How do you go about forming your lease agreement? Is it worth having a RE Lawyer draft up a tailored lease agreement or should use a boiler plate form that can be found online.
Also, what sites do you use for background checks? I am closing on my first rental property and I am quickly realizing that I am missing this crucial piece of the puzzle.
Every state apartment associate has an approved lease that they give to members. See for example the links on the right sidebar of this site:
Are you looking for background checks or tenant screening or both?
I highly recommend you have a consultation with an attorney that specializes in tenant/landlord law in your state/city. An attorney with experience that does evictions on a fairly regular basis, not DUIs, divorces or adoptions. Have them write your lease, as they will be the ones defending it in court. It will be money well spent now, instead of a lot more money spent later.
I use American Tenant Screening for background checks. The reports are completed in about an hour or two and are $25.
I ended up in Supreme court this morning on a Landlord tenant issue, and the defendants attorney didn't know anything about the Virginia Residential Landlord tenant act, and it was just sad!!!!! However most of the attorney's are very removed from the actual business of renting properties, and have the book knowledge of what should be in the lease, but do not have the experience that a property manager or experienced investor would would have.
You might be better off if you just interview property management companies, and see if they would give you a copy their lease, i am not saying to plagiarize it, however there might be specific items in that document that an attorney would not know just because that is not what he does on a daily basis.
Or you might find another experienced investor (one that is doing well) in your area and ask if you can learn from them...
The point I am trying to make is that don't just jump in to property management thinking you have a lease and everything is great... Too many people try to be landlords and they do not enforce the lease provisions and after a while the tenants are doing what ever they want and destroying your property. You are also going to need to have policies and procedures in place so the tenant doesn't think that it ok to call you at midnight because their A/C is not working.
When I started out 11yrs ago I took 4 leases and circled sections I liked on all of them, took it to a highly recommended real estate attorney for evictions, and had all the stuff I wanted put into one lease plus added some stuff. I told the attorney I wanted all of the laws mentioned to be cross referenced with the current laws to make sure it was all up to par b/c some of them were old leases that friends had used for several years and I wanted everything to be within the law on my lease and to add anything he thought I needed. They only charged me $40 and it was money well spent. I agree with Aly NA that the attorney you choose will be the one defending it so you should have them draw you one up.
My attorneys in FL and NJ didn't charge me for the lease or the initial consultation.....they said they knew they'd get my business eventually, and they did :)
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