Have you successfully found tenants for your Tacoma, WA rental property?
The next step is to create a solid lease agreement.
Proper lease agreements address all the key issues. You'll face less potential problems after taking the necessary precautions.
It's common for landlords to forget to add certain points in the lease agreement. Sometimes they don't know that all the expectations and requirements need outlining. This is commonplace among landlords who are beginners.
In the following paragraphs, you'll learn about the vital parts of any lease agreement.
Cover all the basics. Add the names of both parties signing the agreement and the rental property's address. Specify the lease term. Depending on your particular agreement, the term could have a specific end date or be open-ended instead.
2. Is the agreement lawful?
You need to make sure the requirements in your agreement follow various laws. For example, on November 20, 2018, the Tacoma City Council passed the Rental Housing Code. This created new obligations for landlords that operate within the Tacoma city limits.
Let's take a practical example. When you fall under the jurisdiction of this Code, you can't add a 45-day notice for a rent increase in the agreement. According to the Code, you need to provide a 60-day notice before increasing the rent.
This is just one example out of countless situations. Ensure your agreement's compliance with all the laws on the local, state, and federal levels. This could easily be done with the help of a qualified real estate attorney.
Specify the amount of rent your tenants need to pay. Indicate the due date along with the accepted payment methods.
You also need to clarify the late fees policy. If there's any grace period, explain this aspect as well. Taking these steps avoids possible confusion.
4. Security deposit
Add a security deposit clause to your lease agreement. The deposit should account for the cost of potential repairs.
In most cases, the sum amounts to one or two month's worth of rent. The full amount gets returned if there are no damages that need to be factored in.
What about tenants who want to sublet your property?
You should require them to have your written permission. This way, you still retain all the control. If you don't feel comfortable with the proposed subletting offer, you can easily decline the offer.
Since the new party is not in the original document, the best course of action is to create a new lease with your tenant after ending the prior one. You'll be in a far better position if you don't use the initial agreement.
There are quite a few important points to consider when covering maintenance:
- Write every maintenance requirement that you want the tenant(s) to follow.
- Create a legal basis for conflict resolution. For example, spell out the noise control principles and restriction of illegal activities. Also, clarify the acceptance of pets.
- List all the appliances along with the furniture in your Tacoma rental property. State their current condition.
- Specify whether you or the tenants hold responsibility for paying the utilities.
7. Occupancy limit
It should be made clear that only those who sign the lease (and their minor children) reside in the property. It ensures that the people living inside passed the screening process.
You'll protect yourself from the risk of your tenant housing any friends, relatives, or even strangers. The same goes for subletting your property.
What if your tenant accuses you of violating any privacy rights?
You should state how many days in advance you will provide an entry notice. Make sure to point out your right to legal access. This could be on the grounds of maintenance or repairs.
Spell out the restrictions on alternations.
Installing an alarm system, changing the locks, or painting the walls could all need your permission.
Ignoring these rules could give you the basis for terminating the contract.
Lease termination is an essential part of the agreement. There are two possible reasons for termination:
A) The official end of a lease
B) An eviction takes place
The agreement needs to reflect the state laws concerning evictions. Failure to comply with them puts you at a high risk of getting sued.
When should you update the agreement?
Ideally, every time there's a new tenant the agreement should be updated. Don't forget that the laws and regulations regarding landlord-tenant relations could change. Your lease agreements should reflect all the changes in the legal landscape.
What about having just an oral agreement?
Always prefer a written agreement. In the rare case of finding yourself in court with a tenant, an oral agreement isn't as valuable as a written one.
Protect your rights by drafting and signing a properly written document. This way, both sides clearly understand their rights and responsibilities. You are always able to refer back to the agreement if there's any dispute.
The bottom line: your Tacoma rental property lease agreement
Lease agreements are an important part of renting out any property. Always opt for a written one. You'll thank yourself later.
You need to cover a lot of ground. After the basics, follow up with maintenance, subletting, occupancy, and contract termination.
Do you think the agreement is ready?
Before using it, let a real estate attorney verify the agreement's compliance with all the laws.