Today we are talking about how to get a solid lease agreement in place when you rent your home. I cannot stress how important it is to use a top quality lease that is written by an attorney. A lot of people try to write their own leases, or buy one from the local office supply store, but the key to a good lease is to have as much control over it as possible. A good lease will cut down on the number of arguments you might have, it will help bring a tenant into compliance a lot faster and it gives you more leverage than if you have a basic handshake, which is what some of those lease agreements that you find anywhere tend to resemble. A solid lease agreement will also protect you from liability issues.
At Sarasota Management and Leasing, we advocate using an attorney who has a lot of experience in Landlord/Tenant law. You would be surprised at how many attorneys out there are really good lawyers, but don’t have a lot of experience in this field. We also recommend keeping an attorney on retainer. It helps to expedite the process of getting a lease in place and resolving tenant problems. Any time we lease a property for an individual landlord, our attorney is always ready to help us, because of that retainer.
When you have a situation that a tenant is not in compliance, or not following the rules, or not doing something that is required in accordance with the lease, it is important to handle it correctly. A lot of people will shoot from the hip and react quickly, instead of doing things correctly. This will only cause additional problems down the road. Our philosophy is to handle problems as professionally as possible, to keep emotion out of it and to utilize the attorney you have on retainer to help you run your property smoothly.
Another important element of a good lease is that it offers you protection. A properly written lease will protect you against liability, lawsuits and court costs. A lot of things in your lease will address these issues. Mainly, it gives control of the residence to you, the owner. If your tenant has a pet, a solid lease will include a pet agreement that will put the liability on the tenant for any damage or dog bites. If the tenant causes disruptions to the neighbors or creates an unsafe situation which results in an injury, you want to be sure you are protected from legal liability.
The most critical issue in the landlord/tenant relationship is the quality of your lease. You want to make sure that you do not skimp on this very important agreement. Thanks for listening, and if you have any questions or want to talk about this further, please contact us at Sarasota Management and Leasing.