) or service animal clause in the rental agreement helps residents with disabilities to get the treatment they need while maximizing your property's safety and security. A clause should specify how a resident can request a reasonable accommodation to have an emotional support animal in their rental home. Your lease should also make it clear that you understand that emotional support animals are not pets and are not bound by the same lease rules for pets. This ensures that your policies comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Security Deposits and Rent
Property managers suggest adding language to the lease agreement to ensure the tenant knows exactly how much money they're putting down upfront in the form of a security deposit or other fees. It pays to be explicit about what property damage you plan to cover with the deposit—and what property damage you don't (such as redecorating or landscaping).
The lease should also include the monthly rent amount, when paying rent is due, when it's late, and applicable late fees. Document how to pay rent, as well. This is also the place where property owners should indicate if there will be future rent increases. Finally, work with a property manager to make sure the security deposit and rent amounts comply with landlord-tenant law.
Tenant Names and Occupancy Details
The lease should include the names of everyone living in the property, including contact information. Ensure the rental agreement gives clear direction on occupancy limits and rules for guests (how long they can stay, where they can park, and more).
Rental Property Description
In addition to the property's address, include a description of the home and surrounding property. For example, if the home is a single-family residential property with a two-car garage and a swing set in the backyard, make sure that information is in the lease.
Start and Ending Dates
Clearly note when the lease begins and when it ends. Include details about moving in, resident responsibilities while they live in the property, and how to give notice when it's time to move out. It's also a good idea to include information about when you'll conduct property inspections and how renters should let you know about maintenance issues.
Review the Lease With Tenants
Once your attorney confirms that your lease is airtight and follows the law, it's to get it signed and schedule move-in day!
As a property owner, it's important to review the information in the lease with renters before both parties sign it. The last thing anyone wants is any confusion or misunderstanding about each party's rights and responsibilities during the tenancy period. Walk through the document, answer questions, and make sure your new residents are clear about everything in the agreement.
A property manager can handle the lease creation process, work with an attorney to make sure it's legal, and help your tenants review, understand, and sign the document!
Tacoma Property Managers Create Custom Leases That Protect
A lease agreement is a legally binding document that can help rental property owners avoid legal issues or income loss. If you don't feel like you have the time or experience to create an enforceable lease agreement, work with The Joseph Group for assistance. We provide comprehensive leases and agreements tailored to your needs, ensuring all necessary information has been included so you can rest easy knowing your property will be safe! Plus, we help investors enforce the lease with renters. If you'd like help reviewing your current lease or creating your next one, reach out and learn more about our property management services!