rental contract

7 Replies

Hi, I am looking for a good rental contract that is maybe more for Colorado if that's a thing. Something that can cover me as the landlord the best possible. This is my 3 rental and really need to get a better system.  

I really like the Nolo contracts.  I used the one out of their California landlord book.  You might see if one of these would work for you:

http://www.nolo.com/products/landlord-tenant/landl...

If you're having problems with tenants, though, the key is good tenant screening.  You might want to focus on that.  A lease won't prevent trouble with a trouble-maker.  it might give you more clarity as far as being able to sue them after the fact.  But, if you find tenants that you're less likely to have to sue, that's way more preferable.  

Thank you for the info. And I have not really had any problems at all with the tenants, I am just looking to make sure if something dose go wrong then I am covered.  Do you have any good tools or Web sites for screening ?

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Originally posted by @Jason Eberhardt :

Thank you for the info. And I have not really had any problems at all with the tenants, I am just looking to make sure if something dose go wrong then I am covered.  Do you have any good tools or Web sites for screening ?

 The owner I worked for was a member of the local apartment association and we got a discount with a full-service credit screening/collection company.  The cheapest option they offered was an online tool, where I could run the checks - eviction, criminal, credit.  I also had their inspector come and see that the tenant files were secure in a locking cabinet and that I had a shredder.  If you do this, then you can see the actual credit reports.  I highly recommend this.

I did the other screening myself.  A few things I did was to require a personal check for the application fee, so I could get the address off of it.  Asked to see their ID, and get that address.  Then you check these addresses against the application and see if they lied.  I denied applicants who didn't have personal checking accounts.  If they were new to the country, I had them go get a bank account (techies from China, India or international students, for instance).  Having a personal checking account not only gave me an address to check, but showed me they were able to get and keep an account.

I'd Google their company and get the HR department on the phone to verify employment, rather than the number on their application.  Google addresses they gave me, to see if they were real addresses, Google the applicants to see if anything weird pops up.  Google landlords to see if they were real landlords and not just a friend or ghost.  Look for them on facebook to see if they're lying (pics of them smoking when they say they don't, etc.).

I also would ask them why they're moving when I showed them the unit.  It's amazing how off-guard that can catch people.  "So, why are you moving right now?"  "Uh, my aunt said we can't sleep on her couch anymore."  LOL.  That was a real answer I got.  Anyway, it catches people off guard and you may find something out that helps you decide not to rent to them.

I had criteria that said that if someone wasn't on time to meet me and didn't call me with a great reason they were running late (stuck in bumper to bumper traffic - which I would verify online lol), then they were denied.  If the actual tenant was with their brother/mother/BF/GF etc., and someone other than the tenant, or rather applicant, was doing all the talking, I denied them (unless they just didn't speak English).  Don't want to deal with the overbearing brother.  And don't have to.  If someone was snotty or overly picky or critical or argumentative, I denied them.  

I just learned to recognize problem tenants.  And have solid criteria and check everything.  Once I learned to do that, I hardly had any problems at all.

That was probably way more info than you wanted lol.  I need to go to bed :-)

I would not use Nolo or any forms that are not specific to your local laws.  I use those generic tools to look for ways to improve my state forms.

I'd join a local rental property group, and/or see if your state has a landlord association.  The fees, which are not high, get you copies of forms that are tailored to your local tenant-landlord laws.  The newsletters, meetings and conferences will keep you up to date on changing rules or interpretations. I would start there.

Our landlord association also offers screening reports at a great price.  We have also been happy with http://www.aaacredit.net/tenant-screening.html.  Neither give us the actual credit score, but a fitness rating instead.  Close enough for me to not have the hassle of an inspection.

I personally add a few clauses in my lease agreements to further protect myself. Never thought about adding them until it was too late. If you'd like the list, PM me.

@Jason Eberhardt the only resource I am aware of is a local attorney that gives their clients leases that they like to defend. Google THS law firm. You have to be a client to get all of their forms (lease) but they are a good resource. Representing landlords is their business. They have offices in the Springs so if you want to do a meet and greet it's not too far away. I'm sure there are a couple of other firms that do the same business down your way. THS is pretty pricey but they also have connections and know the judges etc. Not saying the others won't as well. To figure out who the other attorney's are look up the county court web site and see which attorneys specialize in landlord representation. Contact them and see who you want to work with.

The one thing to consider is that a lease is a management tool as much as a legal document so while the attorney's lease is correct. There are many other things that can be addressed in a lease that makes your job easier and more profitable. 

I'm not a nolo fan but in truth I haven't looked at their lease to see what it has. There is some language that is required by law to be in a lease. I would be surprised if Nolo doesn't have that but beyond that, I would guess it would be minimal. 

Happy investing.

The beautiful thing about the Nolo leases, is that the language is very simple and clear.  I've actually spoken to judges who say they can't stand confusing contracts.  It's unnecessary, and can actually bite you in the butt if the judge thinks your contract was too confusing for your tenant to understand.

A contract just has to state what you're agreeing to.  That doesn't have to be confusing or convoluted.  The simpler the better.

When you've done this a lot, you'll see the difference when a tenant goes over a contract with you that is really easy to understand.  You can literally see them breathe a sigh of relief.  

Nolo contracts are written by lawyers - who understand how to write a simple contract.  That's why I love them.

And you really need to remember that you can write a contract that covers every little thing you can think of - but all that does is give you clear reasons to sue.  Do you really want to be in the position to sue?  Wouldn't you rather not have to ever sue?  

And remember, that your clever contract that covers everything you can possibly sue over, won't collect the money for you after you sue and hopefully win.

So, really, spend the money on screening instead of paying a lawyer to write a confusing contract - and then pay him later to represent you in a lawsuit against a tenant because you didn't want to spend the money on the best screening options available in the first place.