Creating Residential Leases: 5 Things Eastern Massachusetts Landlords Need to Know

Updated January 31, 2022

Successful property owners know that creating leases for Eastern Massachusetts residential properties isn't exactly a simple task. A lease agreement is a contract between you and your tenant that outlines what needs to happen at the beginning, middle, and end of the rental period.

What should a comprehensive lease include? How can landlords create leases that effectively protect rental properties and income? Our professional property management team in Boston has put together five insights about what to include in a lease, how to get the lease to tenants, what to do for lease renewals, and how to keep rental agreements legal. Let's dive in.

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1. Online Lease Signing is No Longer the Future

Lease agreements are more accessible than ever through secure electronic features that make it simple to update, review, and sign documents. While it's important to review the lease with your new renter before it begins, there's no longer a need to get together in the same physical space to sign documents. The lease agreement can be signed any time of day and anywhere in the world.

By signing leases online, rental property owners and residents save time. Landlords also benefit from keeping high-quality tenants happy and making the renewal process a snap. With an online lease process, residents can also expedite the pre-move-in process and enjoy the convenience of choosing the time and place to sign, especially if multiple parties are involved (like a husband and wife).

Just like written leases on paper, digital leases are legally binding and enforceable. An Eastern Massachusetts property management company can handle the lease agreement process for you, from creating it to making sure all signatures are in place before new residents move in. 

2. Stay In Compliance with Local and State Regulations

Are you familiar with Massachusetts landlord-tenant laws? Your lease must comply with these laws, including the Fair Housing Act, and regulations that pertain to the grace period for monthly rent payments, late fees, security deposits, occupancy limits, and who is responsible for various maintenance tasks. 

Check out your local and state regulations and federal law by researching online, hiring an attorney, or partnering with a professional property management company that can guide you through the legal process. When leases don't comply with the law, property owners can face harsh penalties. 

3. Include Necessary Items in the Lease

When reviewing a lease with your attorney, make sure it includes the critical and necessary information. Most standard lease agreements should include:

  • Clauses. A legal statement that might include basic information like the monthly rent and security deposit amounts.

  • Addendums. These statements "add" to the document. They could include a pet addendum, renovation addendum, and others.

  • Disclosures. These disclosure statements let a tenant know if the property has had issues like bed bugs, asbestos, or radon exposure in the past.

A Boston property management company can guide you through creating a Massachusetts residential lease agreement that meets your goals and adheres to state laws.

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4. Don't Forget the Basics in the Lease Agreement

Each time you find a new tenant, it's time to review and update the lease. Make sure to include several types of basic information, including:

  • The names of all individuals who will live in the rental unit. Make sure to include a co-signer if applicable.

  • The rent payment amount, due date, and how the tenant is to make payment. Also, include any fees for paying late and any grace period.

  • The security deposit amount and if interest will be paid at the end of the lease.

  • Whether pets are allowed or not. If a renter has a pet, the lease should include information about the pet, like the breed and identifying marks.

  • If smoking is allowed (or not).

  • Information about the tenant's renters insurance.

  • Information about who a tenant should contact if there is a maintenance issue.

  • Any pro-rated rent that might apply if a tenant moves in early.

This list is not exhaustive, but a residential rental agreement should include most of this information. Whether you use a month-to-month lease agreement or a long-term lease, these elements are critical to every document. 

5. Renewing a Lease

If you have a tenant who pays rent on time and takes care of the property, keeping that tenant is an excellent way to eliminate the costs of tenant turnover while boosting your revenue. Work with a property manager to develop your lease renewal process. Give the tenant proper warning that their lease will end soon and allow them the opportunity to renew the lease for another term. 

Massachusetts landlords should send a renewal notice about 90 days before the lease ends. Let the tenant know of any changes in the rent amount and length of the lease. In many cases, good residents are anxious to lock in a good rate and stay in a rental home they enjoy with a property owner that treats them well!

A Boston Property Management Company Can Help With Your Custom Lease

We hope this information helps you create a standard residential lease agreement that successfully protects your properties! While our expert information is an excellent guide, we always recommend consulting an attorney when preparing a new rental agreement. If you would like more help in creating a lease agreement, let CHARLESGATE Property Management help! 

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