Key Terms You’ll Find in a Property Rental Agreement
At Strazzullo Law Firm we have helped many clients deal with landlord-tenant disputes and we have found that one of the most important aspects of a case is the rental agreement. Our Manhattan Real Estate Attorneys have helped publish this helpful list for landlords of terms that should be included in a good rental contract.
- Names of all tenants. It is important to name any adult who lives in the unit as tenants. This makes each tenant responsible for all terms, proper use of the property, and the full amount of the rents. This also gives you as the landlord the right to evict tenants who move in a friend or relative without your permission.
- Term of the tenancy. Depending on how much flexibility you want in your agreement, you may choose a lease or rental. Leases typically last a year, whereas rentals agreements usually run month-to-month and are self-renew unless terminated. Either way, the rental agreement should state when it is active and when tenancy must be renewed.
- Rent. A rental agreement should state how much the rent payment is, when it is due, how it can be paid (check, cash, credit card, etc.), where it can be remitted, if there is a grace period, and what the consequences are for late or bank-returned payments.
- Deposits and fees. To avoid disputes a rental agreement should state how much the security deposit is, how you may use it, when and how you will return or deduct the deposit after the tenant moves out. Any legal non-returnable fees should also be explained, such as pet fees.
- Repairs and maintenance. Your rental agreement should clearly outline yours and the tenant’s responsibilities for repair and maintenance including:
- The tenant’s responsibility to keep the unit and surrounding premises clean and sanitary without abuse or neglect.
- The tenant’s duty to alert you of dangerous conditions and your detailed procedures for handling complaints and repair requests.
- Restrictions on tenant repairs or alternations.
- Entry to rental unit. Sometimes you may need to enter the rental unit for repairs or emergencies. Your agreement should clarify your legal right to access the property and how much notice you’ll give the tenant prior to entry, in order to avoid privacy or illegal entry disputes.
- Restrictions on tenant illegal activity. Your rental agreement should include a clause prohibiting disruptive or illegal activity on the premises.
- Pets. Be sure to detail your policies regarding tenant pets. If you do not allow pets of any kind, certain kinds, sizes, numbers, or breeds of pets, be sure to include these details in your rental agreement.