Here are five potential problems that could hamper your efforts to protect your hard-earned profits:
1. Lease agreements should be easy to distinguish from the pile of leasing forms and disclosures. Make sure it is clear where the lease document begins, what attachments it includes, and where it ends. That way, it is easy to prove what the tenant agreed to when they signed.
2. Any subsequent amendments or renewals should be attached to the original lease, or a copy of the original lease, for easy reference. Otherwise, it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of the current terms.
3. Always give the tenant a copy of the lease, including all attachments and amendments. They are more likely to comply with the lease if they can refer back to its contents. Also, if they have a complaint, they can show the documents to their attorney. If everything is in order, the attorney may discourage any frivolous legal action.
4. Make sure all adult occupants are on the lease, so it is clear that the rules apply to everyone. Always have current contact information on all occupants in the event you need to take action. Evictions are hard enough without having to hire an investigator to find out who is living in your rental property.
5. Be careful about the lease language — don’t just throw in every provision imaginable. Illegal provisions can void the entire lease agreement. Always start with a strong, comprehensive lease agreement that is state-specific. Once you have the provisions you want, run it past an attorney to make sure it includes all of the protections you need. To find the right leasing forms, check out our new Landlord Forms Page.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.