The lease signing is your real introduction to the tenant. This is your opportunity to set up the standards and outline what your expectations are during the time they live in your property. The lease is a legally binding contract. It is a formal contract between the tenant and the property owner, or a representative of the owner, outlining the terms and conditions for living at a rental property in exchange for rent. In order for a lease agreement to be valid, both parties must sign the contract. Both parties signing must be of legal age and competent to enter into an agreement. If your tenant is under the age of consent in your state, you will want to get the signature of a parent or legal guardian. The lease also explains what happens in a variety of situations, such as late payment, noise complaints or abandonment.
The lease should include:
- Description of the Property: The address, complete with a unit or apartment number.
- Length and Time Frame of the Lease: Beginning date and exact ending date.
- Renewal Terms: If you give your tenant the ability to renew, it should be stated specifically in the lease. It should also include information about the new rental rate for this period.
- Security Deposits and Rent Payments: be clear as to the amounts.
- Your Rights of Entry and Inspection: State your rights in the lease, including the notice you will give, to enter and inspect the property condition.
We suggest that after your application has been approved, you send a lease packet. Having a good lease packet will set the relationship right from the beginning. What is a lease packet? The packet explains the procedures for moving in or out of the house. It provides disclosure information and communicates the policies for the new tenants moving in. The packet includes specific instructions of what the tenant has to have done before they can get the keys and move in.
The lease packet should include the house guidelines, for example, noise, smoking and parking issues. It should also have pet rules & regulations. The lease packet is an introduction on how you are going to work with the tenant. You want to include how they do maintenance request. How they submit them to you and how you will handle them. The lease packet should also include a checklist of items that must be completed and turned in prior to moving in.
Some important things that the lease packet should include are:
- What do before move-in
- Outline of the total amount of money that needs to be paid: such as prorated rent, any additional fees, deposits, first month’s rent (how to pay it and what needs to be paid).
- Lead base paint disclosure: if your property was built before 1978 this needs to be signed and taken care of.
- Utilities confirmation: they need to confirm that the utilities are under their name. They can provide you with the documentation or you can call and confirm it yourself.
- Move in condition documentation: a document that will be signed that they agree to the move-in condition of the property.
- Pet documents.
A good lease packet will make you a process and follow it. It keeps expectations clear. Having a clear outline is a huge time saver and more importantly, keeps you with a professional relationship with your tenants. If you are looking for an experienced property management company don’t hesitate to call us. At House Match Property Management we offer professional services for your rental property.