The lease agreement you sign with your tenant is a legally binding document that’s meant to protect you, your tenant, and your rental property. When you’re preparing your lease agreement, you want to make sure it’s legally compliant and enforceable. A lot of inexperienced landlords make the mistake of downloading any lease template they find on the internet. That’s a mistake. You need to have a lease that’s specific to Tennessee when you’re renting out a Memphis property. The laws in each state are different.
You can get a good lease document from a Memphis property management company, like our team at RiverTown Realty. You can also ask an experienced real estate attorney to review your lease. A large part of what you write into this document will depend on your unique property, but there are also several things that need to be included in every Memphis lease agreement. We’re highlighting those for you in today’s blog.
Start with Identification and Contact Information
Every adult 18 years of age and older who will live in the property should be included as a tenant on the lease agreement. Get full names and identifying information, such as a social security number and driver’s license number.
Residents under 18 years of age are not legally responsible for rent, but they should still be included in the lease so you know who they are. The lease should specifically state that occupancy is limited to the parties listed on the lease. You don’t want any long-term visitors in your property who have not been screened.
Include the Terms of the Lease
Your rental agreement must state when the lease begins and when it ends. Stipulate whether the lease will renew automatically or convert to a month-to-month arrangement. You also want to reference how much notice you and the tenant must provide to end the tenancy.
Rent Collection Policy
Your lease agreement will state how much rent is due every month, whether there is a grace period for payment of the rent, and how it should be paid. Be specific about whether tenants should pay by check, online, or through a third-party. State whether you’ll accept cash and personal checks. You’ll want to include information about any late fees and other consequences to late or unpaid rent. If you have a fee for bounced checks, include that in the lease agreement and enforce it consistently.
The security deposit amount also needs to be reflected in the lease. You should include instructions about what tenants will need to do at the end of a lease period in order to get a full refund of that deposit.
Landlord and Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities
If you want to avoid disputes with tenants over repairs and property condition, be explicit about who is responsible for what in your lease.
Maintaining a property is a joint responsibility, and your tenants need to know what you expect from them. The lease should indicate who will pay for utilities, landscaping, and any pool or spa services if you provide those amenities. You can list the process for reporting routine and emergency maintenance, and you can also use your lease to prohibit the tenants from making any repairs or cosmetic changes without permission.
Memphis Rental Home Rules
Your lease should reflect whether you allow smoking and pets, and it should also notify tenants about what is and isn’t allowed in the home or the common areas. You should also include language that requires the landlord to provide a specific notice period before entering the home.
Your lease can prohibit excessive noise, illegal activity, and other disruptions to the neighborhood. It should also require a tenant to follow any HOA or condo association rules and regulations.
Legal Disclosures Required in Leases
There are a number of disclosures you must include in your lease. Some are federal laws, such as the lead-based paint disclosure. Make sure you include all of them to protect yourself against potential liability.
There’s a lot more your lease needs, but these six specifics will get you off to a good start. Our property management experts do a great job of finding you well-qualified tenants and executing a lease that protects your interests. You’ll find that our lease agreements are fair to both parties and puts you in a strong position as the rental property owner. For more information, contact our team at RiverTown Realty.