As a landlord, you know how important contracts are. Rental agreements provide a legally binding contract between you (or your property management company) and the tenant(s) occupying your property. A landlord without sound contracts is bound to lose out on income meant to provide for their family.
Every rental agreement should include the basics like names, lease term, rental costs, notice requirements for vacating the property, etc., but there are some lesser-used terms that more landlords should consider to protect their tenants and their income.
Working with an attorney to add the following terms to your rental contracts could be vital for the future of your investments.
- Subleasing Clauses
Do you want your tenants to be able to sublease if they can’t complete their rental contract? Sometimes tenants need to move before their lease is up. This often puts landlords in a tough position to decide whether or not to release a tenant from the terms they agreed to. Doing so regularly means future tenants may have the legal right to be released from a lease even if you don’t agree.
Subleasing gives tenants the opportunity to find another individual or individuals to fulfill their rental obligations and continue on as tenants. If you do not want this, then it should be specified in the contract. Florida law allows subleasing unless the landlord has strictly forbidden it.
At the very least, your lease should include a condition that requires landlord approval before subleasing the space.
- Guest Clauses
You agreed to let two people rent out your condo, but suddenly they’ve got two other guests staying long-term. They’re adding wear and tear to the property and creating additional liability for you as the landlord.
Guest clauses provide specific and clear restrictions and rules on guests entering and staying on your properties. It’s reasonable to limit guests to short stints (anywhere from a few days to two weeks) and require additional payment if any guests stay longer than a week or two at the property.
You also may want to consider requiring identification for guests who will be staying for more than a few days. Not only do you protect yourself from additional wear and tear and liability but you protect the guests by knowing who is permitted to come in and out of the property.
Include language that puts liability for the damage and injuries of a guest on the tenant themselves.
- Appliance Repair or Replacement Guarantees (or Lack Thereof)
Many tenants enter a space and believe everything within it is guaranteed to either work or be replaced. As a landlord, this means you are on the hook for repairing every single issue with an appliance that comes in.
Is this something you are able to afford and want to be doing? Some landlords include lease clauses that stipulate which specific appliances are guaranteed and which are the tenant’s responsibility should the appliance need to be replaced.
- Dispute Resolution
Some tenants raise legal issues with landlords. It happens, and you need protection. Arbitration clauses in rental agreements prevent those disputes from going into an ugly legal battle and instead provide a simple dispute resolution process with tenants.
If you are dealing with a difficult tenant and need legal help to manage the situation or simply need help updating your rental contracts, contact Atlas Law today for a landlord’s advocate.