New Landlord, Advice Appreciated

8 Replies

So I am a new landlord and will be leasing my first buy and hold property.  I will be renting in NJ and have done some research on renting in the state.

My plan is to get my lease off of ezlandlordforms.com.  I also plan to use the notices off this site because it sames easy and state specific.  I also plan to use the following addendums:

- receipt of keys
- zero tolerance for criminal activity
- early termination of tenancy addendum (2 months break-lease fee)
- tenant guest policy
- no smoking addendum
- tenant waiver of insurance (if they don't have any)

1. Does anyone know where to find or use a "deposit to hold form"?

2. I have read the NJ "Truth in Renting" guide that outlines landlord and tenant laws.  Is there any other required reading?

3. Dumb question: When I am meeting with tenant to sign the lease, do I have them sign two separate leases and have them keep one? I'm guessing I would have to take this approach with each addendum?

4. In the "How to Rent Your House" sticky in this forum it states that you should get the deposit from the tenant once the they have got accepted (through smartmove) but before you meet them to sign the lease?  What is the best way to collect this deposit before we meet to sign the lease?

5. Any value in meeting an attorney before I start leasing?  I would really like to bypass this expense if I can.  But if so, what type of value do they offer initially?

6.  Any other clauses that I can use to boost profitability? Ex: charging tenants if they lose their keys

I think that pretty much all my questions, thank you!

My advice would be to contact a local Realtor.  They will be well versed with local laws, have a legally compliant local lease and addenda, e.g. Lead Paint Disclosure, give you insight on competitive rentals, as well as screen your potential tenants.  

I wouldn't wing it on my first rental.

Rob;

To answer some of your questions:

1) Keep looking and searching. You should be able to find one. Also I would get a lawyer to get a solid lease. Downloading forms is risky. At a minimum use the NJ Realtor Lease agreeement.

2) NJ Truth is Lending is a good start. Other than that use the BP Forums to enhance your lease and how you perform as a Landlord

3) I do 2 leases. They sign both and send back to me. Then I send both and send and scan 1 copy back to them

4) I like to do both the Deposit and Lease the same time if at all possible. The Lease becomes void if the deposit check and first month's rent bounces

5) Yes; meet with a lawyer. They can help get the lease correct so they can defend it if you ever need it.

6) I don't use clauses for profitability. Lost keys is standard stuff that you always charge for.

Originally posted by @Mark Langdon :

Rob;

To answer some of your questions:

1) Keep looking and searching. You should be able to find one. Also I would get a lawyer to get a solid lease. Downloading forms is risky. At a minimum use the NJ Realtor Lease agreeement.

2) NJ Truth is Lending is a good start. Other than that use the BP Forums to enhance your lease and how you perform as a Landlord

3) I do 2 leases. They sign both and send back to me. Then I send both and send and scan 1 copy back to them

4) I like to do both the Deposit and Lease the same time if at all possible. The Lease becomes void if the deposit check and first month's rent bounces

5) Yes; meet with a lawyer. They can help get the lease correct so they can defend it if you ever need it.

6) I don't use clauses for profitability. Lost keys is standard stuff that you always charge for.

 thank you for the advice. i called and touched base with a lawyer

When I first started, I contacted my local Landlord Association.  They had all the necessary forms and lots of advice.  They hold monthly meetings, always with a guest speaker, and I've always picked up little bits of knowledge from each meeting.  I'll bet there's a similar organization near you.  

I use an "Earnest Money Receipt Form" to collect and record the security deposit money as soon as I approve a tenant's application and before they sign the lease.  The "Earnest Money" is non-refundable, and only converts to a "Security Deposit" once the tenant signs the lease.  I make the "Security Deposit" fully refundable only when all the terms of the lease are met.

Most of these addendum I have built right into my agreement, but NJ might be different.

I get a holding deposit if move in date is more than 4 days after they are accepted.  We get holding deposit and sign the paperwork right away.  At move in we do the walk through and exchange keys for move in deposits (less holding) and rent.

We sign two copies of everything and one copy goes to each party.  Actually, our law says each signer needs a copy, so we normally do at least three copies.  The only exception is the walk through.  We photocopy that (since it gets marked up) and bring it back a few days after move in to deliver it and check in with the new tenants.

I would read your actual tenant-landlord law, but maybe I'm just really anal.

Originally posted by @Michele Fischer :

Most of these addendum I have built right into my agreement, but NJ might be different.

I get a holding deposit if move in date is more than 4 days after they are accepted.  We get holding deposit and sign the paperwork right away.  At move in we do the walk through and exchange keys for move in deposits (less holding) and rent.

We sign two copies of everything and one copy goes to each party.  Actually, our law says each signer needs a copy, so we normally do at least three copies.  The only exception is the walk through.  We photocopy that (since it gets marked up) and bring it back a few days after move in to deliver it and check in with the new tenants.

I would read your actual tenant-landlord law, but maybe I'm just really anal.

 Sorry, English is my second language.. You're just really what?

Originally posted by @Aleksey Vinogradov :
Originally posted by @Michele Fischer:

Most of these addendum I have built right into my agreement, but NJ might be different.

I get a holding deposit if move in date is more than 4 days after they are accepted.  We get holding deposit and sign the paperwork right away.  At move in we do the walk through and exchange keys for move in deposits (less holding) and rent.

We sign two copies of everything and one copy goes to each party.  Actually, our law says each signer needs a copy, so we normally do at least three copies.  The only exception is the walk through.  We photocopy that (since it gets marked up) and bring it back a few days after move in to deliver it and check in with the new tenants.

I would read your actual tenant-landlord law, but maybe I'm just really anal.

 Sorry, English is my second language.. You're just really what?

 Ha ha ha.

Short for anal retentive, defined as uptight, strict, picky; "by the book".

American slang, gotta love it.  I read that the source is from Freudian psychoanalysis.

I'll see how to incorporate this new term in my lease.. 

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here