As a landlord or property manager, you already know the importance of having a lease between yourself and your tenants. At the same time, you also know how important it is to have your leasegone over by an attorney. But, one thing you may have overlooked, is the importance of making sure your tenants are aware of your expectations. Have you addressed these expectations in your lease? Consider these three very importantclauses you should have in your lease.
Who Does What – Maintenance Issues
The average lease might have something about cleanliness such as a generalized statement that requires the tenant to keep the property “maintained.” The problem is one of omission. Most renters have little idea of what it takes to keep a home properlymaintained. In your lease,you should specify that tenants are responsible for things like:
- HVAC filters
- Mowing lawns
- Cleaning gutters
You can put anything you want onthe list but be sure that anything you add to your list is within the average person’s ability to take care of. By putting it in writing and having the tenant sign it, there are no gray areas. Not only will this help keep your property better maintained, but it will help you determine if you should withhold some or all of the person’s security deposit once they move out.
Keeping Things Clean
The ultimate tenant is one who is responsible and understands a dirty house with crumbs and rubbish lyingaround can lead to mildew and attract any number of insects and vermin. All of which can lead to costly repairs. But, if you don’t build a “reasonable expectation of cleanliness” clause in your lease, you could end up with a home that isn’t fit to live in and have to cough up the money or time needed to bring it back up to standard once they move out. On top of this,the property could be temporarily condemneduntil you can satisfy the inspector it meets all standards to the letter.
First, you need to check out the laws regarding roommates and sub-leasing in your particular state. From these, you can draft your personal policies and incorporate them into your lease. This way your tenant will have a full understanding of your policieson roommates and paying sub-lessors. One of the best ways to avoid trouble is to state that the tenant must seek your express permission to turnyour property over to anyone else and this permission must be in writing.
You should also statethat the person must undergo the same background and credit checks as well as the rest of your screening process to ensure that are qualified to assume the lease. The more detailed your leaseis, the less likely you are to have issues with your tenants that result in costly property damage. It’s easy to see adding so much detail to your leases as going way overboard, but it serves two purposes. First,it lets your tenants know what is expectedof them up frontand what it takes to be a good tenant. Second, it will help cut down on costly repairs by keeping out undesirable tenants who are not likely to sign a lease with significant expectations.