Should you use an office supply lease or an Attorney written lease?
Many landlords, even property managers use standardized leases sold at the local office supply store or provided by their local Realtor Association. These are a cheap way to get a lease for your rental property, but we have found they do not provide much protection for landlords, in fact most of them are pro-tenant.
So what is the difference between a pro tenant and pro landlord lease? Is one more unfair to one party than the other? Well it depends how you look at it; from a property manager and landlord perspective, the landlord takes a lot of risk on when renting out their property and therefore we try to protect them as much as possible while being fair to the tenant.
Our leases are prepared individually by a landlord attorney, who regularly updates their leases based on current landlord tenant laws. There are several protections in a pro landlord lease, starting off with:
Late fee clause: Most late fees are not included as additional rent in standard leases, so our attorney includes those and therefore they are much easier to collect.
Risk of Loss clause: If a pipe bursts, or a contractor performs poor work then most leases do not protect the landlord or the agent against claims due to any damages due to those causes; our attorney includes a clause to limit liability and recommend the tenant obtain renters insurance to cover any such instances.
Maintenance: This should be a very important clause in your agreement. We want to make sure that each property is well maintained, up to code, and move in ready, but you need to have a clause in you lease that prevents frivolous claims every time there is a lightbulb, smoke alarm battery, or a/c filter that needs changing. Also if the tenant blocks the toilet you need to make sure that the tenant is responsible for that cost.
Vacating and Renewal: Make sure your lease dictates what the tenant needs to do at the end of the lease? We require a 60 day notice in order to renew the lease plus we send out a notice around huge 75 day mark to give them options, we offer them a renewal rate based on the current market value, and our company policy is not to do month to month leases so the rate doubles if they want to stay month to month, or they opt to non renew. If the tenant intends to move we supply a tenant handbook which has a list of move out instructions which helps the tenant hand the property back in good condition so they can get their security deposit back in full. If they don’t follow that list then we have to do it for them and put a claim against their deposit. We discuss the deposit claim process in another video.
Right of Entry Clause: Most standard leases require the landlord give notice to the tenant in order to make repairs. Sometimes that notice is written as 24 hours. In Florida the legally required notice is only 12 hours so make sure you have the minimum notice listed; and that you can access the property for other things such as showings for re rental, sale, appraisals, inspections, etc. You don’t want to bother your tenant by popping in for an inspection every other month, but you want to make sure you are allowed access whenever needed.
Mold Addendum: Our attorney feels that it is necessary to include a mold addendum in the lease, and living in a climate that mold can form easily it is a good idea. This outlines to the tenants ways to help prevent mold such as keeping the air conditioning system running in order to dehumidify the air, check for leaks, use exhaust fans in bathrooms, and use household cleaners like Lysol or bleach to clean caulk and tile in bathrooms. This addendum also says that if a health hazard is suspected then the landlord can break the lease.
There are many other addenda you can use, including ones for pets, drugs and crime, boats, ongoing construction, and a lot more. If you are worried about a specific issue contact us so we can find an answer to your questions.
Contact us online at http://www.wemanageorlando.com.
Orlando Property Management and Real Estate.