Having a strong lease helps to avoid gray areas in written agreements that could potentially create room for debate between a landlord and tenant.
A rental property investment is only as good as it's cash flow and lease agreement. To cover all of your bases when dealing with tenants, these are the 30 addendums every landlord needs for a battle-ready lease.
What is a Battle-Ready Lease?
A battle-ready lease is one of the most important tools you can have as a landlord to ensure that you can successfully manage your property and your tenants.
As different things come up, and trust us they will, you should add responses to these scenarios in your lease so that you are protected. Once both parties have agreed to the terms in a lease and signed on the dotted line, the contract is binding and you no longer have to worry about renegotiating the details.
What are the Benefits of Having a Strong Lease?
If you don't already have a rock-solid lease in place for your tenants, it's only a matter of time before you run into major issues.
A strong lease, however, removes any emotion from the conversation and ensures that both parties stick to the terms outlined in the four corners of the written agreement.
There is no such thing as a perfect tenant, so as a landlord you should take care to develop a detailed lease so that both parties follow the rules and regulations as listed.
As a landlord, it is your job to protect your property and your livelihood.
30 Addendums Every Landlord Needs
To make sure you've got a solid lease, we've put together this list of 30 addendums every landlord needs to include in their lease agreements.
- Month-to-month. A month-to-month addendum allows for a landlord or tenant to change an existing lease agreement on a month-to-month basis. These are commonly used when a tenant would like to extend their lease for a short term or on a month-to-month basis.
- Direct Deposit. This addendum outlines the details of direct deposit and makes it easier for you as a landlord to receive payments on time from your tenants. Typically, the tenant will provide information so you can deposit their payments directly from their account or card of choice.
- Details Outlining which Appliances are Included with the Rental. By outlining which appliances are included in the rental, there is no question when the lease ends about what items belong to the tenant and those that do not.
- Pet Deposit and Subsequent Fees. If your tenant will be bringing along a pet, this will help outline which animals are approved so there's no question later down the line. Plus, you'll be able to take a deposit for any future issues and outline fees for any specific damages relating to their pet(s).
- Maintenance. A maintenance addendum outlines the maintenance and repairs covered by the property management and those that are not.
- Smoking Policy. Outlining smoking guidelines before a lease begins is crucial to avoid potential issues later with renters who may damage your property by smoking inside the premises.
- Utilities Assignment. Every rental property will need utilities such as power, water, trash, cable and internet. With this addendum, you can outline the responsibilities of tenant when it comes to pay for these specific services.
- Rules Regarding Subletting. In this addendum, rules are outlined around whether or not tenants are allowed to sublease their unit and under what conditions. By establishing these rules beforehand, you can protect yourself in the scenario that your tenants allow others to reside in the property without formal agreement. Without this verbiage, you could potentially be on the line for damages caused by others that you didn't agree to allow to reside on the property.
- Landlord Entry Rules. These discuss the scenarios in which a landlord is allowed to enter the property of a tenant.
- Extended Absence by the Renter. If a renter is absent and potentially neglecting the property, this addendum will outline all of the details about what action the landlord is able to take.
- Termination on Sale of Premises. If the property is sold while a lease is active, this outlines the rights of the tenant and the landlord.
- Military Personnel Policy for Lease Termination. This will outline the rights that a tenant has to end their lease if they are in the military and are deployed during their lease.
- Tenant is Responsible for Maintenance of Property. This addendum will discuss all maintenance that the tenant is responsible for relating to the property.
- Policy on Use of Battery-operated Devices.
- Professional Cleaning. If the property has rules on which professional cleaners are allowed in the property and the services they are permitted to perform, then these would be outlined here.
- Filters. This addendum discusses who is responsible for replacing furnace filters.
- HOA. If the property has an HOA, this will outline all rules and regulations pertaining to the tenant.
- Landscaping. Any details about the upkeep of the property landscaping will be outlined here.
- Home Businesses. If there are rules pertaining to the allowance of the tenant to run a home business out of their unit, then the specifications will be detailed in this addendum.
- Fees/Violations. Any fees and violations that the tenant is subject to will should be outlined in the agreement. For example, if the tenant leaves their trash in the hallway, then you could write spell out a fee associated with this violation.
- Plumbing. A plumbing addendum discusses who is responsible in the instance that there are plumbing issues.
- Changing Locks. If you don't want your tenant changing the locks on their own, then this will need to be outlined that they are not allowed to do so without your permission.
- Renting Site Unseen. If a tenant signs a lease without seeing the unit, then this addendum protects the landlord and outlines the options that the tenant may or mat not have in backing out or changing the lease.
- Policy on Play Structures, Trampoline Equipment, Pools, and Other Large Outdoor Items. If there's a pool, playground or any other amenities on the property, then this addendum will outline any rules pertaining to those.
- Roommate Policy. This will outline thee responsibilities of all roommates related to communications, financials and other requirements for living in the unit as roommates.
- Appliance Maintenance. If the unit will contain appliances, then this will spell out the maintenance required by the tenant if they are responsible or not.
- Pest Control. Who will be in charge of pest control for the unit? If property management is in charge of preventative measures for pests, then this will be discussed here.
- Damages. To protect the unit from any potential damages, it is best to outlined the responsible parties in the lease so it is clear who is at fault if any occur.
- Keys, Garage Door Openers/Gates. Most rental units require keys and others require the use of key fobs to open gates or access the parking garage. This addendum will outline who pays for these and what happens if they are lost and if a replacement or extra is needed.
- Break Lease Option (also known as a buyout). If a tenant or landlord needs to break the lease, this addendum outlines the rules around doing so.
Make Sure You Are Prepared When Leasing Your Property With A Strong Lease
While this may seem like a lot of information to include, the reality is that you cannot predict the issues that might arise at any point.
Therefore, it is best to ensure that you are prepared for virtually every possible scenario that might occur.
When people first tour your property, they tend to look at everything through rose-colored glasses. But as a landlord, this simply is not something that you can afford to do. This list of 30 addendums every landlord needs is specifically designed to protect you and your investment.
When a tenant realizes that your property no longer fits their plans (perhaps they are a growing family, relocating, or would just prefer a less expensive option), they will naturally look for ways to break your lease, which can leave you in a bind if you're not prepared.
Once a lease is ratified, by law, there is no way to add in additional items unless the tenant explicitly agrees to the changes. This is when this list of addendums every landlord needs becomes super important. That's because your lease will serve as insurance that your tenants will be on their best behavior.
You may make some mistakes along the way, but revising your lease as you learn from these situations is the best way to protect yourself, and ensure that the terms are clear for your tenants.