A lease agreement represents the crux of your whole rental business. It sets the tone for the entire policy of your tenancy. Therefore, outlining a solid and detailed lease agreement is essential to avoid the consequences of bad leases.
An improper rental agreement can mislead your tenants and make it difficult for them to understand your rental policies and rules.
Here are a few things you should avoid in the lease agreements.
A vaguely written lease can result in a void rental contract based on specific terms, language, phrases, or words. Tenants may derive more than one interpretation, which will lead to a troubled tenancy. The disputes caused by an ambiguous agreement may land you and your tenants in court.
Therefore, it is important to write a crystal-clear lease agreement. Avoid writing complex and lengthy sentences and try to make them short and easy to understand. A good option is to hire a real estate lawyer to ensure that the terms and conditions related to tenancy are unambiguous.
Not Including a Pet Policy
Many landlords are strictly against allowing pets on their property, due to the possibility of rental damage. However, if you don’t want pets on your Philadelphia rental property and forget to mention it in your lease, it can be a grave mistake. Your tenants may not inform you if they have a pet and not including a clear pet policy leaves you no grounds for evicting them later. Worst case scenario, it may even lead to a lawsuit.
Moreover, overlooking a pet policy can come across as very unprofessional and may affect your reputation as a good landlord. To avoid it, consider adding a clear pet policy, specifying whether you allow pets or not, and any additional conditions if you do allow them. Also, mention the penalty or other consequences if the rule is broken.
Not Adhering to Landlord-Tenant Laws
Sometimes, landlords may create lease agreements that are not in accordance with the Landlord-Tenant Act of Pennsylvania, or federal laws. It is necessary to note that any inconsistencies in following these laws can result in serious repercussions for the landlord. For example, the Federal Housing Act in Pennsylvania strictly prohibits landlords from refusing to rent property to physically disabled tenants or discriminated against other factors such as color, sexual orientation, nationality, gender, etc.
Ensure that you do not include provisions that violate state law, such as discarding the right of tenants to ask for a refund of security deposit or in case of discriminatory conditions in a lease agreement. As a landlord, you should strictly adhere to state and federal laws while creating a rental contract.
Not Including a Liability for Rental Repairs
Home repairs are often expensive. To protect yourself from unwanted expenses, add a liability clause for rental repairs in the lease agreement. It is a bit tricky to mention who will be responsible for the damage caused. Under the Pennsylvania landlord-tenant law, landlords can withhold a security deposit for excessive damage. Under the implied warranty of habitability, landlords must make repairs and regular maintenance to keep the place livable.
The lease should clearly state the liabilities for rental repairs. This includes the tenant responsibilities of the repairs and maintenance, and those of the landlord. Ordinarily, landlords need to fix all types of major repairs such as roof or pipe leakage, visible mold on the walls, and non-functional appliances that occur as a result of normal wear and tear.
However, if the damage is caused deliberately or due to tenant negligence, renters are required to pay for the repairs or replacement, as the case may be. Landlords can also withhold a portion of the security deposit if they refuse to pay for the damage caused during the stay.
Drafting a lease agreement can be a lengthy and arduous task if you do not have enough experience to aid you in the process. You have to think of all critical points from rules and policies of tenancy to the liability of repairing. Taking the help of a property management company in Philadelphia, like TCS Management, can make the process easier, as qualified experts assist you in efficiently drafting the lease. Contact us at TCS Management to create a foolproof lease agreement for your Philadelphia rental property.