Leases, even residential leases, cannot be taken lightly or casually. They are important for many reasons and one being that they dictate how a tenant’s family life is controlled as to the home they live in.
Here are a few suggestions for the potential tenant to keep in mind:
1. At the commencement, go through the house and property and check out the details that you would be tempted to otherwise take for granted, i.e., are the appliances operating? Do the light switches work? Are there spots on the ceiling? Do the floors squeak? Are the carpets stained? Are there any falling limbs? Is the ground moist?
2. Ask why the previous tenant left.
3. Take pictures of the condition of the property at the start.
4. Ask and document how the security deposit will be held.
5. Find out where the owner is if you are dealing with a property manager.
6. Inspect the neighborhood.
7. Maintain a respectful relationship despite frustrations.
Here are a few suggestions if you are the Landlord:
1. Get a lease application from the tenant and ask for referrals.
2. Get a security deposit for faithful keeping of the lease terms and a pet fee or deposit for pets, if allowed.
3. Address right to smoke in the house.
4. Address “abandonment” in the lease.
5. Keep the property maintained unless assigned to tenant.
6. Stay on top of rent collection.
7. Remember the “Three Day Notice” procedure and the “Claim against Security Deposit” procedure.
8. Take pictures of the property condition at start.
9. Maintain a respectful relationship despite frustrations.
At the start of a lease, paying attention to these types of things can make the lease term more enjoyable.