“Essential Provisions In A Lease Template” written by Mike Marko
So you want to know how to make a simple lease template agreement.
A lease template is a document that you can use as the skeleton for all your lease agreements. It’s reusable and tweakable — and immensely useful for landlords.
Take note that your lease template may be computerized, typewritten, or handwritten… as long as it contains all the prerequisites of a proper lease agreement.
Today, I’ll take you through those prerequisites. In this article, you’ll learn about all of the things you may need to put in your lease template.
Important Terms to Include in a Lease Agreement
The best kind of lease template is one that has most of the possible lease agreement terms and clauses in it from the start.
That’s because it’s easier to cut away than to add when preparing a lease agreement. In other words, it’s more convenient for you as the landlord.
But of course, you may not know what terms and clauses go into a lease template. In fact, I’m guessing that’s what brought you to this article.
Fortunately for you, we’ll go over them here, as I said.
In this article, we will unpack the most important terms to be included in a lease contract.
1) Names and Addresses of Tenants and Landlord
It is important that the lease template agreement includes your complete name.
At the same time, it should include a space for the complete name of the main tenant.
In addition to that, space for the names of all the adults who will occupy the premises should be included in the lease template.
This will ensure that you can fill in those spaces later on with the names of all adults involved in the lease.
These adults are liable for the duties of the tenant as defined in the lease contract. That also includes the payment for the leased property.
Moreover, doing that makes you able to end or terminate the contract if any of these tenants violate the contract.
The Lessor, the Lessee, and the Parties
The landlord may be referred to as the “Lessor” and the tenant as the “Lessee”.
Both the landlord and tenant may be called the “Parties” to the agreement. Both of them should sign the lease template after you’ve finalized it as a lease contract form.
If there is a property manager who is authorized to receive legal papers, his or her name should be included. Remember that when drafting your lease template.
2) Address and Details of the Lease Property
The lease property address is called “The Premises”. It’s always specified in a proper lease template.
The lease template agreement may include details on parking space, storage places, and furnishings.
Aside from those, there may also be other supplements to the leased property that should also be mentioned in the contract details.
3) Term or Length of the Lease
The lease template should include the start and the ending date of the lease.
If not, the lease is understood to run continuously (and into perpetuity) unless either of the parties to the agreement terminates the contract.
Lease terms often run for one year, but it is still the choice of the landlord that should prevail.
Note that the termination of the contract should also be considered. In other words, the lease template should also specify how and when the contract may be terminated.
4) Lease Payment and Charges
Justifiable amount and forms of payment should be specified in the lease template.
There should also be a note on any applicable late fees. Be sure to specify when and where both lease payments and fees are due.
5) Fees and Deposits
There should be an amount allotted for security deposits and cleaning fees. The agreement related to these fees should be specific.
If not, if will bring a controversial issue between you and the tenant.
Thus, take care to include details on this in your lease template.
Preparing it in advance using a lease template also lets you check the figures you’re charging. Are they reasonable or sufficient for your purposes?
Returning the Security Deposit
Most states have laws on security deposits. They usually require landlords to return it to the tenant after 14 days of moving out from the property.
Check the rental laws in your area for this. Afterward, specify the laws that apply to you in the lease template.
How the Deposit Will Be Used and Returned
The agreement should not only include the deposit amount, but also how the deposit will be used and returned.
This is important because it specifies actions you’re permitted to take relating to the security deposit. It shows the tenant how his deposit may be used (or held safe).
Furthermore, it reassures him that he can get his deposit back once the lease is up. It’s a basic guarantee for most landlord-tenant contracts.
Types of Fees to Get from the Security Deposit
The lease template agreement should also cover the types of fees that may be subtracted from the security deposit.
It is also a must that you check the laws with regard to security deposits for this. You don’t want to accidentally include an illegal clause in your lease deposit.
6) Utility Expenses
The landlord should specify who will pay for what utilities.
Generally, landlords pay for water and garbage fees and tenants pay for other services like electricity and gas.
7) Condition of the Lease Unit
There should be a clause in the lease template wherein the tenant agrees that the property is in a livable condition.
The tenant should promise to inform the landlord of any malfunctioning facilities inside the unit.
8) Maintenance and Repair Responsibilities
The lease template should state who is responsible for keeping the premises in good condition.
Generally, maintenance duties are split between landlords and tenants.
Don’t leave anything up to interpretation, though — go ahead and specify who’s responsible for what in your lease template.
Both you and the tenant should have maintenance duty under the lease agreement. This should be clearly established in the contract.
Here are some further tips on maintenance and repair clauses:
- The cost of repair for the damage caused by neglect or abuse should be shouldered by the tenant.
- The responsibility of fixing clogged drainage, broken cabinets, and the like should be given to the tenant.
- Tenants should not do any repairs in the unit without the landlord’s permission.
9) The Landlord’s Access to the Unit
There should be a clause in the contract that says when and how landlords may go into the premises.
There are access laws that specify entry to the premises, especially in emergencies. You may want to refer to those when drafting this part of your lease template.
You should also specify in the lease template agreement the conditions under which you can enter the leased property.
This will help reassure tenants that you can’t simply barge into the premises at any time.
10) Landlord’s Right to Enter the Unit during Tenant’s Absence
It should be in the agreement to require tenants to notify landlords if the former will be away for days.
This is often included in lease contracts because it helps landlords keep an eye on the property.
That way, they’ll know immediately if there are intruders in the property or something’s amiss.
Most lease template agreements also give landlords the right to inspect damage during a tenant’s absence.
That’s because it would be most convenient to do such inspections when tenants aren’t underfoot.
11) Prohibiting Tenants’ Unpleasant Behavior
There should be a clause in a lease template that forbids tenants to do troublesome acts in the premises.
What “troublesome acts” means is up to you, of course. But to give you an idea of how other landlords interpret it, here are some common clauses related to that.
Violation of Laws and Ordinances
Most landlords have clauses that prohibit a tenant to use the premises in a way that violates any law or ordinance.
For example, there’s typically a provision within the contract for the use, sale or possession of illegal drugs.
Disturbing Other Tenants
Finally, there should be a clause that tells tenants that they are not allowed to disturb other tenants.
An example of this is making a loud noise during nighttime. It may even extend to prohibitions on activities like smoking, as they can affect others’ quality of life.
12) Limits on the Number of Occupants
Landlords may decide as to the number of occupants they can accept. But they cannot set an unreasonable number of people to occupy a unit.
In fact, the law even has something to say on this topic. Federal law has a requirement to allow two persons to stay in a bedroom (see the Federal Fair Housing Act).
It’s difficult for a landlord to justify a lower number, so keep that in mind when writing your lease template.
13) General Restrictions Set by Landlords
Landlords can set any kind of restriction they want to implement in a lease template… as long as it is not violating the state law.
Rules and regulations may be set in individual clauses in the lease template. Examples of these are no bikes in the hallway and no plants on hardwood floors, among others.
14) Restrictions on the Types of Pets Allowed
Landlords can restrict the types of pets allowed. They have the right to refuse all pets too.
If all pets are not allowed, that should be clearly stated in the lease template agreement.
But if some types of pets are allowed, such restrictions should also be clearly stated.
For example, landlords should state rules like keeping the yard free of animal feces and having dogs always on a leash.
However, as provided by the Fair Housing laws, landlords may not disallow service animals owned by disabled tenants.
15) Prohibiting Home Businesses
Landlords may refuse business from home. However, they should specify in the contract that the unit is for residential purposes only if this is the case.
The reason for disallowing home businesses is liability exposure if one of the customers is injured on the premises.
Furthermore, if a tenant runs a business from home, it could contribute to traffic on the premises.
That may lead to a host of other problems, like excessive noise as well as increased wear and tear on floors and doors.
This is your choice, though, so think about it before you put it in your lease template.
16) No Sublet or Assignments without Permission
Most landlords do not allow tenants to turn over their property to another or let someone live there while the tenant is away.
This is called a prohibition against subletting. If this applies to your property, be sure you put it in the lease template.
17) Limits on Overnight Guest Stays
Landlords may limit the stay of tenants’ guests in a lease template. If you do, specify the exact maximum length of time guests may stay in the property.
You may also want to note that you may accept and approve written requests for longer stays.
This guarantees you control over the property’s occupants while ensuring flexibility for them.
Final Thoughts on Essential Provisions in a Lease Template
In making a lease template, make sure that it includes all the necessary terms for a healthy and lawful lease contract.
Also avoid including clauses that may lead both parties to have a disagreement later on.
Moreover, avoid inserting clauses that may be considered void under law or state decree.
Here are the other things to consider when drafting a lease template, again:
- Names of all parties to the contract.
- The details of the property being leased.
- The terms and length of the lease itself.
- All applicable payments, charges, fees, and deposits.
- Notes about the property’s condition and maintenance and repair terms for it.
- Terms regarding the landlord’s access to the unit once it has been leased.
- Prohibitions on tenants’ behavior.
- Restrictions on the number of occupants to a property.
- Restrictions on pets and business.
- Conditions or prohibitions on subletting.
- Restriction on guests’ stays.
Consider addressing all of these when you draw up your lease template. Should you have more questions about making a lease template, leave it in the comments below!
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