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Because of the money you’ve invested in your property, the last thing you want to do is work with a bad tenant who wastes your time and money. Therefore, you’ll want all your tenants to sign a comprehensive lease agreement. However, while having a lease agreement is great, writing one can be nerve-racking.
Whether you’re drafting the agreement yourself or taking it to a professional, you need to know the policies you want and the policies you must have. So, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a lease agreement.
Like any good draft, you should outline the significant points of what you need to go over in the agreement. First, you want explicit communication as there is no room for vagueness here. Make sure all the gaps are filled in, and review them to ensure tenants aren’t taking advantage of any loopholes or policies you didn’t think of.
A few points you’ll want to outline are late fee policies, rent amount, tenant rights and responsibilities, landlord rights and responsibilities, and who is responsible for the property, amenities, and maintenance emergencies. While this is not an exhaustive list, think about what you would want to know if you lived in your own rental property.
After you’ve outlined your agreement, start expanding upon the most important policies to you. This could be anything from pet policies, noise curfews, or late rent grace periods. These will be the easiest for you to write, as you’ve probably thought about them a lot already. There’s no shame in having a set of expectations that may be either stricter or more flexible, as long as you’re in line with local, state, and federal laws.
Your next step is to expand on your policies and write down all the information your tenant may inquire about. The good thing is that your lease agreement doesn’t have to be set in stone. If a tenant asks a question unanswered in your clauses, it’s okay to go back to the drawing board and implement what you missed, as long as you inform your tenants about the lease agreement update.
You must ensure that each clause is enforceable and would be upheld in court. During the drafting process, it’s a good idea to go over local ordinances at the very least, as most states leave the rental policies up to the county. When you’ve finished drafting, have a knowledgeable attorney read over what you’ve prepared. They can further ensure that the law backs you up and can point out anything you may have missed.
Lastly, you’ll want to format your agreement so your tenants can easily read and sign it. Make sure your agreement has the necessary headings, provisions, clauses, signature lines, and a clear title.
Hopefully, this step-by-step guide on how to write a lease agreement clears up any confusion and gets you on your way to drafting a lease agreement. Start brainstorming today and ask yourself what you want to include in your lease agreement!
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