Of all of the forms one can sign in their life, a lease can be one of the most complicated and one of the most misunderstood. If you rent from a corporate held apartment complex or building, your lease likely looks quite official and contains many different sections covering any eventuality you can think of. If you are looking to write your own lease, you don’t quite need something like that, but it is important that your lease covers many main points. Let’s take a quick overview of the lease you can write from your own home computer.
Just like any other major form, start with the formal names of both parties involved. Next, list the address in question that is being rented out. Once the formalities are out of the way, you want to include the first main section to be about rent. Include how much rent is, when it is to be collected and for how long the lease is valid for (six months or a year are the usual terms).
The next section usually talks about payments of rent, when it is due, how it is supposed to be paid and by when. You can include any other kinds of rent related information in this section as well, such as any conditions that you want to include about how rent is paid.
Section three usually talks about security deposits, the terms in which they will be returned and how they are collected (cash, check, etc.). Section four often talks about any late fees that are charged if rent is late. Some leases fold this section into the first two sections that talk about rent.
Depending on the arrangement you have with your tenant, you might want to include a section about who pays what utilities. Be specific here so there can be no wrangling by your tenant at a later date.
Next, outline a section that gives details on occupant limits to the unit you’re renting and how long guests can stay before they need to be included in the total number of permanent occupants.
Some people choose to include a clause on pets further up in the lease for added emphasis, but many people place it near the middle. Make sure you make your rules about pets absolutely clear. The number one cause of evictions is people ignoring the pet provisions in their lease.
The rest of the lease is up to each landlord, and can include clauses banning waterbeds, a clause on parking if necessary, a clause on noise and when quiet hours should start, a clause or two on the conditions of the rental unit and any defects that are already known and haven’t been caused by the renter moving in, a clause on changes the tenant can make to the unit, a clause on termination of the lease and the rules regarding it and finally a section on the number of keys that are being made.
Writing your own lease is very common and can be a bit of a hassle, but if done right, you will have a great template you can use again and again.