Your lease agreement is the most important document that you’ll sign with your tenant. It’s meant to protect you and your property, and it’s also something that the tenant can turn to if there are any questions during the tenancy.
The lease you choose must be enforceable in Woodstock and compliant with all federal, state, and local laws. One mistake we see a lot of landlords make is that they’ll download a sample lease from any website on the internet. That’s not a great idea. Get a professional lease from a Woodstock property manager or a local real estate attorney who specializes in Georgia’s landlord and tenant laws.
Every lease will vary depending on the property that’s being rented and the people who are involved. However, there are a few things that you absolutely need to include in your lease agreement.
Contact and Identifying Information
Every lease agreement needs the names of the landlord and the tenant. The names should be listed in the body of the lease, and the signatures should match at the end of the lease. We also recommend you have both parties initial each page of the lease document.
You’ll want to provide the property address as well, with a description of what the property looks like. For example, you’ll state that it’s a single-family home with two stories or a unit in a duplex with private parking. List the names and ages of all occupants as well, even if they aren’t old enough to sign the lease. If there are pets, describe the pets and include a copy of your pet policy so the tenants have something in writing regarding responsibilities and expectations.
Lease and Renewal Terms
The lease agreement must include the effective date of the lease and the day that it ends. Most leases are one-year in length, but yours could be 18 months or six months. In addition to the lease term, your agreement should also reference the procedures that each party must follow when the lease is ending. The tenant will have to notify the landlord within 30 or 60 days of their intention to move out, for example. Or, the landlord will have to offer a lease renewal 30 to 60 days in advance of the lease ending. Or, the lease could convert to a month-to-month agreement at the end of the term.
Rent and Security Deposit Payments
Note the amount of security deposit that the tenants paid, and specify when it will be returned. Georgia law requires that you return the deposit within one month of the tenants moving out.
You need to include the details of your rent collection policy, and be specific. Put into the lease agreement the amount of rent that’s due every month, how it should be paid, and when it’s considered late. If there’s a grace period, make sure your lease reflects that. If you’re implementing late fees once the rent payment is late, your lease agreement must include that information as well as any other consequences to late or unpaid rent.
Additional Rules and Responsibilities
Beyond the required information, your lease should include everything you want the tenant to know about the expectations you have while they’re living in your property. Many landlords have non-smoking homes, which means tenants are not permitted to smoke anything inside the property. You might want to include limits to how long guests can stay in the property and the number of cars that can be parked in the driveway. Lastly, you may also want to consider the requirement of renter’s insurance by the tenant. Make sure you’re detailed and you cover everything because this is the first place you and your tenants will go if there’s ever a dispute.
We write and negotiate leases for our rental property owners every day. If you have any questions, please contact us at Clients 1st Property Management. We’d be happy to serve as your Woodstock, Georgia property management resource and the surrounding counties.