I am signing my first lease with three unrelated tenants this Sunday. It will be a joint and several lease. I have a few questions. Thanks for your time.
1. Should I make three separate leases or just one ?
2. If three leases are made, should I divide the security deposit and rent by three and put those figures on individual leases ?
3. How do I make sure that everyone is responsible for the damage - even if it was caused by one tenant/pet ? Would the clause "joint and several" is enough ?
4. The lease starts on Oct 1st, and we sign the lease on this Sunday. One of the tenant is away and will send her lease/check by mail. Other two will give checks post dated to Oct 1st. Is this OK ?
I would suggest one lease with all three tenants signing joint and severally. Have them send one check monthly. It's up to them to have one person collect the rent from the other two and mail one check to you. the joint and several clause basically says that each of them is fully responsible for the lease. If one tenant loses their job the other two have to cover the entire rent. All three are responsible for any damage no matter who caused it. Make sure they all understand what they are signing and what you expect of them. For the first payment if it's easier to get three checks due to certain circumstances that should be fine. Make sure that going forward they pay you with one check every month. Good luck @Navin Naik.
Definitely should be one lease with each tenant being individually responsible which is inferred by "joint and severably". If you sign individual leases with each being responsible for a third of the payment, then, if one or two moves out or doesn't pay, you will only be able to get the remaining tenants' portions of the payment. You want each person responsible for the entire amount. By joint and severable, each would be equally responsible for any damage so long as you include that responsibility in your lease.
I would agree with the comments above but definitely make sure you consult a local attorney. You want them all responsible for the debt and by having them all responsible then they would be jointly and severally liable. Of course, if they would all sign their lease for the full monthly rent, then they would all be liable for the full monthly amount and you could receive 3 times want you wanted to in the first place; but the tenants and the courts would have an issue with it. Go with the one lease; listing all as the tenant and make sure their is a clause that states that they are all liable.
One rent check! One security deposit!
For the out of towner - scan and email the lease to that tenant. Have that tenant sign, scan, and email it back to you (or to the other tenants). Then have the other tenants sign and you're good to go. Whatever you do, do not accept move in costs/begin their tenancy without signatures from everyone.
I agree with the 1 lease, 1 rent check, 1 security deposit.
Look into using Cozy.co. It's a payment website that allows people to split up the bill however they want to. It collects from them on the 1st, and it doesn't deposit until it is all there. No dealing with "but so-and-so is late!" I use them for the unit that the roommates split rent on. They don't charge a fee and seem okay so far.
I was also curious how to lease to several people. I have a question about a different scenario from this type of situation.
What do you do if one tenant wants to move out and another one moves in? Do you re-write the agreement and have the new tenants sign? Or maybe the only 2 tenants are left and plan to keep it that way. What do you do with the tenant leaving to get him out of the contract and what about the deposit?
@Chris Sones In this case you would use an addendum to add/remove tenant. No matter how many times you add/remove, It will always refer to the original lease which is the binding document. Each new tenant gets a copy of the lease when they, and all current residents sign the addendum.
FYI everyone on the lease is fully responsible until they are legally removed - even if they give notice and move away. Their responsibility does not end until the lease is up (unless you agree to the addendum to remove them). Think of it as a credit card that they have jointly signed up for, but one person now wants out. Are you going to let that guarantor out of the contract?! Not until someone of equal or greater qualification takes their place.
Thanks for your replies. I got two to sign on one lease, one check for deposit and rent. Third sent a scanned one. Wrote joint and several. Lease signed till the end of May.