Article by, American Partners Apartment Association.
Being a landlord may feel like the culmination of a dream, but it can quickly become a nightmare if you end up with bad tenants who know how to work the system. Fortunately, one of the ways you can protect yourself is through a strong rental agreement where everything is enforceable. Too many landlords simply write something up that sounds good, or they buy a generic rental form online or at a local office supply store. That may work fine with good tenants, but what happens when a bad tenant moves in?
Your Rental Agreement Should be Unique
While there are plenty of clauses that can be the same in every rental contract, you want to tailor some of the agreement to be unique to your property. For example, you might have amenities that aren’t listed in a standard contract, or you might offer something that’s different from most of the properties in your area. Don’t ignore those facts in your rental agreement, as that agreement should cover everything to do with the property – including common areas and how they are to be used.
Legality is Extremely Important
Making your agreement unique doesn’t mean ignoring the law. You can certainly add clauses about particular amenities, and take out anything that doesn’t relate to your property, but there are still basics that should be left alone. You and your tenants are both entitled to certain things as part of your business relationship with one another, which is important to remember. Additionally, you want to make sure you understand the law, so you don’t try to put clauses into your rental agreement that aren’t legal. If you do that and your tenant takes you to court, you could end up in a lot of trouble.
An Attorney can Help Protect Your Interests
Paying an attorney might not sound like much fun, but it’s an excellent way for you to make sure you’re protecting your interests as landlord and property owner. Before you start renting apartments to tenants, take your rental agreement to an attorney who deals with property law, and ask for advice. If there are problems with the agreement, an attorney can point them out and help you correct them. It will cost you a little bit to do that, but could save you a lot of money in the long run, because everything in your rental agreement will be legal and enforceable.
Having a strong rental agreement that you can feel good about helps provide you with peace of mind as a landlord. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always get good tenants, but it does help ensure that you can take care of any bad tenants quickly and more efficiently. That’s good to know, and can make you more confident in your ability to be a landlord and navigate through anything that comes up with your apartments. Tenants may still try to argue about something in the agreement, but you’ll know that the law is on your side.
– See more at: http://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/property-management/landlord-forms/creating-enforceable-rental-agreement/#sthash.2SLK3fDd.dpuf