lease agreement

5 Replies

I would not recommend using a standard form lease agreement you find on random websites. If you want to go that route, your local Real Estate Commissions likely have some bare bones one you could use. The problem with these bare bones leases is that they rarely have the provision you need to adequately protect yourself when certain things happen, such as needing to ask for attorneys fees for collections efforts, if your tenant claims that you made some oral modifications, etc. I would recommend working with an attorney to draft a lease for use in your business going forward.

@Scott DeLange , I agree with Matthew. Do not make the mistake of using a lease off the internet. First, even if it appears to come from a legitimate source (, for example) you don't know if it is the updated version or if it would work in your state. Start by checking with either your local professional rental housing association or your local real estate association. You may be able to purchase copies of those leases for a fee, or if you have a realtor you partner with, I'm sure that person can get one to you. 

These agencies have already had their lease reviewed by an attorney to satisfy not only the laws of the state but also Federal Fair Housing laws that prevent discrimination of certain groups. And of course, you can always pay an attorney who specializes in real estate tenant-landlord law to draft one for you.

Hope that helps and good luck with your rental!

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I completely disagree.  The Nolo contracts are written by lawyers, they're easy to understand by tenants and can be edited to include your rules about parking or whatever.  And they're really affordable.

By the way, their landlord books are fantastic, including forms and MP3 podcasts, etc.

I used their CA one and used all their forms.  Once you buy the book, you can get any free updates.  I think this new subscription service I linked for you above, is a great idea, as it would be automatically updated.

The owner I worked for had a membership in the local apartment association (SF Bay Area) and I hated their contracts.  They were in tiny font and ridiculously confusing.  There's just no need to confuse a tenant and it can backfire on you in court if your contract is too complicated for a tenant to understand.  In my opinion.

I had a great teacher in one of my real estate classes that I took in college.  To help us learn how to understand contracts, she said first to cross out any of the "heretowiths,"  "heretofores", "whereins" "aforementioneds," etc., and then they begin to make sense.

This is a funny article on the subject of how to draft a bad contract, written by a lawyer: