Terms To Include In Your Rental Agreement
A rental agreement is a legal document that binds a tenant and property owner to certain rights and responsibilities pertaining to rental property. It consists of crucial details relevant to the duration of the tenancy, rent to be paid every month, security deposit, renewal of lease, the expiration of the lease and other rental details.
Irrespective of how detailed a rental agreement is, there are certain terms that must be included to ensure a peaceful and non-disruptive tenancy:
- Name Of Tenants: Name of everyone living in the rental should be mentioned in the agreement. Each tenant mentioned in the agreement is liable to pay rent and the lease can be terminated for all other tenants, if one fails to pay rent.
- Description Of The Rental: The complete address of the rental should be included along with the building and unit number. Specifications of assigned parking areas, specific storage areas, and areas that cannot be accessed by tenants e.g. locked sheds should also be noted.
- Tenancy Term: Clearly mention rules regarding the renewal and termination of the rental agreement specifically stating the term of the tenancy, start date, expiration date and length of tenancy.
- Fees And Deposits: To avoid disputes, mention the amount of security deposit to be paid (as per the state security deposit limit laws), replenishment rules in case of mid-tenancy deductions and rules regarding returning security deposits and non-refundable fees.
- Rent: In addition to the amount of rent to be paid, also mention the date when it should be paid, mode of payment (by mail or at the office), amount of late fee, grace period (if any) and charges for a rent check that bounces.
- Repairs And Maintenance: Clearly state repair and maintenance policies for your rental by including the tenant’s responsibilities (maintain cleanliness, pay for damages caused other than normal wear and tear, etc.), procedures for handling repair requests/complaints and restrictions on repairs and alterations.
- Restrictions On Illegal Activity: An explicit clause should be included to prohibit disruptive behavior in the form of illegal activity (drug dealing), excessive noise, etc. This will protect your property from damage and protect you from exposure to lawsuits by neighbors and residents.
- Pet Policies: Your rental agreement should mention the specific restrictions if any on pets i.e. size, breed, type of pet, number of pets and animal waste disposal.
- Access to Property: A rental agreement should clearly specify the property owner's right to access the property as per the state’s laws. This helps in avoiding claims of violation of privacy by a tenant.
- Other Restrictions: The rental agreements should not violate anti-discrimination laws, rent control laws and health and safety codes. It is advisable to hire an attorney who can review the rental agreement from time to time and ensure it is compliant with applicable laws.