What to Include in a Lease Agreement
Savvy landlords use lease agreements to let tenants know about their expectations. Not only does a lease agreement keep your terms clear, it’s a legally binding agreement.
As a landlord, it’s imperative for you to make the lease agreement as detailed as possible. That’s because a detailed lease can mitigate future misunderstandings and conflicts.
Usually, a lease runs for a specified time period. Often this period lasts between 6 months to a year. Once a tenant has signed a lease agreement and moved into a rental home, they must honor all of the lease terms. The following 8 clauses are must-haves to include in a rental agreement:
1. Names of all Adult Tenants
All adult tenants are required to have their names included in the lease agreement. This makes them legally responsible when it comes to the lease terms, including the paying rent on time and caring for the unit.
If a tenant violates any terms of the lease agreement, a landlord can take proper action. For instance, if a tenant causes negligent property damage, you can choose to terminate their tenancy.
2. Occupancy Limits
Purchasing a rental property is a wise investment. And you'll need to make many important decisions. It’s wise to clearly specify in the agreement that the property is to be occupied by only the bonafide tenants. That is, tenants (and their children) whose names appear on the lease.
This clause gives you the right to determine who occupies your rental property. In other words, it prevents a tenant from illegally subletting the unit without your permission.
3. Length of the Tenancy
Make sure to state how long the lease will last. As a landlord, you have two options in this regard. You can rent the property as a short-term month-to-month lease. Or as a long-term lease agreement, which typically lasts one year.
Both options come with their own pros and cons. If you’re looking for overall flexibility in both the length of the tenancy, a month-to-month agreement is ideal. But if you’re looking for overall stability, then a long-term lease agreement is a great option. Still unsure? A property management company can help you decide what type of lease agreement will work best for you.
4. Rent Details
When it comes to renting your rental property, don’t take the details for granted. Always specify the amount of rent. And let the tenant know about other nitty-gritties, such as:
· Acceptable methods of rent payment.
· Applicable late fees.
· Charges on bounced checks.
· The date rent is due.
5. Security Deposits & Other Fees
As a landlord, you have the right to require tenants to pay a security deposit prior to occupying your rental premises. However, security deposits are refundable either wholly or partially at the end of the lease term.
Disagreements often stem when the landlord has made deductions that the tenant isn’t in agreement with. To avoid potential issues, make sure you specify the following:
· The amount of the security deposit.
· Allowable deductions you can make.
· The return of the security deposit once the lease agreement has ended.
In addition, as a Regina landlord, you may need to do the following:
· Allow your tenant to provide a guarantee letter from the Saskatchewan Assistance Plan (SAP) instead of paying cash
· Never charge an additional deposit. The total security deposit amount must not exceed the rent of one month.
6. Repairs & Maintenance
Your tenant also has obligations when it comes to carrying out repairs and maintenance tasks. Make sure to list your tenant’s obligations to avoid any doubt. A tenant must:
· Repair any damages they have caused
· Make small repairs, such as replacing a burnt out light bulb
· Notify the landlord when maintenance issues arise
· Keep the rental premises in a clean and sanitary condition
In addition, you may also want to let your tenant know about restrictions you may have in regards to property alterations. Property alterations landlords may wish to restrict:
· Unauthorized painting
· Installation of an alarm system
· Adding a built-in dishwasher
7. Landlord Entry
Of course, as a landlord you have the right to enter your tenant’s rented premises. Reasons you may require to enter the property include scenarios such as:
· To inspect the unit.
· To perform needed or requested repairs.
· If you have reasons to believe that the tenant has abandoned the premises.
· If you have a court order.
· In case of an emergency.
However, tenants have certain rights under the Residential Tenancies Act. Such as, a landlord must provide their tenant with an advance notice of 24 hours prior to accessing their unit.
8. Pet Restrictions
Did you know that some believe that owning a pet is good for one's health? The first thing many pet-owning tenants will ask is whether you'll allow them to keep a pet. If you will, then make sure to let tenants know about any restrictions you may have in regards to the number, size, and type of animals allowed.
You may also want to let tenants know if you charge an additional pet deposit.
Drafting a foolproof lease agreement for your tenants safeguards everyone involved. But equally important, the lease agreement is legally binding. That is, a lease must comply with all relevant laws, including health and safety codes, rent control ordinances, and antidiscrimination laws.
If you need help drafting a detailed lease agreement, or with any other aspect of property management, Leenan Property Management is here to help.
As a professional property management company in Regina, SK, we can help you achieve stress-free property management in all areas of property management. Services we offer include marketing of your rental property, screening prospective tenants, collecting rent payments, and even filing taxes on your behalf.
Our goal is to help property owners in Regina achieve and surpass their investment goals. Get in touch today to learn more!