“Things That Go Into A Blank Rental Agreement” written by Mike Marko
Wondering what to put in your blank rental agreement?
Starting with a template of a standard rental agreement might be good for you. However, not all of these templates include all the essential terms that must be in a contract of this type.
They also can’t account for particularities that may be found in your situation. In fact, because they’re designed for standard usage, they tend to be pretty low on detail.
That’s why it’s better to make your own rental agreement instead. That way, you can create a specific and suitable agreement based on your terms.
Creating a blank rental agreement may be difficult for you if you’ve never done it before, however.
That’s why today, we’ll talk about the terms that you have to use when creating your own blank rental agreement.
What to Include in a Blank Rental Agreement
Your blank rental agreement should not be taken lightly.
A rental agreement may seem like an unimportant piece of paper. But having a rental agreement will provide you legal protection in a lot of situations you’ll run into as a property manager.
Before discussing everything else, let’s first understand what a blank rental agreement is.
What Is a Blank Rental Agreement?
A rental agreement is considered the basis of the tenant-landlord relationship. It differs from a lease agreement in that it’s a month-to-month agreement.
What does that mean?
It means a rental agreement expires and renews each month upon agreement of the parties involved. You and your tenant can alter the terms of the agreement at the end of each month.
For example, if you’re a property manager, you have an option to increase the rental amount. You can also ask the tenant to leave the premises at the end of the rental period.
These things are all subject to the specific terms you and your tenant have agreed upon, though.
For example, some rental agreements actually specify the maximum rental fee increase a landlord can impose.
Others have a clause forbidding rental fee increases in the absence of certain factors or conditions.
When making one of these contracts, property managers typically start with a blank rental agreement. This is a bare bones rental contract that property managers fill out with details and conditions pertinent to their situation.
In other words, a blank rental agreement is a contract skeleton that property managers flesh out according to their needs.
Terms to Include in Your Blank Rental Agreement
So now let’s talk about the components you should use to flesh out your blank rental agreement.
I’ve listed below the basic properties every blank rental agreement needs to include. Depending on your needs, you may to add one or two more details than what I’ve already enumerated here.
Still, these should cover what most people need in a rental contract, so start with them.
Every agreement needs to have the names of all parties involved. Don’t forget to include the names of all the other adult tenants who will be living on your rental property as well.
All the adults will be responsible for the obligations of the tenants outlined in the agreement.
These include the full amount of the rent and the proper use of the property. They are also responsible if any of the tenants violate your terms.
If minors are involved, make sure to specify in your blank rental agreement that the adults with them (or the adults acting as their co-signers) are legally responsible for seeing that the contract is observed.
Length of Tenancy
Since a rental agreement only provides for tenancy of a short period, it has to be renewed after each X-day period has elapsed. The X can stand for a lot of numbers, but generally, property managers set it at 30.
That would mean the rental agreement must be renewed every 30 days.
Some rental agreements are auto-renewing. That means unless one party declares otherwise within a given period before or after the tenancy’s end date, the contract is understood as renewed for another 30 days.
You should also address termination options here. You should have clear rules and warnings on when and how it is acceptable to terminate a contract.
Spelling out when the rent payments are due and how the payments should be paid is important.
Include what payment methods are acceptable. Examples are personal checks or direct payments.
If it’s a personal check, then you should be able to include whether there will be additional charges to your tenant.
You should also state in your blank rental agreement your terms of late rent (payment penalty) and the grace period allowed. To be safe, you should be able to specify the day of the month that rental payments should be made.
Limits on Occupancy and Subleasing
Your agreement should specify that only those whose names are in the agreement are allowed in your unit. Those who are going to live in your property are those people whom you were able to screen and approve.
If a tenant moves in with a friend or a relative without your permission, then it’s grounds for eviction.
Another issue that you’ll have to deal with is subleasing.
Your tenant may wish to sublet your unit to someone else. Most property managers don’t allow subleasing. To avoid trouble, make sure to state in your blank rental agreement that subleasing is subject to your approval.
Security Deposits and Fees
Security deposits vary in different state laws. They can be very problematic if not handled appropriately.
Security deposits are a common source of disputes between the property manager and the tenant. That is why you must be very specific with the security deposits.
Include the exact amount of the deposit and how is it going to be used. Will it be used to cover the damages done to your property? Or maybe used for repairs?
Also, state in your blank rental agreement when and how the deposit will be returned.
Some states require that an agreement should include details on where the security deposit is being held. Any other fees that you want to deduct from the security deposit must be addressed.
Repairs and Maintenance
With regards to the condition of your property, you should specify whose obligation it is to maintain the premises. Is it going to be yours or your tenant’s?
If you want the tenant to be the one responsible for the maintenance, then it should be clearly set out in the terms. Usually, it’s your tenant’s responsibility to maintain cleanliness of the premises.
You can also state in your blank rental agreement if you want your tenants to be the ones responsible for any repairs.
If the damage wasn’t caused by the renter, then you are the one responsible for the repair. Examples of such damage include electrical problems, a leaking roof, internal piping problems, etc.
Also, state in your blank rental agreement that you’re obliging your tenants to inform you before they can make modifications to your property.
Right of Entry
Make sure to add a term in the agreement that specifies the conditions in which you are allowed to enter the rental property.
That is because you can’t just barge into your property even though it’s yours. You might get claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy rights.
Make sure to include the required notice prior to entry.
Most of the time, there are state laws that have provisions with regards to a property manager’s right of entry. That is why you have to make sure you confirm the legal requirements in your blank rental agreement.
Disruptive Behavior and Illegal Activities
Every property manager has his own set of rules with regards to activities allowed in the properties.
You must be able to state in your blank rental agreement what activities are allowed and considered legal. One example of activity that you surely wouldn’t allow is drug dealing.
Disruptive behaviors should also be dealt with.
Include in your agreement what behaviors are considered as unacceptable. Examples of these include excessive noise and smoking within the premises.
You must be very specific and state that if your tenants won’t comply with your terms, then that will be grounds for terminating the agreement.
Damage/Alteration to Premises
Damage to property is something every property manager should anticipate. You should be able to state in your blank rental agreement who is responsible for damage done to your property.
Aside from that, you should also consider describing what alterations to your property are allowed in your blank rental agreement. These include changing of door locks, painting walls, installing alarm systems etc.
Other Things to Consider in Your Blank Rental Agreement
Aside from the essential terms that should be in a blank rental agreement, there are other things that you need to consider as well.
As mentioned above, a rental agreement is different from a lease agreement in so many ways. When it comes to documentation, the two agreements are also quite different.
Rental Agreement Needs to Be in Written Form
A lease agreement needs to be in written form. In contrast, you can enter into a rental agreement verbally with your tenant.
But it’s better to have it written, especially if you are requiring a security deposit.
A Rental Agreement Doesn’t Have to Be Notarized
A lease agreement needs to be notarized by a notary public. However, your rental agreement doesn’t have to be notarized.
Also, it doesn’t need to be recorded in the real property records department. It’s still considered valid and enforceable, even though it’s not recorded.
Other Fees That Can Be Charged to the Tenant
Aside from the security deposit and the rental fee, you may also state in your blank rental agreement that you can collect other fees. These include:
- Screening fee
- Damage deposit
- Cleaning fee
- Application or holding fee
Final Thoughts on What to Include in a Blank Rental Agreement
The rental agreement is considered the basis of a good relationship between a property manager and a tenant.
An agreement may seem to be unimportant. But having a rental agreement with the essential terms will provide you legal protection. These essential terms are:
- Length of tenancy
- Deposits and fees
- Repairs and maintenance
- Right of entry
- Allowed Activities
A rental agreement is better if it is in written form, which is why knowing how to fill out a blank rental agreement is important. But remember, it doesn’t have to be notarized and recorded in property records department.
Remember to have a solid rental agreement to prevent any serious trouble in the future. You should be able to provide a contract that is completed, agreed and signed by all parties.
If you have any questions about what else to put in your blank rental agreement, use the comment section below. Don’t forget to like and share this post.
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