Lease Agreement Add Ons for Rental Property
I have been renting property for a couple of years now and finding it quite profitable. I am still not an expert but I have learned a few lessons along the way. Here are some things I would recommend that landlords either verify are already in the lease contract, or adding additional clauses to cover if you are working on a lease agreement with a tenant:
- Late Fee - I put an add-on in my lease for a late fee of $5/day starting on the 1st of the month. I wave the late fee if the rent is paid by the 5th. This has worked well for me although my management company told me that they typically do an immediate 5% late fee once its late.
- Pets - I have accepted pets, but I explicitly list the description of the pets so there is no mistake about what I ok'd. I don't say "dog", I say yellow lab named "Soko" weighing ~50lbs. I usually advertise the property with a non-refunded pet fee, but so far its always been negotiated out. Better the one-time pet fee than a monthly reduction in rent IMO.
- Lockout Fee - I added a clause to the rental agreement that charges a $35 fee if the tenants lock themselves out. Quite frankly I think it should be more as these types of things can usually end up being very inconvenient.
- Check Bounce Fee - I didn't have this clause in my lease at first, but through experience realized I needed it. I never had a problem with this except one time the tenant called me and told me not to deposit her rent check because it would bounce. I had already deposited it and luckily she was able to get it resolved and the check cleared. However I now have a clause that explicitly states how much I am going to charge if a check bounces and that the late fee applies until the rent has been received with a good check.
- Clogged Drains -- The worst offender for my tenants due to the old pipes in an old house. I still don't have anything in the rental agreements, but would love to add something to cover this somehow. I would perhaps consider writing in language that deals with clogged pipes (ie tenants stuffing tons of food down the kitchen sink - [UPDATE:even with a garbage disposal]). Its happened to me and its probably the biggest problem spot for one of my rental properties.
Anyone have other suggestions to add to the basic rental agreement?
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