Free Rental Agreements and Rental Leases Accurate Credit Bureau

There are two reasons for using written agreements. The first is that an oral agreement is only as good as the memory and the honesty of the parties to the agreement. With a written rental agreement, you can spell out without ambiguity, and without fear of later memory lapses, the terms of the tenancy and who is responsible for what. This is part of keeping a paper trail.

The second reason for using a written rental agreement is to take advantage of explicit provisions defining the terms of the tenancy. For example, if you have a written agreement, you can restrict the tenant’s right to sublet. Without express provision in writing, the tenant has virtual carte blanche ownership of the apartment during the tenancy.

Unless the contract says otherwise, the tenant has the right to bring in new occupants without your approval. The tenant has the right to have pets unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. It comes as a surprise to many landlords, but there is no law entitling you to a key to the apartment. If you want the right to a key, and to restrict the tenant’s right to change locks, you must reserve that right in a written agreement.

Make sure that the rental agreement reflects reality. Your ability to enforce lease provisions depends to a great extent on the lease provisions relation to reality. For example, the standard lease forms provide that only the persons named in the agreement can occupy the apartment. If you intend to enforce that provision rigorously, make sure that all persons, including children, who are going to live in the apartment are listed somewhere in the lease. Otherwise, you create an ambiguity which may work against you.

The other side of making sure the written document reflects reality is that you should be sure to follow your own rules. That doesn’t mean you need to be a stickler to the point of fetish, or never make exceptions or forgive lapses, but you will have fewer problems with tenants if you communicate, by your own actions, that you mean your rules and expect them to be followed.

If you are going to allow the tenant to have a pet, delete or alter the clause in the standard rental lease form which prohibits pets. If it says that you must give your permission in writing and you intend to give permission, give it in writing. If you are allowing the tenant to have a washing machine, air conditioner, or waterbed, make sure that the standard lease clause prohibiting those items is crossed out. Make sure that all changes are made on all copies of the lease. You and the tenant’should both initial each change.

Make sure the lease doesn’t contain illegal provisions. Examples of illegal rental lease provisions are provisions which require tenants to make all repairs or waive their legal rights. Another example of an illegal provision is one which charges the tenant a penalty for late payment of rent when the rent is less than thirty days late. Illegal clauses are unenforceable and can result in damage awards under the Consumer Protection law.

For more landlord information see Accurate Credit Bureau.

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