10 Terms to Include In Your Lease or Rental Agreement
A standard lease agreement sets the rules to be followed by both the tenants and the landlords in a rental relationship. A residential tenancy agreement is a practical and legal contract, full of vital details such as the duration tenants can occupy a property as well as the rent due. A residential rental agreement can be handwritten, typed, long, or short, but it still must cover basic tenancy terms. In this article, we discuss some of the most important issues to cover in a lease agreement.
1. The names of tenants
Each and every adult living in a rental unit has to be listed as a tenant. They should additionally sign the rental agreement, which effectively makes each and every single tenant responsible for all terms agreed upon in the lease, including the liability of rent, as well as correct use of the rental unit. A property owner is then legally able to seek the entire rental amount due from any of the tenants in case the others do not pay. If one of your tenants violates any term of the tenancy, you as the landlord can terminate the tenancy of all the other signatory tenants of that particular rental agreement.
2. Limitation on occupancy
A residential tenancy agreement should categorically specify that residency is limited to tenants who have already signed the agreement. Such a specification guarantees the owner's right to determine who can live in the property and also allows for a limitation on the number of occupants. This clause benefits the proprietor by allowing grounds for the eviction of any tenant in violation of the terms of the rental agreement.
3. Term of tenancy
A lease document should declare whether it is a rental or fixed-term agreement. Rental agreements are usually verbal and renew themselves unless either the tenant or landlord puts an end to said agreement. Fixed-term leases are generally annual. This type of agreement depends on the duration a proprietor would allow tenancy and the level of flexibility they would want to be included in the arrangement. In this case study where the proprietor brings a lawsuit against the agent for a three-month rental loss, a term of tenancy was not specified in the rental agreement when the property owner asked the agent for a yearlong lease agreement. Tenants signed a nine-month agreement.
A residential lease agreement should be specific about the amount of rent, payment plan, and when it is due. To eliminate possible disputes or confusion, the rental agreement entails details such as:
• Whether or not late fees will be included if rent is not paid by the due date, amount of such fees if any, and whether there is a grace period for such payments.
• Payment methods.
• Charges a tenant may incur if the cheque bounces.
5. Deposits and fees
The repayment or utilization of security deposits can often lead to disagreements, confusion, legal hassles, or disputes. To avoid all these, a residential lease agreement should clearly state the use, limit and repayment plans of all security deposits. The details to be included are;
• The possible mode of usage.
• How, as well as when the security deposits will be repaid including details on all deductions.
• Restrictions regarding the use of the security deposits by tenants.
• All non-returnable fees.
• The amount of said security deposits, which must comply with state laws.
• Details on the location these security deposits are being held in, and commitment to whether the interest earned will be paid to the tenant.
6. Repairs and maintenance
A lease or rental agreement must clearly set out the responsibilities of tenant and landlords regarding the repair and maintenance of the rental unit. The details and terms to be included in this clause are;
• The need for alerts from the tenants to the landlord concerning either defective or dangerous conditions, as well as details and guidelines on the procedures for handling either requests or complaints.
• To whom the responsibility of maintaining sanitation and cleanliness, as well as the responsibility for any damage caused by the tenants’ abuse or neglect, lays.
• Prohibitions on any tenant alterations, including the addition of a dishwasher or burglar alarm system without permission.
To eliminate the possibility of residents claiming privacy rights were violated or there was an illegal entry, a residential rental agreement must clarify the legal right of a proprietor to access the rental unit for specified reasons like effecting repairs. The agreement must also detail the required amount of notice an owner should afford tenants before entry.
8. Restrictions on activities
To eliminate possible disputes among tenants, limit the possibility of property damage, and probable lawsuits, a property owner has to incorporate an explicit clause in the residential lease agreement prohibiting any and all disruptive behavior, including noise pollution and illegal activities such as dealing drugs.
If a property owner restricts tenants from having pets, the lease or rental agreement should be clear and specific on the subject, and in the event that it is okay to own pets, special restrictions, if any, must be identified. Restrictions may include the size or number of pets and the requirement that tenants maintain cleanliness in the yard.
10. Other restrictions
Proprietors must ensure standard lease agreements comply with the relevant laws. All other legally binding restrictions must also be clearly spelt out.
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