The most important and critical element of leasing property to a tenant is the landlord lease agreement. A lease agreement is extremely important particularly when it involves a valuable asset such as real estate. It is therefore imperative to draft a lease document that protects the legal rights of the landlord and his/her property while at the same time safeguarding the rights of the tenant. In essence, the lease form is the governing law between the landlord and the tenant and both have to abide by it. The landlord lease agreement has to be in writing to be enforceable by law and should be executable at the time the tenant takes possession of the property. Every lease contract is unique and may vary in length and content in comparison with another. However a standard lease usually includes the following elements:

– The names of the landlord(s) and tenant(s)

– A description of the rental premises

– The duration of the lease

– The rent amount

– The date the rent is due

– The amount and terms of the security deposit

– Provision for late fees

– Maintenance responsibilities

– Renewal option

– Lease termination and notice requirement

A “Pro Landlord” lease contract encompasses certain clauses for the sole purpose of protecting the rights of the landlord and his/her rental property. These clauses may be considered harsh from the tenant’s perspective. Some examples of critical landlord clauses include:

– The landlord can repossess the rental property if the tenant defaults in paying rent

– The landlord has access to enter the rental unit any time (without notice)

– The tenant is liable for all damages to the rental unit without regard to fault

– Court action entitles the landlord to more money than lost rent and damages.

The above clauses without a doubt serve the interests of the landlord, and a prudent landlord lease agreement must include these clauses because the landlord has much more at stake. If the landlord does not understand the language of the lease; is unsure of the details or is not well versed in real estate law, then the landlord must have the lease agreement drafted and/or checked by a real estate expert and perhaps an attorney. The lease agreement is a binding legal contract and once it is signed both landlords and tenants alike are bound by law to abide by it. Landlords must therefore do their utmost due diligence to ensure that the lease agreement contains the necessary safety measures and clauses that protect their rights and assets.

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