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10 Terms to Include In Your Lease Or Rental Agreement

  • Written by Patrick Watt

A rental or lease agreement outlays the rules agreed upon by landlords and tenants for their rental relationship. This agreement is a legally binding contract filled with important details such as the length of occupancy by the tenant as well as the amount of rent due. Regardless of whether the rental or lease agreement is typed or handwritten, short or long, it has to cover the basic tenancy terms. In this article, Brisbane buyers agents at National Property Buyers Brisbane suggest some of the most important terms you need to cover in your rental or lease agreement. 

1. Rent

A residential rental agreement should explicitly state when the rent will be due, the amount of rent, and the mode of payment. To avoid possible confusion and ward off disputes, the agreement should spell out such details as:

* Acceptable methods of payment

* Whether fines will be due in cases of late rent payment, the amount of the fine, and whether any grace period exists.

* Charges incurred in case a rent cheque bounces

2. Term of tenancy

Every rental document should state if it is either a fixed-term lease or rental agreement. Fixed-term leases usually last a year while rental agreements are commonly self-renewed unless terminated by either the tenant or landlord. The selected option depends on the period a property owner wants tenants to stay and how much allowance is included in the arrangement. For instance, in this case, study where the property owner instructed the agent to obtain a 12-month lease, yet tenants agreed to only nine months, had a term of tenancy clause been included in the lease agreement, the proprietor would not have had to sue the agent for the three-month rental loss.

3. Deposits and fees

One of the most frequent causes of friction between tenants and landlords is the utilization and reimbursement of security deposits. To avoid confusion and the possible legal hassles, all residential rental agreements should explicitly specify the limit, use and repayment of security deposits including:

* The amount of the security deposit in dollars, ensuring compliance with the state laws that set the maximum amounts.

* Application of said deposits such as the repair of damages, and how not to use the said deposit, such as tenants using it to cover the past month's rent.

* How and when the deposit will be reimbursed plus an account for all deductions after the tenant vacates.

* Legal and non-refundable fees, inclusive of the cost of pet cleaning.

It is a recommendation to include details on where the proprietor holds the security deposit and whether the interest earned on the security deposit is payable to the tenant. 

4. The full names of all tenants

Every adult residing in the rental unit, inclusive of married and unmarried couples, must be named as a tenant and must also sign the lease agreement, making each of the tenants legally responsible for all the included terms, such as proper use of the property as well as the full amount of the rent due. This essentially means that a proprietor can legally seek rent from any tenant should the others default payment. Additionally, whenever a single-tenant violates a tenancy term, the property owner can terminate the tenancy for every tenant included under that particular residential lease agreement.

5. Pets

In case a property owner does not allow pets, the residential lease agreement must be clear on the subject as well as on any particular restrictions in case pets are allowed, such as a limit on the number or size of pets, or the requirement to ensure the yard is free of animal waste.

6. Limits on occupancy

Your residential tenancy agreement should specify in precise terminology that the rental unit can only be the residence of the tenants who have signed the standard lease agreement and their minor children. A limit on occupancy effectively guarantees the proprietor’s right to determine residents in addition to restricting the number of occupants. The value of the limit on occupancy clause is that it provides an owner with grounds to evict any tenant who decides to sublet the unit or let someone else in without permission.

7. Repairs and maintenance

The repair and maintenance responsibilities for both the tenant and landlord must be clearly stated in the lease agreement, including:

* The responsibility of tenants for the maintenance of cleanliness and sanitation, as well as payment for any damages caused by their neglect or abuse.

* A requirement that tenants alert the proprietor about dangerous or defective conditions as well as specific details regarding the procedure for handling repair requests and complaints.

* Restrictions on alterations or repairs by tenants, such as the addition of an inbuilt dishwasher, without permission.

8. Restrictions on illegal activity

To steer away from trouble, especially among tenants, prevent the damage of property, and minimize exposure to lawsuits, a proprietor should include an explicit rental agreement clause that prohibits disruptive behaviour in clear and precise terms. Such disruptive behaviour may include excessive noise and any illegal activities.

9. Entry to rental property

To avoid violation of privacy rights or illegal entry claims by tenants, a lease agreement must clarify a proprietor’s legal right to access the property and also state the notice provided to tenants before entry.

10. Other Restrictions

Ensure the rental agreement is compliant with all the relevant laws and regulations including anti-discriminatory laws, rent control ordinances, occupancy rules, as well as health and safety codes.

Any restrictions including limitations on the business type a tenant can conduct should also be detailed in the lease agreement. The fundamental rules and regulations that cover parking and utilization of common areas should additionally be mentioned in specific terms within the lease agreement.

About the Author

Patrick Watt is a content writer, writing in several areas, primarily in business growth, value creation, M&A, and finance. His other interests also include content marketing and self-development. Say hi to Patrick on Twitter @patrickwattpat.

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