Having a well-crafted rental agreement is undoubtedly one of the best decisions a Salt Lake City landlord can make. Besides spelling out the terms and rules that a tenant must abide by, the contract outlines the responsibilities and liabilities of both the renter and the landlord. It also addresses the ramifications in case of violation by either party.
The document is legally binding, which means, that an owner must ensure the clauses in the agreement are in his or her best interest. Moreover, it is critical for the agreement to touch on every aspect relating to the tenancy relationship. Some of the essential elements that a landlord ought to include are:
Parties to the Contract
For any rental agreement to be valid and enforceable, it must have two or more consenting parties. Naturally, one of them will be the landlord, while the other(s) will be the tenant or tenants in case there is more than one lessee.
As the property owner, you must overtly specify who these individuals are by stating their full legal names, registration details such as National ID or Passport Number, Driver’s license as well as physical address.
Description of the Property
It is imperative that you provide a precise description of the asset under consideration. While a concise description such as the apartment number and physical address might suffice, it is judicious to offer a more detailed and vivid portrayal to eliminate any possible confusion or misunderstandings that could necessitate litigation.
In addition to the apartment number, you should include the name of the building, mailing address, street name, state, postal code, as well as type and size of the asset.
A valid rental agreement should specify the duration of the lease. Which is to say, it must state in no uncertain terms the year, month, day and time that the tenancy relationship starts and when it ends.
You should further explain what action both of you must take the moment the lease expires. For instance, should the occupant move out, or are you willing to consider an extension, or adopt a month-to-month arrangement?
The Rental Amount
Bearing in mind that the rental income is a large part of the ROI from your Salt Lake City investment, it is prudent for you to insert a clause that addresses it. Your agreement must state the exact rent amount, its due date, how to pay it, and the repercussions for late payments, returned or bounced checks.
For the payment methods, you can specify whether the tenant should mail it to you, pay using cash, checks, automatic drafts, or money orders.
The Security deposit
The state laws in Utah permit a landlord to demand a security deposit from the tenant. This aims to safeguard the property owner in case the renter decides to leave the contract before its completion without paying the due rent.
It also proves useful in offsetting any damages or pending bills and payments that the lessee might leave behind. Hence, you must address the security deposit in your rental agreement.
Some of the items you must disclose are the security deposit amount, where you will keep it, when and how to refund the amount, how you might use it, as well as whether or not a part of the cash is non-refundable.
Condition of the Premises
Before advertising a vacancy, the majority of Salt Lake City landlords spend time and money renovating the property to make it beautiful and habitable. It’s only fair that a tenant leaves it the way they found it when it is time to vacate.
An excellent way of ensuring that is by including a clause where both you and the renter acknowledge the condition the house is in before they move in. If you prefer, you can take photos and generate a list of all the items in the property.
Property Inspection, Maintenance, Repairs, and Your Right of Entry
As the owner, it is crucial that your property remains in an excellent state at all times. As such, you will have to inspect your investment frequently to ascertain its condition and carry out the required repair or maintenance tasks.
To avoid unnecessary arguments with the tenants, you must put in the lease agreement that you reserve the right of entry into the property, to inspect it and conduct any repairs and maintenance activities. Moreover, you should outline your roles and that of the resident regarding property maintenance, and also specify what action the tenant should take in case of property damage or break down.
Just because the tenant has leased the property doesn’t mean they have the right to use however they would like. For that reason, you must state in your contract the limits of occupancy or what the renter can or cannot do. For instance, can they have a pet, invite non-immediate family members to live in the property, sublet the asset, or even run commercial activities in the home?
Be as clear and concise as possible to avoid future disputes.
Termination Of The Contract
Even though a lease has a start and end date, it’s possible for it to end prematurely. A prudent landlord should include a termination paragraph for addressing this type of situation.
The clause should outline the different conditions that can warrant the lease termination by either party, how much notice of intent-to-terminate one should give, how each party can serve the notice, as well as how to handle the security deposit, outstanding utility bills, and property repairs.
The final element that you must include is a section for the tenant to affirm that he or she consents to abide by the terms of the lease agreement. Without this statement, the contract is null and void, and inadmissible in a court of law.
Bearing in mind that the lease agreement is a legally binding document, you must get the tenant to sign it before they move into your property. Moreover, it is prudent to enlist the services of a legal attorney or property manager experienced in drafting effective rental agreements, to help you actualize a winning contract.