10 Things to Consider When Creating a Simple Lease Agreement

Updated March 25, 2022

When it comes to lease agreements, property owners have a few different options. You can create your lease agreement from scratch, or you start with an online residential lease agreement template and make edits.

No matter your method for creating a lease, there are some things that investors should consider before pushing the "create my lease" button. A Boston property management company can help you draft an ironclad lease that meets all your investing goals. In this blog post, our property managers discuss ten things we recommend thinking about when creating your lease agreement.

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1. You Need More than a Free Template

A rental lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that sets out the terms and conditions for a specific property. While there are plenty of free simple lease agreements available online, property managers recommend using these only as a starting point or guide. In many cases, a free template doesn't include critical terms, disclosures, and elements needed for the final document you sign with the tenant. A template can leave you and your property without critical protections. 

2. Update Your Lease Regularly

One of the constants in the world today is change. That includes landlord-tenant laws and what the law requires for lease agreements. It's a good idea to update your lease periodically due to:

  • Law and regulation changes. Successful landlords don't use the same lease form year after year. Rental laws change, and it's a property owner's responsibility to make sure a Massachusetts residential lease agreement is updated to reflect those changes.

  • A bad experience. Sometimes, a property owner has a bad experience with a tenant, and they learn a valuable lesson that leads to a necessary change in the lease. For example, if you had difficulties allowing pets in your rental property, update the lease agreement with a "no pets" clause.

  • Change to disclosures. A lease agreement must always state any environmental problems and required disclosures. Problems that pop up like a bed bug infestation will need to be noted in future lease agreements.

If you're not sure how to review and update a lease according to current laws, work with your attorney and a property management expert in Boston. 

3. Customize the Lease as Needed

Each new tenant or new lease term may require some customization for the lease agreement. For example, you may decide to accept a tenant with a blip on their credit report, but you need to increase the security deposit. You can customize the lease with a larger security deposit to ensure you're covered in case a renter defaults. 

4. Add New Clauses Periodically

As mentioned earlier, you might need to change a clause for your lease to comply with current requirements. Maybe a new tenant has animals, but you don't have a pet clause. You'll need to add that clause so that the tenant knows their responsibilities when it comes to their pet.

Make sure to follow local and state laws when adding any new clause. If in doubt, hire a property management company and talk with your lawyer to double-check your rental agreement.

5. Include a Detailed Residential Property Description

List the full property address (including the building and unit number, if applicable) along with a physical description of the rental unit. Also, let tenants know in the lease of your investment property if there are areas where the tenants are not permitted to go (such as a locked shed in the backyard).

6. Know State Laws

Just like any state, Massachusetts has laws set in place to govern the landlord-tenant relationship. Creating a lease without understanding those laws can lead to legal trouble. A property management company stays up to date on all local, state, and federal regulations. They can look over your lease agreement and make sure it complies!

7. Require Signatures 

To be a legally binding document, both landlord and tenant must sign the lease. Ensure that all adult tenants residing on the property initial, sign, and date the lease agreement.

8. Note Consequences for Lease Violations

Along with the rules, your lease should include the consequences of lease violations. This includes how and when you'll deliver written notice, what the notice will include, how long the tenant has to respond, fees, and when you'll start the court process to file an eviction.

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9. Review the Lease with Tenants

When it's time to sign the lease, ensure the tenant understands everything and answer any questions they may have about a particular clause. A property management company has experience in answering a tenant's questions about the lease.

10. Talk to an Attorney and Property Manager

Before putting a lease in front of a new tenant, make sure to check with an attorney or a Boston property management professional to verify that it complies with the law. These experts can keep you from starting a new lease agreement that has loopholes or gray areas that can lead to problems. 

Use Boston Property Management Experts to Create a Lease Agreement!

Now that you know what types of items to include in a lease, it's time to get to work creating your standard lease agreement. CHARLESGATE Property Management stands ready to help you put together a lease that protects your investments and income. Reach out for help with your next lease!

For more information about creating your lease agreement, download our free resource, "How to Create a Custom Lease Agreement."

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