Everyone wants to save a little money. It’s important to watch your budget and spend each dollar that you earn wisely. Maybe you clip coupons, take public transportation, or maybe you use generic leases off of the internet for all of your properties. By doing that, you might think that you are saving yourself from spending unnecessary legal fees on having a customized lease drawn up. However, using a generic lease can actually end up costing you far more in the long run. Our real estate lawyer in New York has seen it happen on more than one occasion; landlords set out with the best of intentions and end up paying thousands because their interests weren’t properly protected.
Potential Pitfalls of a Generic Rental Agreement
- No mention of inventory in the rental property. If you are leasing a furnished apartment, this is especially important. But it’s actually a good idea to have a complete inventory of the apartment included in the rental agreement so it’s clear what should remain after the tenant vacates. That might include appliances, furniture you are storing on the property, yard items, or gardening tools.
- Not mentioning the day that rent is due or any penalties for late payment. This could be a loophole that means your tenants could pay their rent any day of the month without incurring any penalties. That could leave you scrambling to make your own payments on the property and have no way to enforcing a timely payment at the beginning of the month.
- Not laying out the rules clearly and in a binding contract. A verbal agreement is great, but it’s a lot harder to enforce in a court of law than a signed document. It’s important that you include all the rules that you want enforced on the property, including no loud parties, no pets, and no smoking. A generic lease that you find online might not include those rules, which means it’s going to be difficult to enforce them.
These are just a few examples. When you neglect to customize a lease for your specific property, you’ll make yourself and your property vulnerable.
Factors That Should Be Considered in Your Lease
Ideally, a rental agreement or lease should take into consideration all of the factors of the property and make the expectations for both the landlord and the tenant clear from the beginning to the end of the agreement. These factors should include:
- What items in the household are being furnished by the landlord.
- What repairs the landlord is responsible for undertaking.
- The rules of the household and what’s permitted or not permitted.
- Due dates for the rent and late fees if it’s not on time.
- The length of the lease and options for renewing.
- The security deposit required and whether or not it is refundable (and under what circumstances)
- What happens if the lease is broken early
- What utilities are covered by you and which are covered by the tenant
It’s unlikely that a generic lease is going to cover all of these aspects of your property correctly, and neglecting any one of them means you could be taken advantage of later on or end up battling a tenant in court.
Generic Leases Are Bad for Tenants, Too
It’s not just landlords who are made vulnerable by a generic leasing agreement. Tenants should be wary of a rental agreement they are given to sign that doesn’t include specifics about repairs, security deposits, or rules. You could be dealing with a landlord who isn’t completely honest about the property about who might try to stick you with hefty fees and repair bills down the road. If you suspect a leasing agreement isn’t in your best interest, it’s best to have a real estate lawyer examine it for you before you sign. This can protect you for the length of your stay in the property and ensure you maintain a good landlord/renter relationship.
Our Real Estate Lawyer Can Write or Review Your Leasing Agreement
Whether you are renting a property or are the property owner, the Law Offices of Diron Rutty, LLC can help make sure your best interests are protected in a leasing agreement. Our fees are very reasonable, making a visit to our office a smart investment in your property. You can even give us a call to arrange a free consultation to learn more about our services and how we can help. Give us a call or contact us through the form on this website to arrange your complimentary consultation today.