Rental property owners must understand the importance of having an up-to-date lease agreement that protects their investments. In addition, a property owner must ensure that the people who live in a rental property understand the document they are signing and agree to all terms before moving in.
We know it can be challenging for landlords to create lease agreements from scratch and understand them for proper enforcement. So, our team of Port Charlotte property managers compiled this list of ten tips for creating a comprehensive lease agreement!
1. A Free Template Might Not Be Enough
A residential lease agreement is a contract between the landlord and tenant. A thorough rental agreement is essential for renting a property to set appropriate expectations and responsibilities for both the landlord and tenant during the lease. Because this document is so crucial to your real estate business, relying solely on free lease agreement templates can leave you without critical terms and details to enforce the rules successfully. While you'll find plenty of free templates online, work with a property manager to customize each agreement for your rental properties and financial goals.
2. Customize Your Lease to Fit Your Needs
Customization is crucial for each new lease term and rental unit. A generic contract often fails to address the needs and expectations for renters, property owners, and the property's rules. If you're not sure about the appropriate level of customization for a rental agreement, a property management company can help!
3. Add Additional Clauses As-Needed
As circumstances change, you may find you need to add additional clauses to your lease. For example, suppose you're renting your property and decide to allow pets. In that case, a property owner should add a clause that lays out the responsibilities for the pet owner, the pet security deposit, and requirements for a pet fee.
Additional clauses may also be needed to accommodate changes to landlord-tenant laws or the property over time.
4. Update the Lease Agreement
Even with a customized template as a starting point for each new lease term, it's still important to periodically look over your standard lease agreement to see if anything needs to be updated or changed to stay compliant.
Property managers can help you review and update aspects of a lease agreement template, including:
- Changing provisions that are no longer relevant
- Required changes to maintain a legal document
- Policy changes as your experience as a rental property owner grows
- Fixing loopholes or grey areas
Keeping your template up to date makes it easier to produce a legal and effective lease agreement every time!
5. Know the Law in Florida
The lease document will need to hold up in court if the need arises. Familiarize yourself with the local and Florida state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship. Have a real estate attorney or property management company look over your lease agreement template to find any legal holes that could cause problems.
6. Include a Detailed Description of the Property
Every thorough lease document should include a description of the property. This should consist of the property's address, the name of the neighborhood or subdivision, and details about designated parking or storage spaces.
7. Ensure All Parties Sign the Lease Agreement
When you send the lease agreement to the renter, make sure everyone over 18 signs the lease. After residents sign the lease, make sure you sign it as the property owner or have your property manager sign as your representative. Signing the lease makes it a legal document and signifies that everyone agrees to the terms and conditions.
8. Include What Happens If Renters Violate a Lease Clause
When drafting your simple lease agreement, include a clause that tells a resident what happens if they violate one of the lease terms. This will help protect you from any legal issues that may come up while enforcing the rules. Plus, it lets a resident know there are repercussions for violating one of the terms.
9. Consult an Expert to Look Over the Lease
We've discussed this above, but it's worth mentioning again: have a real estate attorney or a residential property manager look over the lease before you or your resident signs it. This helps ensure that the legal document protects your property and your ability to enforce the rules.
10. Review the Lease with Tenants at Signing
A property manager recommends sitting down with your resident before signing the lease agreement to answer any questions about it. This way, the critical points are understood by both parties to help avoid disputes during the lease term.
A Port Charlotte Property Management Company Creates Custom Lease Agreements
Every property owner should be familiar with their lease agreements and how to create one. However, the best way to ensure airtight leases is to work with a Port Charlotte property management company! Gulf Coast Property Management has the experience real estate investors need to generate comprehensive leases and maximize their returns. Learn more about how our property management services protect your investments when you reach out to speak with our team!