By Wayne Gathright

Part One, Make Your Lease a Tenant Satisfaction Agreement

Part Two, The Basic Lease Agreement

Part Three, Build Tenant Incentive Clauses into Your Lease Agreement

Important Clauses To Add To Your Lease Agreement

Woman typingWhile the basic lease provisions are important, most of the time, a basic lease agreement is not enough.

In addition to incentive clauses, there are many other important clauses that landlords often tend to neglect, yet these can be invaluable if there is ever a dispute.

Here are some examples of clauses that can be added to your lease agreement:

Parking. Spell out how many vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, etc.) you will allow to be parked at the residence? Where?

Residential Use. Can the tenants run a business? What kind?

Garage Sales/Auctions. Will you permit these? How often?

Notification of Change of Status. Require that the tenant update you on changes, for instance, employment.

Subletting. Is it allowed? How many new residents? Notification

Co-signers. Should you add another responsible party as a guarantor?

ChecklistPartial Payment of Rent. What will happen if you receive only part payment?

Returned Check Fee. How are you going to handle returned checks?

Bankruptcy. What if your tenant files for bankruptcy?

Lease Violations. What are your rights? What are the tenant’s rights?

Tenant’s Absence. What if the tenant disappears? Can you get into the rental?

Furniture Lien. Can the tenant’s possessions be takes?

Increase in late fees. Can you charge additional late fees if the tenant is often late?

Judgment collection. Who pays?

Utility bills. What if the tenant defaults?

Emergency repairs. What if you have to cut off the water for repairs?

Problem neighbors. How do you handle complaints?

Disasters. What if you can’t fulfill your landlord obligations because of a disaster?

Illegal activity. Make sure you can take action against drug use, explosives, firearms, etc.

Quiet Enjoyment. You should insure that the tenant cannot intrude on other people’s rights.

Smoking. Make sure your rules are clear.

Pets. How many pets? What additional deposit? What about additional cleaning costs?

Yard Upkeep. Make sure your property looks neat and is safe.

Health and Safety Codes. Be sure your tenant doesn’t violate these.

I hope these ideas make you think about how important your tenant lease can be. With the right rental agreement design, you can create a lease that will protect your property, promote timely rent receipt, motivate your tenants, and protect your legal rights as a landlords.

Wayne Gathright is president of WG Software, Inc., developers of the Tenant File Property Management Software. He has over 30 years experience in consulting and software development for real estate. Mr. Gathright also markets a product for easy creation of leases called The Lease Designer, that allows the user to select from several prewritten leases, choose from over 200 prewritten rental clauses, and add house rules templates to the lease. A user can write their own leases and clauses, modify the existing templates, or import leases from other programs.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment, including tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at