The beginning of the summer is a hot time to move into a new house or apartment, and along with that comes every every landlord and renter’s favorite thing: signing binding legal contracts! Hooray! In a perfect world we’d be able to just say hey man, I’ll give you some money if you let me stay here for a while, and that would be that, but unfortunately people aren’t always as trustworthy as they claim to be on the internet. Who knew? Luckily, the Hometown Rant is here to help both renters and landlords make sure that renting is the mutually beneficial, almost symbiotic relationship that it should be.
If you’ve been a landlord for a little while, you probably already have a standard lease drawn up that you use with your clients. That’s great! If not, you should probably get on that before you agree to let people live in your house, apartment or loft. The ever-useful wikihow has a nice step-by-step guide for writing your own from scratch, and a quick Google search will yield you more sample leases than anybody could ever sign. Find one that works for you, and if you can’t, edit one until it does.
The bare minimum you need is a document that identifies the names of the parties involved, the location of the house, apartment or loft in question, when rent payments and deposits need to be made and how much they cost, the responsibilities that each party assumes for maintenance and upkeep, and the penalties should either party violate their end of the bargain. Also, a place to sign. But you knew that.
The section where leases tend to differ is the section outlining the responsibilities of both the landlord and the renter, and it’s also the section that tends to be the most often broken by one or both parties. This is the section where you’ll specify who pays for garbage, who’s responsible for calling (and paying) the plumber when the toilet explodes, who is responsible for maintaining the yard, whether or not pets are allowed, and all sorts of other benefits and stipulations that will make or break the deal, so it has to be done right.
Landlords writing leases need to be clear about what they will provide as well as what they expect tenants to do in order to maintain the property. DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE BOLD PRINT IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE SOMETHING GETS SEEN! Don’t go overboard though, or you’ll lose the effect. As the owner or manager of the house, apartment, loft or condo, you have the final say about what can or can’t be done there, but remember that you want your rental property to be attractive for potential renters, so don’t get too ridiculous with your rules. If you do have policies that people might not like, maybe provide some services in exchange.
In this day and age, we agree to things all the time without actually reading them, but RENTERS, IF YOU READ ANYTHING EVER, READ YOUR LEASE! IT ACTUALLY MATTERS! If you don’t, you won’t know what you’re supposed to do, and you won’t get what you deserve! That’s no way to be!
Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Hit us on the low-low: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com