How to get out of state tenants to sign lease?

13 Replies

So I have 2 tenants that are from out of state from where I am at. They both recently got jobs and they made the trek out here to look at a bunch of places. They decided they wanted to go with us and after running the application on them they are great! 

The challenge is they will not be back until end of July because that is when they are moving up here. How do I get them to sign the lease, or can I just get a written confirmation move in date then have them sign the lease? Please advise

Thanks!

Originally posted by @Seth B. :

So I have 2 tenants that are from out of state from where I am at. They both recently got jobs and they made the trek out here to look at a bunch of places. They decided they wanted to go with us and after running the application on them they are great! 

The challenge is they will not be back until end of July because that is when they are moving up here. How do I get them to sign the lease, or can I just get a written confirmation move in date then have them sign the lease? Please advise

Thanks!

 Well, there's the traditional methods.  US Mail or FedEx to them.  They sign and USMail or FedEx back.

There's email them the lease, have them sign it, scan it and email back.  Or US Mail or FedEx back.

There's one of the online signature services.  I use RocketLawyer (no affiliation - just a satisfied user)

You *could* wait for them to come back to town, but you've really got no legal agreement until they sign.  They could back out at the last minute with no repercussions.

Originally posted by @Linda Weygant :
Originally posted by @Seth Barthen:

So I have 2 tenants that are from out of state from where I am at. They both recently got jobs and they made the trek out here to look at a bunch of places. They decided they wanted to go with us and after running the application on them they are great! 

The challenge is they will not be back until end of July because that is when they are moving up here. How do I get them to sign the lease, or can I just get a written confirmation move in date then have them sign the lease? Please advise

Thanks!

 Well, there's the traditional methods.  US Mail or FedEx to them.  They sign and USMail or FedEx back.

There's email them the lease, have them sign it, scan it and email back.  Or US Mail or FedEx back.

There's one of the online signature services.  I use RocketLawyer (no affiliation - just a satisfied user)

You *could* wait for them to come back to town, but you've really got no legal agreement until they sign.  They could back out at the last minute with no repercussions.

 Thanks for the quick response! Sorry I don't think I explained my one 'fear' if I send it to them via mail. I just worry there are so many areas to initial by or sign that they miss that stuff leaving it void. 

A buddy just told me about ESign and how there is a 30 day trial for free. I may just go that route and combine it with a Skype call to him. 

There are programs out there that allow you to do e-signatures like E-Contracts. Another option is for them to receive the lease via email. Have them print it, sign, scan it, and email the lease back to you or mail it back with the security deposit and first month's rent.

if still decide to send a physical lease you can

use post it stickers to annotate areas that need signatures and initials

or

include a separate checklist of each of the sections.  State that lease will not be processed until  all checklist items are completed. 

I would email them a holding agreement and have them sign it and deliver it with a holding fee equal to the full security deposit and first month's rent, then sign the lease when they arrive.  The holding agreement should state that the holding fee will be used for security deposit and first month's rent upon signing of the lease or forfeit (at least 50%) if they back out.  If they are serious about leasing it, they shouldn't have an issue, except probably wanting to read the lease terms first before signing the holding fee agreement to make sure they aren't objectionable.  

I've signed leases through scan and email before, and as long as the money is there, even if there are blanks or missing initials, it comes together.

Originally posted by @Seth B. :

So I have 2 tenants that are from out of state from where I am at. They both recently got jobs and they made the trek out here to look at a bunch of places. They decided they wanted to go with us and after running the application on them they are great! 

The challenge is they will not be back until end of July because that is when they are moving up here. How do I get them to sign the lease, or can I just get a written confirmation move in date then have them sign the lease? Please advise

Thanks!

 Have a question - how do you screen them?  Understood parts of the screening can be done off-site e.g. credit reports, income verification.  But what about the face-to-face evaluations (are they aggressive / professional / responsible / dirty / clean)?

Are you planning to hold the unit empty for a month for free in order to meet their time-line? Or is the unit not ready to rent right now and will be later at about the same time when they are ready to move? Take a holding deposit now with a holding deposit agreement and wait until they are in town to do the lease signing.

@Seth B.

We would normally follow the approach Marcia outlined above - take a holding fee (non refundable, but transferrable to their security deposit if a lease is executed).

We frequently rent to international students (dealing with two in Germany and one in Australia at the moment).  If international candidates are renting in our rooming house we simply take a holding fee (electronic payment).  If they are renting a flat, we use on-line document signing to execute the lease and any ancillary agreements  (there are several available: HelloSign, Signatory, DocuSign are a few).

In the state of Florida e-signatures are accepted and use a software from the local association of Realtors. You could just email the docs, they sign them and scan them back. Just get the deposit as earnest money...

Originally posted by @Lynn M. :

I would email them a holding agreement and have them sign it and deliver it with a holding fee equal to the full security deposit and first month's rent, then sign the lease when they arrive.  The holding agreement should state that the holding fee will be used for security deposit and first month's rent upon signing of the lease or forfeit (at least 50%) if they back out. ...

The only problem with a holding agreement occurs when you want to have the tenants get the utilities into their name before the move in and the utility companies require a signed lease before they will put the service in the tenant's name. 

Originally posted by @Seth B. :
Originally posted by @Linda Weygant:
Originally posted by Seth B.:

...

...

 Thanks for the quick response! Sorry I don't think I explained my one 'fear' if I send it to them via mail. I just worry there are so many areas to initial by or sign that they miss that stuff leaving it void. 

A buddy just told me about ESign and how there is a 30 day trial for free. I may just go that route and combine it with a Skype call to him. 

If you are going to use Skype, then a hard copy would work just as well. You would instruct them with your hard copy in hand. 

Originally posted by @Che Chiu Wong :
Originally posted by @Seth Barthen:

So I have 2 tenants that are from out of state from where I am at. They both recently got jobs and they made the trek out here to look at a bunch of places. They decided they wanted to go with us and after running the application on them they are great! 

The challenge is they will not be back until end of July because that is when they are moving up here. How do I get them to sign the lease, or can I just get a written confirmation move in date then have them sign the lease? Please advise

Thanks!

 Have a question - how do you screen them?  Understood parts of the screening can be done off-site e.g. credit reports, income verification.  But what about the face-to-face evaluations (are they aggressive / professional / responsible / dirty / clean)?

Well, we have to presume that they came to a showing given the wording of the OP, so there would have been a face to face unless Seth had a lockbox and allowed them access by giving the code. So the main missing thing is the in home visit. The OP mentioned Skype - that could be used to get some view of where the applicants are living, to see what sort of housekeeping they do. But of course that would be very limited unless you can get the applicants to give a complete tour including inside the refrigerator, inside the stove, inside the tub and shower, inside the toilet bowl, etc. 

And I suspect Seth did not do a Skype with them for that purpose (yet).

Look into docusign.  If you do not have it try to find someone who does, this way you can sign all of the documents electronically.  Makes everything a lot easier.

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