Didn’t You Read Your Lease Before You Signed It?

As a landlord or property manager, you have probably heard just about every excuse in the book when it comes to tenants violating the lease they signed. You may have heard crazy things like, “I didn’t know the non-smoking policy applied to my guests” or “I didn’t know that the no pets policy applied to having a cat”, and many more. We all know just how frustrating this can be.

While everyone who is in the property rental industry is only too aware that a lease becomes a binding contract once both parties sign it, the average tenant seems to be only too willing to overlook this situation.

Too Much of a Hurry

In all reality, the lack of stressing the importance of the lease is often the fault of the management office rather than the tenants. How can this be, we all know how important the lease is? Let’s set the scene, Jim and his family are all set to move in:

Jim rushes into the office to pick up his keys to the family’s new home, the moving truck full of everything they own, and there are car loads of helpers eager to get started helping the family move in. The last thing they have time for is to sit down and thoroughly go over the lease. Jim says,it’s okay, I’ve signed leases before.

You think well, we’ve been going over things for several weeks, so surely, we’ve covered everything in the lease by now, right? So, a few signatures later, Jim says just mail me a copy and goes on about moving in. On top of this, even if you do try to go over a few of the more salient points, how much do think Jim is going to remember, his mind is on where the couch and TV are going to fit and what he should order in to feed everyone.

Schedule a Lease Appointment

The best thing you can do to avoid this situationis to schedule a lease signing appointment with Jim and his spouse. Schedule the appointment for a few days before they are scheduled to move in. This will give Jim plenty of time to go over his new lease one section and subsection at a time. Being able to focus on the lease allows Jim to gain a full understanding of it, without any distractions. Make it a positive experience, but at the same time make sure he knows what he is singing.

Your Lease is a Legal Document

Failing to take the time to fully explain Jim’s lease to him can only lead to problems further down the road. While it is not your job to read the lease to your new tenants, it is your job to go over the most salient points of the lease and give them time to read the whole document. In the end, it is Jim’s responsibility to read his lease, after all, it is a legally binding document that both lessor and lessee are bound to once it is signed by both parties. Be sure your tenants know what they are signing to avoid issues at a later date, you will be glad you did.