Legally binding lease agreement

7 Replies

Hello fellow BP folks, Starting my search for multi family properties in the Los Angeles area and I’m in need of a place to get a legally binding lease agreement. So my questions are as follows: 1. Do I start from scratch and reach out to an attorney for one? Or 2. Do I download a template and have an attorney personalize it to my local laws? Or 3. Are there downloadable ones I can personalize without the attorney costs? Or .... am I missing something? Any help is welcomed and I’m Southern California based. Cheers JT
Originally posted by @Jonathan Taylor :
Hello fellow BP folks,

Starting my search for multi family properties in the Los Angeles area and I’m in need of a place to get a legally binding lease agreement. So my questions are as follows: 1. Do I start from scratch and reach out to an attorney for one? Or 2. Do I download a template and have an attorney personalize it to my local laws? Or 3. Are there downloadable ones I can personalize without the attorney costs? Or .... am I missing something? Any help is welcomed and I’m Southern California based.

Cheers JT

 I would start with your realtor.  In Chicago they put out a free lease that is compliant with all local laws.  In Milwaukee there are state approved leases which are also compliant with all local laws.  Agents have access to these

@brie Shmidt thanks for the tip. I’ll ask my realtor and see if that’s something they have in CA. from your experience, does the lease include everything you as a landlord would need?

@Jonathan Taylor No need to reinvent the wheel. You are not the first landlord in LA. I am sure you can find landlord packages for sale if you google "lease agreements+LA". You need a few more forms other than just the lease and you dont want it to be homemmade. I buy all my contracts in packages of 50 and they come with a carbon copy. These leases are A, much more developed if they have been arround for a few years and B, much better known already with tenants and also - if it ever happens with the eviction court. 

@Jonathan Taylor  Any of these three options should work for you:

1)  Get a copy of the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) "Residential Lease Or Month-To-Month Rental Agreement".  It looks like this.  Your Realtor should be able to provide you with one.

2)  Use the California Apartment Association Rental Agreement form.

3)  Have a landlord-tenant attorney in your area draft a custom one for you.  (If they do a lot of work in this practice area they will likely already have a custom rental agreement that they recommend/prefer.)

Whatever you do, don't just use some random one you happen to find on the internet.  Who knows if it's legal or appropriate for your area.  All of the above forms/suggestions have been reviewed/approved by California attorneys so they should comply with local laws.

@Kyle_J that seems like the best idea. I agree not using any downloadable lease. Thanks for the tips.

California is notoriously tenant-friendly, so it's important to have a good RE attorney draft you a lease agreement that is landlord-friendly in its terms (while still abiding by state law).  The CAR form agents have access to is pretty tenant-friendly in my opinion.  A good RE attorney experienced in landlord/tenant issues can draft you one for a relatively small fee, and you can use it for all your future tenants.

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