Whether you are the homeowner or the property manager, be sure all the important facts are in the lease agreement before discussing it with the prospective tenant. With the proper documentation in the lease, expectations will be clear to all parties involved and will go a long way towards a peaceful property management experience. Here are a few of the of the most contentious issues:
1. “What are the terms of the lease and what money do I have to pay and why?” The lease terms should be clearly outlined and reviewed with the would-be tenant. Include the list of application fees, length of the lease, amount of monthly rent (and how and when it is expected to be paid!), security deposit, and other monthly add-ons. The add-ons might include ACH or direct pay fees, late fees, pet application and management fees and any other monetary amounts that could be imposed such as property damage assessment…let there be no surprises!
2. “Are pets allowed?” Homeowner decisions concerning whether pets will be allowed in the rental and fees that apply to those pets should be part of the lease agreement. Renters should be made aware of pet rules, what happens if the pets cause damage or if a pet is adopted during the lease.
3. “Can changes be made to the property? Can we put nails and hooks in the walls? Can we paint?” Obviously, the homeowner will be concerned about damage to walls and ceilings and the amount of repainting to be done. But decorating is to be expected as tenants make the rental ‘home’. Tenants should be given guidelines for allowable changes and the expected repairs to be completed prior to their move from the rental.
4. “Will I have to cut the grass and weed the natural areas?” Responsibility for lawn maintenance has to be decided before the lease is signed and details included in the lease. Neighborhood HOA’s have different expectations and requirements and will enforce rules that will still be the homeowners’ responsibility but will either fall to the tenant or homeowner to maintain. Homeowners may decide to provide lawn service to make sure the neighborhood is happy. This is still an important issue without HOA concerns.
5. “What if something breaks? Who is responsible for the repair?” There is a gray area here, but a discussion about types of repairs will help to decrease it. A homeowner expects to have normal maintenance and upkeep on their properties to maintain their market value and to keep them rent ready. Renters should be aware that incidental damage is their responsibility. Make sure tenants have contact information for emergencies and repairs. They should also be aware that rental property inspections are a part of most lease agreements.
6. “Will access to the pool, tennis courts, common areas and golf course be part of the lease?” HOA covenants may address whether renters can access neighborhood amenities and if additional fees are required. This information may require a little research or a few phone calls by the property owner to make sure they are not violating covenantal rules. Details of what amenities are to be available to the tenant should be discussed and documented prior to signing a lease.
Real Property Management has over 25 years of experience in guiding prospective tenants through the details of lease agreements. We are eager to work with homeowners to get their properties rented to qualified, informed tenants. Call us today.
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