If you’ve decided to rent out your property there are a number of channels that you can go down to make sure that both you and your tenant are protected. Your tenant will have most likely have looked through a number of houses for rent and they will have looked into some key areas for their peace of mind. They will want to be sure that all the relevant testing for the property and the lease agreement is of a good standard and adheres to all relevant rules and regulations. If you are the type of person that wants to take on all aspects of letting out your property yourself, then it is important that you make sure that all these aspects are covered in your lease agreement.
If an estate agent or letting agent has taken on board the letting of your property this will usually have taken care of this aspect. If however, you have decided to let out your property yourself without the help if any professionals then you will need to ensure that you have this included in the lease. Typically meth testing comes at the beginning or end of a lease, if suspected, so having a caveat about your right to test is important.
- Writing the Lease
If you are renting out your property the lease document between yourself and your tenant needs to cover the basic aspects that the tenant is responsible for and vice versa. It should outline the duties of each party so that you both understand what is required of each other. Having a well written lease is vital to prevent future problems which may otherwise occur.
Across the world there are a number of sites that will offer you a free template which will provide you a guide of how to correctly write a lease document. A lot of local governments have standardised documents which you can copy.
- Document Title
It is important to get the right title for your document. Having a title such as ‘lease’ would be okay but titles such as ‘lease agreement’ or ‘rental agreement’ are a better choice. This title chosen makes it much clearer as to what the document is about.
It is important to have a number of headings on your documents in order for it to be clear. Headings such as ‘term’, ‘rent’ and ‘property’ are all examples of titles that you could use. You can also even include a subsection which outlines the tenant’s responsibilities and the landlord’s responsibilities. Be sure to bold the titles so that they stand out and are clear.
On your document it is worth having a key which defines the document. A good example of this is to describe the word ‘rent’ so that it is explicit what is meant by rent.
Once the document has been completed don’t forget to leave a section for any signatures. The main signatures that will be needed are the tenant’s signature and the landlord signature.
- Checking the Law
This may sound like an obvious point but making sure that you adhere to all the local laws is crucial. If you innocently violate the law, you may invalidate your lease. The lease also needs to state the amount of rent that you will be charging and the frequency in which you will be charged. It is also important to advise the tenant of any other charges that may occur. Finally, don’t forget to state the length of the lease.
- Other aspects to include
On the lease you need to state where the rental property is located and if there are any other areas of responsibility. For example, any gardens or out buildings.
- The occupants
As the landlord, you’ll need to be aware of who is renting your property. You can list the names of any tenants on your lease. This will protect you if for example the tenant does not pay the rent.
- Agreeing on the rental length
As briefly mentioned above, the lease should contain a set time of how long the property will be leased for. Typically, a lease agreement is between six months and a year. That said, a short lease agreement can be possible too. You might want to add in a section on what would happen to the tenant if you put up the property for sale as well.
- Rent due date
The date that the rent is due to be paid can be added onto a lease agreement. Somewhere in the lease you also need to state any deposits that have been paid, and who they’ve been lodged with.
As part of a lease agreement it is a good idea to incorporate a section on the domesticated bills. State what the tenant is responsible for and make sure that you take accurate readings of any meters at the house before the tenant moves in to the property.
The deposit that the tenant pays should be documented, as mentioned above. A deposit is necessary in order to protect you from any damage that may occur to your property or your belongings within property whilst being rented. The deposit needs to be kept safe for when your tenants leaves so that you can return what is owed to them.
- Late Payments
On a lease agreement you need to outline the procedures for any late payments. This will help you should you ever need to terminate a lease agreement.
- The completed lease
Once your lease has been written and signed, your tenants are free to move in. Get your tenants to contact their moving company or shipping container house so that you can organise the start date of the agreement. It is worth discussing this with your tenants as some tenants like to have the house available a few days before they are ready to move their belongings in to it.
Writing a lease does not need to be daunting as long as it’s kept simple and all of the above steps are incorporated. The agreement is not there to catch anyone out, it acts as a legal guide to ensure that all parties are aware of what is expected of them, and protect both you and your tenants for the future.