Before renting your property to a tenant, there is always the need to enter into a rental or lease agreement. A rental agreement is a vital legal document that is completed prior to a landlord renting property to a tenant. It holds you and your tenant to all the conditions of tenancy which may protect either party during a dispute.

As a property manager, it is your duty to make sure all the conditions regarding living or renting an apartment in your property are expressly stated in the agreement to prevent future dispute. One great way to prevent future disputes with your tenants is to answer all the questions they may have in the actual agreement even before they ask you.

Below is a list of four (4) questions your prospective tenants are most likely to ask before signing a lease agreement with you.

  • How is Rent Paid?

Every property management company in charge of a rental home employs different strategy for dealing with rent-related issues. It is important that you clearly state in the lease agreement your position on how rent should be collected and any other related matter.

Below are ideas for clarifying the rent collection process in your rental agreements:

  • State if you allow for grace period and the terms for it
  • Penalties for late payments or late rent policies
  • Method of rent payment. You could state the acceptable medium of payment
  • List out the consequences of not paying rent.

  • What Utilities are Tenants Accountable for?

In most rental homes, this is one of the major cause of disputes between renters and property managers. Most of the time, certain utilities bills may be covered by the landlord as a form of incentive or bonus to tenants.

When drafting your rental agreements, it is advisable that you clearly itemize the utility bills that rentals are expected to handle on their own. Below is a list of utilities that property managers are likely responsible for.

  • Water/sewer/trash
  • Garbage collection
  • Parking permits
  • Cable and/or internet connections

  • What If I Want to Break My Lease Before Its Expiration?

Sometimes your tenants may need to break their lease before the agreed termination date. You cannot force a tenant to continue to leave in your property against their wish. It is a hassle every property manager must deal with.

It is important that you include the early lease termination procedure in your lease agreement. This alerts your tenants of what to expect when such a situation arises in the future.

Here are some key things to include in this clause of the contract:

  • The notice required to vacate the property (including time-frame and form the notice must be given in).
  • Charges associated with early termination.
  • The cancellation process should you choose to allow certain instances of early lease termination.

  • What is Your Pet Policy?

Pets are lovely to live with but what happens when your garden or rental home carpet are constantly destroyed by these same set of friends?

Before renting your home to a tenant, you should include the type/number of pets allowed and the deposits they may be required to pay. Also, clearly state the penalty for destruction caused by a tenant pets or the presence of an unapproved pet in the property.

Final Thoughts

Renting your property to a tenant can be a lot to handle if your rental agreement doesn’t explicitly state your position on several important issues. It is advisable that before drafting your agreement, you should discuss with a local property lawyer to be on the right side of your state laws.