A positive rental experience starts with two things: a qualified tenant and a strong lease. A good lease will protect you and your Bonita, South Bay or Chula Vista property, and set forth the expectations and responsibilities of you and your tenant during the lease period.
While every lease should be customized to the property it applies to, there are a few things that you absolutely must include in your legally compliant Chula Vista lease agreement.
Tenant Names and Contact Information
Every adult 18 years of age and older who will live in the property should be included as a tenant on the lease agreement. Get their full names and identifying information, such as a social security number and driver’s license number. Residents under 18 years of age are not legally responsible for rent, but they should still be included in the lease so you know who they are. The lease should specifically state that occupancy is limited to the parties listed on the lease. You don’t want any long-term visitors in your property who have not been screened.
Identify the Lease Term
Your rental agreement must state when the lease begins and when it ends. Stipulate whether the lease will renew automatically or convert to a month-to-month arrangement. You also want to reference how much notice you and the tenant must provide to end the tenancy.
Rent Collection and Security Deposits
Your lease agreement will state how much rent is due every month, whether there is a grace period for payment of the rent, and how it should be paid. Be specific about whether tenants should pay by check, online, or through a third-party. State whether you’ll accept cash and personal checks. You’ll want to include information about any late fees and other consequences to late or unpaid rent. If you have a fee for bounced checks, include that in the lease agreement and enforce it consistently.
There are limits to the amount you can collect in a security deposit, and your lease agreement should reflect how much is collected and how it will be used. This is a good time to tell tenants what will be required in order to get their full security deposit refunded. When it’s in writing, they’ll be able to refer to those instructions before moving out.
Landlord and Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities
If you want to avoid disputes with tenants over repairs and property condition, be explicit about who is responsible for what in your lease. Maintaining a property is a joint responsibility, and your tenants need to know what you expect from them. The lease should indicate who will pay for utilities, landscaping, and any pool or spa services if you provide those amenities. You can list the process for reporting emergency and routine maintenance, and you can also use your lease to prohibit the tenants from making any repairs or cosmetic changes without permission.
Rules and Regulations for our Chula Vista Rental Property
Your lease should reflect whether you allow smoking and pets, and it should also notify tenants about what is and isn’t allowed in the home or the common areas. You should also include language that requires the landlord to provide a specific notice period before entering the home. Your lease can prohibit excessive noise, illegal activity, and other disruptions to the neighborhood. It should also require a tenant to follow any HOA or condo association rules and regulations.
Legal Disclosures Required in Leases
There are a number of disclosures you must include in your lease. Some are federal laws, such as the lead-based paint disclosure. The state of California also requires disclosures about sexual predator watch list and mold.
These are just some of the items that must be included in your lease or rental agreement. We work hard to provide legally compliant leases that protect our owners. If you have any questions, or you’d like to take a look at one of our sample leases, please contact us at Encore Realty.