Strong lease agreements are not only good for you as a property owner or landlord, but they also help protect your tenants. Rental lease agreements that are specific and detailed help reduce miscommunication and disputes as well as indicate responsibility for who will handle what in terms of the rental unit and associated fees and payments (for example, dictating who is responsible for the utility bill). Here are some areas to focus on if you want to strengthen your lease agreements.
- Maintenance – Property management companies are hired to handle maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they should take care of every last issue. This can quickly become expensive for the property owners who hire them. Instead, your lease agreement should clearly dictate who is responsible for what, especially when it comes to something that sits more on the margins. For example, if there is a clogged garbage disposal, specify in your lease that it’s the tenant’s responsibility to clear it. Conversely, if the garbage disposal has reached the end of its life and is no longer working, then it’s the landlord’s responsibility to take care of the issue.
- Fees – Will you be charging any fees to your tenants, and if so, what are they? You can learn more about what tenant fees can be charged in an Ohio lease here.
- The order in which payments are applied – For full insight into why this clause matters so much, be sure to read this, but in short, the order in which payments are applied becomes critical to have in your lease especially in those situations when tenants are not able to pay their full rent on time.
- Appliance ownership – While it may be totally obvious to you that the refrigerator, dishwasher and range should stay with the rental unit, trust us when we say that we’ve seen these items picked up and moved out of a property by tenants. You can prevent this headache by spelling out in your lease whether or not appliances are provided by the landlord or the owner.
- Pets – This is a biggie. Your lease should be very clear in terms of whether pets are allowed (and if so, what kind of pets you permit). If they are not permitted, it’s helpful to write that in big, bold letters. It can also be helpful to have tenants initial next to the pet policy to ensure they’ve read and understood it.
For questions about what to include in your lease agreements, please contact our team at RL Property Management. We’ve been managing property professionally in the greater Columbus area for nearly a decade and are here to help you.