10 Must-check Elements in Your Tenant Agreement
A tenant agreement is a legal contract between tenants and landlords, specifying rental payments, tenant rights, and other essential guidelines the tenant has to follow. Tenants, therefore, must go through the clauses mentioned in the agreement, as it is legally enforced, and is essential to avoid confusions and disagreements in future. No matter whether you rent a unit in Tuscany Apartment Homes or Bellagio Apartments in TX, make sure you understand and go through every important element in the tenant agreement. To help, the blog post suggests 10 must check elements before you sign on the dotted line.
1. Personal Details
A tenant agreement is more than just another legal document; it is the residence proof for the tenants. Any typographical error in the personal details can pose a question on the identity of the tenant and may lead to other problems in future. It is, therefore, important for the tenant to ensure that the details of all the adults and minors who will use the property are accurately mentioned in the agreement. Once personal details are marked, individual adult tenants are accountable for paying the rent and must abide by other terms of the lease.
2. Occupancy Limits
Some landlords enforce occupancy limits to ensure only prescreened tenants are allowed to stay in their properties. Extending the number of members can incur extra rent, comprehensive tenant checks or restructuring of the lease. Whichever is the case, thoroughly go through the lease agreement to find out if there are any occupancy limits.
3. Renewal Terms
Most rental agreements have a specific beginning and expiry date, after which they require renewal. Situations may arise, wherein you have to pay extra dollars as late fee to renew the lease or vacate the rental property at a short notice. Therefore, have a look at the following in your lease agreement:
- The start and end date of the agreement
- The notice period required to end the tenant
- Penalty charges for pre-terminating the lease
- The time frame for changing a clause in the lease agreement
4. Comprehensive Rent Bifurcation
The tenant agreement should state the complete breakdown of the rent including the amount of rent, taxes, due date, late rent fee and additionally:
- Acceptable payment methods such as check, cards or bank transfer
- Grace period to pay the rent without late fee, if any
- Additional charges if a rental check bounces
5. Detailed Security Deposit Clauses
Reimbursement of security deposits often account for stressful situations between the tenants and the landlord. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the clauses regarding security deposits and their reimbursement in the agreement including:
- The exact amount of the security deposit
- Instances wherein security deposit can be substituted, such as repair work and covering up for unpaid rent
- The return policy, once a tenant vacates the rental property
- Interest rates on security deposits, if any and the mode of payment
- Factors governing confiscation of the security deposit
6. Pet Policies
Many landlords practice stringent pet policies to ensure a safe living environment for the neighborhood and often limit certain breeds of pets, size, and number. Therefore, if you have a pet; double check the restrictions in the pet policy. As a precautionary measure, vaccinate your pet before moving into a rental property and consider renter’s insurance to cover possible damages caused by the pet.
7. Activity Restrictions
Property managers and landlords may also include activity restrictions in the tenant agreement to ensure a safe and congenial environment. The restrictions may extend to preventing disruptive behavior, loud noise, late hour guests and other similar directives. Laws vary across the states, so does the clauses in the tenant agreement. Tenants should carefully read the tenant agreement to learn in detail about activity restrictions in the rental property.
8. Damage and Maintenance Clauses
Repair and maintenance costs are two of the most common concerns for both tenants and landlords. Sometimes, an issue as trivial as a small scratch on the wall may lead to a disruption; there may be a situation when there is a visible damage to the property or amenities, such as laundry system, parking area, and swimming pools. It is necessary to note damage and maintenance clauses in the tenant agreement such as:
- The course of action in the case of physical damage to the property
- Deductibles, if the need for repair arises from tenant actions
9. Termination Policies
According to the law, a landlord must terminate the lease agreement first, before asking the tenants to vacate the house. The entire process typically requires a 30-day or 60-day written eviction notice, clearly quoting the grounds of terminating the agreement. It is, therefore, important for tenants to understand how lease termination works and the clauses mentioned in the agreement. Though governing rules change from state to state, landlords usually require to issue these three notices to terminate the lease:
Pay Rent or Quit Notices
Landlords need to issue pay rent or quit notices to tenants on non-payment of rent, quoting a buffer time to either pay the full sum or vacate the property.
Cure or Vacate Notices
Cure or vacate notices are issued when a condition of the tenant agreement is breached, asking the tenants for a cure or to vacate the property in the event of failure.
Unconditional notices give no chance to fix a violation in the tenant agreement, and result from issues such as non-payment of rent, illegal activity, serious damage to the property and unacceptable behavior.
Additionally, termination of the tenant agreement may be instant without violation of any of the clauses. Whichever is the applicable case, the landlord can’t terminate the lease agreement without issuing a written, legal notice. Tenants, therefore, need to make a detailed note of the termination policies mentioned in the agreement before signing on the dotted line.
10. Dispute Resolution
Whether it’s non-payment of rent, maintenance issues or activity restrictions; there are times when landlords and tenants can have a disagreement. To counteract them, there is a need for a prevalent mechanism to pacify both the parties. There should be a clear escalation matrix listed in the tenant agreement for the resolution of disputes. As a tenant, it is your duty to check the conflict management authorities and the channels mentioned in the tenant agreement.
The Way Forward
If tenants ignore any of the important elements in a lease agreement, it may lead to disagreements in the future. Tenants, therefore, need to ensure that they carefully examine all the clauses mentioned in the agreement before signing it. If they see the need of any modifications, the can discuss it with the landlord or property manager. If you are looking for a reliable, amenity-packed rental units in Texas, your rental search ends at Kington Properties. We have an assortment of apartments in San Angelo and Lake Jackson, including Bellagio Apartments in TX, packed with world-class facilities. To learn more about our rental properties, call us at (325) 944-1234, or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you, shortly.