How to Draft a Lease Agreement

11 Replies

Hello Everyone!

I was interested in seeing how you fellow landlords go about drafting a Lease Agreement?

Do you use a professional such as a RE attorney or did you borrow a draft from someone and edit it to your preferences? I do not have a property just yet but I would like to be ahead of the game and get a draft written up (or borrowed) before I purchase the property.

Thank you for any input!  

I drafted my own and then had an attorney look over it to make sure everything was done correctly.

For my first few properties I just googled a sample lease for in my state. Used that for awhile, never had an issue. Once I bought more property, I wanted a built proof lease!

When starting out I used to make my own downloaded from certain sites and tweaked to my liking and research.

Bad idea!

For $200 I got a RE attorney to draft a perfect one that included covering all the laws and caveats necessary to cover my a$$.
And wow was I missing a lot. That $200 not only gave me a solid lease but it was a priceless learning experience from the lawyer about the multiple laws in Florida.

I also found out through her that there was a law firm in town that did pro-Bono work for tenants who felt they were wronged and usually won!

Originally posted by @Nicholas Armstrong :

 @Peter Mason 

Great to know, Thanks for the wisdom!

I would like to know the answer to what @AUDREY DESOUZA asked, Peter.

Could you give us an idea of some things you missed?

Hey yeah sorry for the late reply, busy with the whole Thanksgiving thing.

Well I uploaded a blank copy of the lease to the site but since I am new I am not sure if I can add a link to the forum to make it easier for you guys to find it. The name of it is FLease2010. Any tips on doing that would be appreciated.

Anyway, there was a lot to learn from it. I'll try to remember the things that stuck out. I don't use it anymore because I have a PM now and they use their own lease.

My attorney created the lease that would not only cover me but also allow her to more easily defend me or fight for me in a court of law should the need arise.

Things that stuck out for me at the time:

-initial on every page on top of signing full signatures in a couple places. I was told to go over each page with the tenant discussing highlights and then having them initial right away. (I of course gave them a copy before this with enough time to read over it first)

-exact instructions for acceptable rent payments and late fees

-where the deposit was going to be held. This is also where I found out that deposits should be held in a non interest bearing account.

-what was required by me (responsibilities) and what was required of them.

-What I was NOT liable for

-repairs I was not required to make (this is a good one!)

If you can find it, you will see a lot in there. Hopefully you can get the idea. Feel free to use it if you like but just remember (***DISCLAIMER***) this was a lease that was made 5 years ago and may not be up to date with current Florida laws and certainly not with laws of other states.

Starting off can be really daunting believe me I know. If there is any more that I can help you with feel free to let me know. We all have to start somewhere!

Not a lawyer so no legal advice. I always start out with a lease from legal zoom and than alter it. These are the 38 addendum's I put into my lease. 

  1. Appliances included with the Rental
  2. Month
  3. Direct Deposit
  4. Late Fees
  5. Pet Fees
  6. Utilities
  7. Assignment and Subletting
  8. No Smoking
  9. Maintenance
  10. Entry By Landlord
  11. Extended Absence By Tenant
  12. Termination on Sale of Premises
  13. Lease Termination Provision for Military Personnel
  14. Tenant Assumes Responsibility for Maintenance
  15. Battery Operated Device(s)
  16. Filters
  17. Steam Cleaning Carpets
  18. Professional Cleaning
  19. Landscaping
  20. HOA
  21. Keys, Garages/Gates
  22. Damages
  23. Renter’s Insurance
  24. Break Lease (Buy out Option)
  25. Alterations
  26. Pest Control
  27. Home Businesses
  28. Attic Storage
  29. Renting Sight Unseen
  30. Appliance Maintenance
  31. Fees/Violations
  32. Duct Cleaning
  33. Plumbing
  34. Changing Locks
  35. Play Structures, Trampoline, Pools and Other Large Outdoor Equipment
  36. Roommate
  37. As-Is Appliances

Here is a more in-depth article I wrote for bigger pockets. https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2015/10/17/38-addendums-battle-ready-lease/ Hope it helps. Good luck :) 

great topic and great board.. Some themes.. 

1. On the legal advice and real clauses you know you need as an experienced landlord, the best route may be not be either or but both, using the agreement terms you need in your business but getting them professionally examined, too...you know landlording, the attorney knows the law, so you get the best of both there, with the content you want in the right legal format and with no issues with your state laws...

2. On premade documents, I am partial to those made by legal publishers (I like Nolo but disclosure I did one work for them, though not forms) as a starting point (don't reinvent the wheel)but then adapt and customize these to your needs and state rules (with advice as stated in 1 above)..

3. These are also for expectations and insurance..with a great tenant (and a great lanldord like you!), you file the lease and hope you don't need to pull it out except to see when to renew, but it functions as insurance and the legal agreement should you need it...or there is an issue.. To that end, I like that people are also gearing the expectations and sharing the terms in your onboarding to help the tenancy run smooth ( like with some of the topics mentioned above)..

Best of luck

Sorry for the delayed response.

Thank you all so much for the advice! I looked at several duplexes today, so I need to get my draft written up ASAP. I think I'll pay a professional to write up my lease agreement. Maybe I can find a RE attorney that is also a RE Investor here on BP!