“Why Have a Written House Rental Agreement” written by Mike Marko
Have you ever wondered why it’s needed to have a house rental agreement?
When you’re dealing with rental properties, disregarding if you’re the owner or the lessee, it would be helpful to have legal documents.
These legal papers will help to present legalities and understandings about rental properties between the property owner and the lessee.
You should also understand that this legal document can be really beneficial to your end as well as to your tenant’s.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with your facts and ideas to enlighten you why having a house rental agreement is a must.
The Importance of a House Rental Agreement
A legal contract can provide and present a proper settlement between the owner and the tenants. A contract also makes it easy to determine who’s at fault and who’s responsible for the rental of the property.
Having one will give you the benefit of a worry-free arrangement when it comes to dealing with rental properties.
Whether going into further details or by simply giving a quick overview, you should consider having a written house rental agreement.
So, let’s proceed and see why it’s a must to have a house rental agreement.
What is a House Rental Agreement?
The rental house agreement is a contract between the lessee and lessor. This agreement mentions the terms, responsibilities, and duties of any and all parties during the rental of a property.
This also serves as a short-term rental contract that’s on a month-to-month agreement basis. Since it’s a short-term agreement for the rental of a property, it can be negotiated. This can be changed by the property manager and the tenant after the 30-day period expires, subject to relevant rent control laws.
A short-term rental agreement is good for properties with a target market of students and professionals. Those who often move around and are seeking short-term rentals over long term rentals.
Why Are Rental Agreements Necessary?
A rental agreement is a legal document that’s used to settle all disputes during the rental of the property. Since it’s a negotiated document, it serves as a record of vital things the property manager and tenant have agreed to.
This gives you the opportunity to set some clear…
- Define terms,
- Responsibilities, and
- Regulations between you and the tenant.
Terms Included in a House Rental Agreement
House rental agreement includes the basics and specific rules property managers and tenants agree to follow in their rental relationship.
These terms may also give you and your tenants the ideas of what things you should do or should not do.
Landlord/Property Manager Terms and Responsibilities
In this section of the agreement, it details in the terms that focus on the landlords.
Commonly, it’ll be stated here that the landlord will make all necessary repairs and take all necessary action to keep the property fit to live in.
List of Property Defects
To avoid any misunderstandings at the vacancy of the rental, it’s best to do
a walkthrough of the property with the new tenant.
It’s also suggested to list down any damages or needed repairs prior to the new tenant taking possession of the property.
Include all defects and needed repairs in the property and attach to contract. Give copies to all parties to the agreement.
Complete the pre-rental walkthrough to avoid any misunderstandings, repairs, and defects. It should be dated by both tenant and landlord.
Privacy and Security Details
This not only guarantees tenant privacy while renting the property but also details rights to enter the property by the landlord or the property manager.
Following local and state rental laws, the property manager has the right to enter the property but only for emergency purposes.
However, they may enter the house only after advance notice.
Terms could allow tenants to install an extra lock on any entrance door to the house. Commonly, the rental agreement requires the tenant to give property manager copies of new key locks to hold at the rental office.
Return of Security Deposit
The security deposit is collected by the landlord as a sort of insurance. This is made if the tenant vacates the rental and there are damages that they’re responsible for the building.
The deposit will be used to repair the property and put it back to its pre-rental status.
Property managers will return security deposits if the house is in good condition. You can also return a security deposit if the tenant doesn’t owe any back rent or service fees listed in the terms of the agreement.
Also, the property manager should return the deposit no more than 30 days after the tenant has vacated the rental.
Utilities and Other Services
The agreement has to include whether the landlord will cover payment for other services. Samples of services are garbage collection, electrical bills, water bills etc..
These are part of the rent payments made from the tenant or if the tenant will be responsible for these utility payments.
When the landlord pays for and takes care of utilities such as electricity, water, Wi-Fi, etc., the property manager, as the middleman, has the right to have a complete copy of all utility bills
The Disadvantages of Unwritten Agreements
It’s not suggested to rent a property using a verbal rental agreement. This has many disadvantages over a written rental agreement.
There’s no written record of what was agreed on. Many possible arguments about the tenancy terms and responsibilities during the tenancy could arise.
Property managers and landlords may lose the power to use an accelerated eviction process. This is because the tenant can claim to courts that they didn’t understand all of the termination or eviction clauses.
Worse, they might use it and say they were unwritten. Claiming that they were never discussed or agreed to.
Using unwritten agreements may leave disputes that have to be decided by the courts. From there, they will decide who to believe when ruling on a rental case.
If there’s no written agreement regarding the date of move in or termination of the contract, the tenant could claim rental was for long-term instead of month to month.
Property managers will be unable to make deductions from tenancy deposits to cover any damages incurred by tenants. It’s because there’s lack of evidence that the tenant agreed to these deductions.
The Advantages of Written Agreements
Having written agreements are indeed useful to both parties; the property manager and the tenant.
Written agreements with both parties’ signatures that agrees to all terms of the agreement can give a definite and permanent record.
Also, the agreement states the tenant’s and the landlord’s obligations. This can be easily referenced when settling a dispute between the two parties to the contract.
If needed, the rental courts can review a written agreement and determine responsibilities from that agreement. That way, they can settle any dispute that could arise.
Another good thing is those written agreements can be adjusted with both tenant’s and property manager’s consent. This can be easily used as a basis for a long-term rental lease agreement. This is because the terms and responsibilities are determined and agreed to.
This also gives the landlord the flexibility to charge different prices depending on the season. Depending on what was negotiated into the agreement and terms of the contract.
This has a set move–in and expiration date for the contract.
Rents, deposit, and other terms regarding rents and penalties are detailed and agreed to by both parties by signing the agreement.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of a Written House Rental Agreement
In this blog post, we discussed the main points as to why it’s important to have a written house rental agreement.
Having an agreement provides ease for both parties. The agreement will also serve as a reference in case of any disputes in the future.
A house rental agreement will help both parties achieve clear agreement and negotiations regarding rental properties.
If you have questions about a house rental agreement, feel free to leave it below.
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