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lease terms

Did you know that the number of people renting a home has increased to the highest it has been since the 1960s? The rental market is booming, and landlords are getting top dollar in many markets.

Before you rent your property, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid lease drawn up.

Any good lease agreement should protect both the landlord and the tenant. There are certain things that your lease must include to protect both parties. Keep reading here for five lease terms that you can’t forget.

5 Important Lease Terms to Include

The devil is in the details. As a landlord, you have to think of every situation that could possibly happen and plan for that in the lease. A lengthy lease that spells out everything, including renters’ rights, is much better than a shorter one that leaves many things up in the air.

Here are five things that you should not leave out of your lease.

1. Parties to the Lease and Occupancy Limits

The lease should contain the names of every adult who lives in the property. This ensures that all residents are legally responsible for all terms of the lease. This gives you grounds to evict a tenant who allows roommates who are not on the lease to move in.

Occupancy limits should also be included because you don’t want six people living in a home meant for four. This causes extra wear and tear on your property and could put you in violation of other rules, such as HOA requirements, if your property is part of a condo or town-home complex.

There are also rules surrounding occupancy requirements that differ by state. Make sure your lease complies.

2. The Term of the Lease

The lease should specify exactly when the lease begins and when it ends. There should also be information on what is required when a tenant is going to move out.

Does he or she need to provide notice in writing that they will not be renewing the lease? If they do not provide this, does the lease automatically renew? This should all be spelled out in the lease.

3. Subleasing

What if your tenant wants to sublease the property to another person? Is that allowed? What kind of requirements are there? If you do a background check on your tenants, you might want to do the same for a subleaser.

4. Who Is Responsible for Utilities and Repairs

There should be no question as to who pays for utilities, lawn maintenance, snow removal (if necessary), and other repairs. If the tenant is to make routine repairs like replacing light bulbs, unclogging drains, etc., that should be specified.

5. What Happens if the Lease Is Broken

If the tenant or landlord needs to break the lease for any reason, how will that work? What kind of notice do you have to give? How much rent will the tenant owe?

If the landlord needs to break the lease, what will be provided to the tenant? Things happen that necessitate breaking of leases, so protecting all involved is important.

The Bottom Line

Being a landlord can be a lucrative and rewarding endeavor. As long as you ensure your lease contains these must-have lease terms, the process will likely go smoothly.

If you have an interest in learning more about property management and our real estate resources, explore some of our other blog posts and resources.

bad landlords

Depending on who you ask, landlords are either contributing to the positive social fabric of a neighborhood or they are social parasites. While it’s not fair to demonize all landlords, many bad landlords have gotten away with crimes for decades without being held accountable. With the help of federal and local authorities, they are held responsible for problems at their properties.

Here are the three best ways to report bad landlords.

1. Try Information or 311

Depending on the severity of your complaint, you may just need to tell someone that your landlord is negligent. Landlords that leave trash around or don’t fix things that they’re supposed to can be reported to local or city authorities.

Often, information lines or 311 calls can ensure that your complaint gets logged and that the local authorities follow up. With the help of 311 or information, you can register a formal complaint and have the city back you up.

When reporting a landlord, authorities will sometimes ask for personal information. Most allow you to complain anonymously. If your landlord is violating a law and you know it, reporting via 311 anonymously can protect you from your landlord’s responses.

2. Seek Out Non-Profits

In most cities and states, there are non-profit tenants’ associations. There might even be one that covers your home that you don’t know about yet.

Go on to a search engine and type “(your city and state) housing association” or “tenants association”. You’ll come up with results that can help you solve the problems you’re dealing with.

Perhaps you don’t want to get the law involved yet. If this is the case, these associations can give you advice on how to report a bad landlord without taking things that far. Often a letter that’s signed by multiple tenants is enough.

If your landlord receives emails, these tenant associations can help you craft the perfect message.

3. Contact HUD

Many people who live in state- or city-controlled housing deal with landlord issues. Sometimes your bad landlord is the city and if this is the case, it can feel like there’s no way out.

Thankfully there is accountability within HUD and other housing authorities. IF you haven’t heard from your landlord or supervisor about a problem that needs to be fixed, contact the housing authority.

If your apartment is controlled by city or state laws or if you’re part of a housing program, you can probably be protected by HUD. A violation from HUD will send the fear of god into your landlord, which might be what it takes when you’re dealing with serious issues.

Bad Landlords Need Accountability

Without accountability, bad landlords get paid to provide unethical living conditions for people who can’t afford to own their home. An unethical landlord must be held accountable so that their tenants can live fairly in healthy and reasonable conditions. Thankfully, there are resources for people being abused by their landlords.

If you want to know more about your landlord, check out our guide for seeking a landlords credit report.

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