Basic or Custom lease?

6 Replies

I'm trying to decide if I need a customized lease written by a local TN real estate attorney or if the free lease from this or similar websites is sufficient. How much should I expect to pay an attorney for a customTN lease? What scenarios would paying an attorney for a custom lease pay dividends? If I don't use a custom written lease, what would make me wish I had?

Thanks for the input!

You could try purchasing standard lease from your local landlord/property management association. They are usually current for state statutes and local housing rules. And they are usually much cheaper compared to an attorney. If there are special clauses you need to add, that can be easily done through an addendum.

I buy a lease of off legal zoom and than customize it with all amendments based on experience. I have ended up with a 14 page lease. A lease is your best protection. In the beginning I started off very generic. I since found that becoming very specific include a break lease clause has saved me so much heartache. I wrote a whole post about what I put in my lease on my website because it such a huge part of my success as an out of state landlord (even internally too)

@Jason Krawitz  I use a lease form from the state Realtor board because Massachusetts has so many tenant favored housing laws. The forms are recommended by local eviction attorneys. I've taken over accounts where the owners used generic leases and it started to bite them for different reasons. I think it depends on your state laws, but the board of Realtors is a good place to start.

thank you all for your suggestions and help!

@Jason Krawitz I always use the standard Leases from the Realtor Associations. Everyone (Attorneys & Judges) has seen it and are familiar with it.

Some members of our REIA make their own custom version (e.g. Tenant must notify Landlord before the 1st of the month and 60 days in advance for any change in Tenancy) Then they put "Standard Real Estate Association Lease Agreement" at the top;-)

The Housing Court judge has us put all the docs on our MassRealEstate website in the Members, Library section. And that's what they want to see in Court.

Your best investment now (time wise) would be to go to your local Housing Court and sit through a  session:-(

Thank you again. I obtained a rock-solid state specific lease from a local management company. Had my first showing today and handed out the generic application printed from BP. Is there anything you'd ask for on an application that isn't included on the BP free app download?