Renting your home can be profitable if you find the right tenants and have a solid lease agreement. Your intention may be to sell your house when it appreciates or to make a regular income from the rent payments. You can purchase a standard lease agreement from an office supply store or landlord association in your area. Alternatively, a real estate attorney or property manager can provide you with a lease. Regardless of how you obtain the document or if you write one yourself, make sure that it contains all of the details necessary for your tenant to know when occupying your property.
Even though you are renting your private residence, you must abide by state law when including clauses in your lease. Each state has its own legislation regulating certain areas of landlord-tenant agreements. In addition, your city also may institute laws by which you must abide when entering into a contract with a renter. Legal requirements can be imposed on important lease provisions, such as security deposit limits, overdue rent penalties, access to the property and the financial accounting of charges after the tenant moves out.
Your lease must state the monthly rent and the date it's due, security deposit amount, charges for late payment and the start and end dates of occupancy. If your house is included in a homeowner's association, specify if the tenants have amenity privileges and use of the playgrounds, pools, clubhouse and walking trails, for example. Give the maximum length of time, such as 14 days, that adult visitors may live in the unit, after which they must be added to the lease. Explain that any illegal behavior or breach of a lease clause may result in eviction.
A lease may contain a variety of additional forms, depending on your situation. A pet addendum details fees and requirements for allowing a domesticated animal on the property. When you rent your home, your hazard insurance policy usually covers only the structure of the house and not the belongings inside. The renters are responsible for insuring their personal property. Explain this in an addendum to the lease, signed by the tenants to ensure they understand their responsibility for coverage. In addition, a form that specifies the condition of the property at the time the tenants moved in should be completed and compared to any noted damage upon move out.
When you and the tenant sign the residential lease agreement, it should be as complete as possible, including all clauses and terms that are relevant to the property. You can change the lease during the term, but your renters must be in agreement by signing a revised form. Once your lease expires, you can make changes and ask the tenants to agree to them before the new terms takes effect.
- LandlordTenantLawfirms.com: How State Law Affects Your Lease or Rental Agreement
- Nolo: Typical Provisions in Leases and Rental Agreements
- RentProv.com: Pet Addendum
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners: What You Need To Know About Renter’s Insurance
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Appendix 5: Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Form
- Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.: My Landlord Wants to Change Our Agreement
Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.