Have a lease drafted or use an existing template?

6 Replies

I'm a newbie, still looking for my first small multi family to purchase. Trying to set up systems in the meantime, and looking at lease agreements. Should I use the lease agreement provided on the BP website? Or have one drafted by an attorney?


Read any lease you find on the internet very carefully. Make sure it contains all of the terms you want to see as a landlord (as long as they're legal in your state). I've found that I like to add additional addendums and terms to my lease that are more robust than a generic lease. As landlords, we want to make sure to protect our valuable assets as much as possible from tenant damage. Including a separate "Tenant Rules & Regulations" (Brandon Turner provides a great one with his Book on Managing Rental Properties) can be a tremendous help in setting the perception that you're a professional landlord with your tenants. With all of that being said, I used Legal Zoom to build my leasing packet. No matter what, make sure your lease/all documents comply with fair housing laws and are non discriminatory!



@Amy Martini - oh god no!! First it is expensive and second the result is usually mediocre at best and third, everyone from tenants to judges are sceptical about your lease!

In Milwaukee we have a print company that specializes on all forms landlords need, from applications, to 5 day notice, lead paint disclosures and pet agreements and about 100 more. 

They are called Wisconsin Legal Blank, look them up. Order their forms online, they are excellent, everyone knows them and they are very inexpensive. At least two thirds of leases I see (on listings) use their forms!

I know that won't help you, but I have to believe there is a similar company in Ohio offering all the forms you need!

Originally posted by @Amy Martini :

Should I use the lease agreement provided on the BP website? Or have one drafted by an attorney?

Neither - Join your local rental housing / landlord association and use theirs.  They have attys review leases constantly to make sure they meet the local laws.  I think getting one off BP is foolhardy.  In Portland, there are so many things (even SS number) I cannot ask about.

If you use an atty, what happens a year later when rules change.

As a landlord, you don't get one mistake if it goes all the way to court and FED.