Are Your Documents Clear?

shutterstock_273699872Documents are imperative to any rental agreement. Make sure the documents your tenants sign are clear, with all the necessary information included. Failing to do so can lead to future problems as residents claim they didn’t know the contract agreements. Here are some of the most important pieces of information that must be included.

Rent Payment Information

Perhaps the most important piece of information to make clear and concise is the rent. However, don’t just mention the amount of rent due each month, include the due date. If the rent is due on the first, put it in the document. If there is a grace period of three days, put it in the document. Don’t forget to include what happens if the rent is late. Will there be a penalty? What is the penalty? Last, include what is included in the rent, such as specific utilities. If the tenant is responsible for some utilities, include that information too.

Apartment Alteration Regulations

Alteration regulations are some of the most commonly abused regulations. Tenants don’t necessarily do it on purpose. They simply want to make the apartment their home, and they may not realize they’re breaking the rules. Make sure to include alteration regulations in the lease, such as what alterations are prohibited, what alterations are allowed and whether tenants must get permission before making any alterations.

Landlord Entry Regulations

Landlords have the right to enter rented properties, but they don’t have free reign. Even though they have their own key to the apartment or house, they can’t simply let themselves in to snoop around. In emergency situations, the landlord can enter without notice, but typically, a landlord must give 24-hour notice to enter the home. Make sure to put your policies regarding landlord entry in the lease agreement, so residents know what to expect, and they don’t bar you from entering.

Pet Policy

The last common piece of information you need in your contract is the pet policy. If you don’t allow them, that’s fine, but put it in the lease. If you do allow pets, you’ll need to include additional information, such as what types of pets are allowed, what size of pets are allowed, if there is a special deposit for pets and if the deposit is refundable when the tenant moves. If you allow pets, it’s extremely important to be very specific, so you don’t have someone’s 150-pound St. Bernard destroying the apartment.

Rental documents are designed to protect both parties, but they are only useful if they have all the right information. Make sure your tenants know what they’re committing to with clear agreements.

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