Landlords want tenants who will respect the property, pay their rent on time, and not cause problems. Tenants wish to have a landlord who will respect their privacy, provide safe living conditions, and make repairs promptly.
A signed rental agreement is the best way to ensure both parties uphold their end of the deal. While there may be some variations dependent on specific property features, here are some elements that should be included in every contract.
Names of all parties
The agreement must clearly state the names of everyone involved. This includes the name of the landlord or property management company and all the tenants residing at the address. This ensures that each person is legally responsible for adhering to the terms of the agreement.
There should be a thorough description of the rental property. This typically includes the physical address and may contain details such as the apartment number and additional spaces, such as an assigned parking spot or storage unit.
The start and end dates of the lease need to be outlined. The agreement should state if it’s a month-to-month lease or a fixed term, like one year. There should also be a section under which a lease can be terminated and if there are penalties for breaking the lease early.
The contract needs to include the amount of rent, when it is due, acceptable payment methods and late fees. If a security deposit is required, the contract should mention the amount and the conditions under which it will be returned at the end of the lease. It’s important to note that beginning July 1, 2024, landlords are prohibited from charging more than one month’s rent as a security deposit.
Maintenance and repairs
The contract should clearly define who is responsible for maintaining the property and making any repairs. There also needs to be a clause under which circumstances the landlord may enter the property, such as inspections or making repairs, and how much notice must be given.
Rules and regulations
It’s essential to be clear about specific rules such as noise levels, pet policy, guest policy and other restrictions to prevent misunderstandings.
A well-drafted rental agreement is crucial to a positive experience for the landlord and tenant. It provides a clear understanding of rights and responsibilities and protects the interests of both parties.