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When a landlord drafts up their first lease, they may feel proud of their accomplishment. Finally, they have a property to rent out and have found the perfect tenants. However, many first-time landlords neglect some essential clauses in their lease agreement, which can lead to problems down the line. Before you hand over your tenant’s copy to sign, make sure you include these terms.

Pets

Even if you post an ad online that says NO PETS, there are tenants out there who will hide their furry critter from you until the day they move in. If you have any specifications on what kinds of pets can live there, you need to make it completely clear in your tenant agreement. You should also specify that you need approval before pets can be moved in, even if they are allowed in the contract. This gives you the ability to say no to a pet that would otherwise be fine, but is overly-destructive or could potentially hurt another tenant, causing a lawsuit. It is better to be up-front about this with potential tenants, as saying no without a warning can cause tension and may be used against you in the future.

Subletting

Which landlord has never had a request to sublet? Sometimes, we have tenants who need to leave, but don’t want to lose their security deposit. This is where subletters come in. As a landlord, you should always be wary of letting tenants sublet, especially when it is to a stranger. If you are willing to let your tenant go without penalty, that is fine, but make sure to do your homework on the new tenant first. Also, it is probably best to cancel the lease with your old tenant and have the new one sign their own to ensure there are no discrepancies.

Post-Lease

After the lease, what would you like to have happen? If you want your tenant to sign another lease right away, perhaps within a 30-day window, you must let them know. If they are going month-to-month, they also need to be aware of that. Tenants should know what they are getting into if they rent with you, and whether they will have a tough time leaving if the opportunity presents itself during a second term. If your tenant poses any questions about this before signing, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Make sure they understand why you’ve included that clause, and if they do not want to agree to your terms, you need to decide if you can compromise or look for someone else.

Landlord are required by law to include many clauses in their lease agreements. However, there are plenty of situations that could cause a landlord stress, but would have been avoided with a simple line of text. Next time you draw up a contract, make sure it includes info about any potentially stressful situations, and also make sure your tenants understand what everything means.