The Rental Agreement
“You’ll sleep better with a good rental agreement in the file.”
A rental agreement is a CONTRACT and any attorney will tell you how very important a well written and correctly completed contract is to you, a rental property owner.
1. FIRST, GET ONE! – Like rental applications, you can get them online or from an office supply store.
2. READ IT! – If you can’t understand it, how will the renter? Look up the technical real estate terms in the agreement that you don’t understand so that you DO understand them and can explain them to the renter.
3. FILL IN ALL THE BLANKS – …and fill them in correctly so that what you have created makes sense. And for heaven’s sake, don’t leave anything blank… If it doesn’t apply, draw a line thru the blank.
4. SPELL EVERYTHING OUT – Ask yourself “If I died and the renter died and a judge was trying to understand the details of this rental agreement I am creating, would he be able to?” Keep it simple and spell everything out, in detail and in plain English.
5. HAVE THE RENTER READ AND SIGN THE AGREEMENT – Have them show you their photo ID so that you the person sitting before you IS the person named on the agreement. Have them read the agreement (do not read it to them), answer any questions that come up and then SIGN & DATE the agreement.
6. COLLECT THEIR DEPOSIT – Cashiers checks or money orders only please. Cash can be counterfeit and personal checks can be… well … less than good!
7. GIVE THEM A COPY – …and you keep one too!
8. AGREE ON A “MOVE-IN” DAY – Tell them what their pro-rated rent will be on the move-in day and what, if anything, they will need to bring on that day (proof of renter’s insurance, a balance due on their deposit, pro-rated rent for the rest of the month).
And finally, the LAST CLASS in the DO-IT-YOURSELF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT series:
PM – 105 The check-in