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Having a clear and detailed lease agreement is a key step in managing your rental property. Even the smallest details can help cover you in case of damages, late rent payments, and more. Having everything down in writing will help you make your case and seek damages in the event you need backup for your claims. Rental lease agreements cover many aspects of your property, and it’s important to consider all of them when drafting your agreement with a new tenant.

You can properly lay out the rules of payment, including rental amount, due dates, frequency of payments, how late payments are handled, and any fees associated with the unit, including late fees and security deposits. It’s much easier to enforce and collect late rent payments when the terms are included in the lease and will also support you if it comes down to eviction. Security deposits can also be refundable or non-refundable, make sure you include deposit return information in the lease, including retaining security deposit in case of damage.

Spell out any policies you want to enforce on your own property, such as subletting, pets allowed, or other activities that may not be allowed in your area. By including these in your lease, there is no wiggle room for your tenant and it becomes easier to enforce if these terms are violated.

Explain any additional fees or services that the tenant will be responsible for. This includes utilities, trash services, parking privileges and more. If the tenant is going to be responsible for paying for any additional fees associated with the property, it’s best to lay them out within the lease to avoid any surprises to the tenant. Maintenance such as snow removal and lawn care should also be explained, whether it is your responsibility or the tenants’. The more that’s understood within the agreement between both parties, the better the rental relationship becomes.

Make it clear what the penalties are if any part of the lease is violated. If a tenant fails to uphold their part of the rental lease agreement, it should be well-known what the next steps entail, leading all the way up to possible eviction.

With a clearly laid out lease, there is no room for confusion or reinterpretation.  It is encouraged to use standardized lease forms that have been created by a local association for use in your market. Written lease agreements will stand up in case of damages, broken terms, and returned deposits. You’ll find yourself and your property better protected with a rock solid lease agreement. Start your tenant relationship off on the right foot with clear and understandable terms you can both be happy with!