Signing a lease and finding out after the fact that there were things about the property that weren’t addressed in the contract is no fun and can lead to a big disappointment for you and your family. Once the lease is signed by both parties, it’s a legal document and enforceable in court. No changes can be made to it, unless both parties agree. Most of us have heard the expression “if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.” We can modify that for our topic to “if it’s not in writing it’s not part of the agreement.” So, needless to say, you should take your time and read the agreement. Now, I’ve been doing this for 15 years by now and I can say that very few people do.
Here are just a few of the things that should be addressed in the documents, whether in the 6 page lease agreement or any attached addendums.
- Are all appliances included and who is responsible for maintenance of the appliances?
- Have the air conditioners been serviced and who is responsible for preventative maintenance and cleaning during your tenancy. Check your filters on move in day. If the filters are dirty, chances are the a/c unit, whether it’s central or split, hasn’t been serviced.
- What is the time limit for repairs. Don’t leave this open ended. If there’s not a time limit, there’s not a time limit.
- Are there any restrictions on hanging things on the walls? Most walls are concrete and some owners may not want you drilling into their walls. A hole in the wall can be covered and painted over, but it can’t be repaired.
- Who is responsible for yard maintenance? Normally, this will be the responsibility of the tenant.
- What is the pet policy. If you plan to get a pet in the future, that should be included in the lease
These are just a handful of the things you’ll want to address in your lease agreement. If you’re working with us to find your home, we have pre-written templates covering all these items and much more. Frankly, the standard lease agreement leaves a lot to be desired, so we make sure to address them in our own documents that we attach to every lease agreement.
As always, if you have any questions or we can assist you in any way, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click “contact us” anywhere on the website and we’ll get back to you.