“Property Manager’s Guide to Writing a Sample Lease Agreement” written by Mike Marko
Are you aware of the steps to follow when it comes to writing a sample lease agreement for a residential property?
A sample lease agreement is handed to a potential tenant to inform him or her of what to expect when renting a residential property. It is typically given as a draft before the actual (or final) lease agreement.
The better the sample lease agreement, the likelier your potential tenant is to accept it in its first form.
It’s when there are issues with its provisions that you can expect potential tenants to want to negotiate a new lease agreement… which can be a lengthy process.
So if you plan to provide this lease agreement, you should know the steps in writing it properly. That can help you produce a sample lease agreement that most potential tenants will greenlight instantly.
You also want to be sure that your sample lease agreement covers everything important. Even with it being just a sample agreement, there’s still information you need to include.
I’ll help you out with these things today. In this article, we will discuss how to write a sample lease agreement.
How To Write A Sample Lease Agreement
Writing a sample lease agreement is relatively easy. But that doesn’t mean you can just “wing it”.
You still need to know how to properly write one. Doing so can help you identify which useful information has to be included in the lease, or what provisions must be stated.
As I said earlier, we will discuss how to write a good sample lease agreement today. But before that, let’s talk about the lease agreement first and define it for clarity.
What Is a Lease Agreement
A lease agreement is an agreement that lays out the rules to be observed by all parties in a lease. In our context, this is the contract between a landlord and tenant for renting a property.
Usually, a lease agreement includes payment terms, rules the tenant must follow, and details on what will happen if either party breaks the agreement.
Once it’s signed, it allows the lessee rights to the use of a property for a period of time. However, keep in mind that a lease agreement does not provide ownership rights to the property.
That said, this agreement often grants the lessee leave to make some alterations or changes to the property so it can accommodate their needs or lifestyle.
It may also cover and include any other clauses which are agreed upon by both parties.
The lease agreement is usually given before the tenant moves into the leased residential property. The landlord or property manager prepares the agreement after he accepts a tenant’s application to rent the property.
Properly Writing a Sample Lease Agreement
Now, as I said earlier, the sample lease agreement is really just a first draft or early draft of the final lease agreement between a landlord and tenant.
As such, writing a sample lease agreement is pretty much the same as writing a regular lease agreement.
There are certain things you should include in your sample lease agreement. As promised, we’ll go over them today.
1) Title of the Lease
The first part of the lease covers the basics… like the title.
At the top part of the paper, write the title of your sample lease agreement. You can start by using the most common title on every lease agreement which is “Residential Lease”.
Always keep in mind that you should write an appropriate title. Since the title’s the first thing a person will see in your lease, writing the right title will make it clear that it’s a legal contract.
2) The Parties Involved
Right after the title, the first part of the sample lease agreement should contain the tenant and property manager’s name. Don’t forget to add your address or the property’s address if you’re also residing in the property.
Make sure it clearly specifies who is the lessee and who is the lessor too.
Include the contact information of both parties, including their telephone numbers and email addresses. This is a vital element since this is information that both parties may well need in future dealings with each other.
3) Address of the Property
All lease agreements should contain the complete address and apartment number of the rental property. Even a sample lease agreement is not an exception to this rule.
In this part of the sample lease, describe the residential property’s condition.
Rental property businesses should explain the condition of the property on their first interaction with a potential tenant.
Including a description of the condition of the property helps make sure that the tenant knows what the property should look like when the tenancy is over.
4) The Lease Agreement Term
This part of your sample lease should include information about the tenancy. Your sample lease agreement should have the starting and ending dates of the tenancy, in particular.
Keep in mind that you need to write the specific length of time in days, weeks, or months that the agreement lasts.
Consider including details if there is an option for early lease termination as well.
Most lease agreements last for three months, six months, or a year. But the length of the tenancy may be unique to each lease.
5) Funds Associated with the Lease Agreement
Every sample lease agreement also includes details about various payments for renting the property.
Here are the usual funds associated with the lease agreement:
- Rent – Should include the specific due date of the rent and where it should be sent.
- Late Fee – Specify if a late fee will be charged for a certain amount of time. If there are penalties for late rent payments, then make sure you include the amount the tenant has to pay and the deadline for paying it.
- Security Deposit – Most rental property businesses require tenants to give a security deposit before the actual start of their tenancy. When writing a lease agreement, it’s important to include the amount of deposit and the terms under which it will be used or returned. Be sure to indicate too in the sample lease agreement when you should return the deposit (i.e. give yourself a deadline for this as well, to assure tenants that you’re going to return their security deposits instead of holding them forever).
Obviously, your sample lease agreement should also indicate the responsibilities of all parties in the lease. That’s pretty much par for the course with lease agreements.
But before you state the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant, check the local laws in your area. This helps you know how to parse out the responsibilities.
In your lease agreement, state who is in charge of paying utilities and who is responsible for making repairs to the rented property.
Aside from the responsibilities, your sample lease agreement should also include your tenant’s obligations.
Make sure to inform your tenant to be responsible for adhering to all applicable laws. Your tenant should agree to only use the property in the manner for which it is intended.
For example, if you’re leasing it to him as a place of residence, he should only use it as such… and not, say, as a place from which to operate a business.
That’s why you shouldn’t forget to write in your sample lease agreement that the rental property is meant for residential purposes only.
A sample lease agreement should also include details about the consequences for violating its terms. Indicate late payment fees, for instance, or the possibility of the lease agreement being voice if a certain violation is made.
Use the agreement to inform your tenant of the consequences of breaking the terms of the contract. These could either be eviction, repossession, and/or court action.
The last part of a lease agreement contains the signature of the property manager and the tenant. Every person who is involved in the tenancy is required to sign the agreement.
Signing the agreement serves as proof that the parties involved agreed to the terms and policies for renting the residential property.
The lease agreement will be a legal document once it is signed by both parties. Make sure that you include the date the agreement signing took place.
Other Things You Can Add to a Lease Agreement
Not all lease agreements necessarily contain the same things. Some rental property businesses also add clauses to theirs that are suitable only to their specific terms and policies, for example.
If you are strict regarding the rules of renting your property, then you should add whatever clauses can help clarify that.
Or you can also ask the tenant if s/he wishes to add some clauses and make sure to come up with a negotiation that will be fair to both parties.
Specify in your sample lease agreement if the tenant is allowed to make changes to the property, for example. If you add this, then you shouldn’t forget to include the limitations when it comes to changes.
You can also decide whether pets are allowed and specify the rules regarding them.
Another common issue that you should address in your sample lease agreement is the possibility of subleasing the property. Determine whether or not you accept subletting and if you do, provide the terms for it.
Final Thoughts on Writing a Sample Lease Agreement
Preparing a sample lease agreement should be easy for every landlord or property manager. It’s essentially just a first draft of all your policies and terms for leasing property to a tenant.
But if you just started managing a rental property, then you might not know where to begin with your sample lease agreement. Fortunately for you, I told you all about the appropriate and essential information to include in a lease agreement in this article.
Just make sure to take note of every detail that we discussed in today’s blog. To help you out, here’s a quick recap of the items you need to cover in your sample lease agreement:
- The title of the lease.
- The names of the parties involved.
- The address of the leased property.
- The lease term.
- The amounts and terms relating to the funds involved in the lease, e.g. rent and security deposits.
- The responsibilities of all parties.
- The consequences of violating terms.
- The signatures of the parties involved.
- Other points like whether or not pets are allowed, if subletting is permitted, etc.
If you have any other concerns regarding a sample lease agreement, feel free to let us know by leaving it in the comments section below.
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