Which is the most important items to write in a lease?

5 Replies

I have started thinking about writing up my leases so I'm prepared once we purchase our multi family. What phrases have been a safety or the most useful points you have used in your lease?

There is no "one" most important, they are all important.

I always include that I will be doing regular/quarterly inspections to insure I maintain and protect the property to my highest standards.

This helps tennat feel good about you checking up on them.

Late payments not tolerated and late payments will apply in every case regardless. Issue of pay or quit notice on the 2nd of the month every time. This is all about training tennats to comply.

Easier to pull a standard lease off here or interweb and modify to suite rather than writing your own.

@Shannon H. , probably the most important things to do when writing your own lease, is making sure it is compliant with all landlord/tenant laws, and that you are following any local guidelines specific to your location. You also want to make sure you are properly using legal terms in the contract. Once you've written your lease, you can always run it by an attorney for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase one from them.

Now back to your original question, the list of clauses that every lease should have is very long, and they're all equally important. I would look for examples in the File Place, googling Lease Agreements, etc., and look them all over. Definitely include the things you consistently see on all of the examples, and pick and choose what you may or may not want from each one (some examples may have small things others don't).

The one thing that has provided me with a feeling of safety (and this doesn't apply to every landlord, I use it because so far my tenants have all been military), is making sure there's a clause where the tenant provides the information of their 1st Sergeant and/or Commander, and gives me permission to contact them should any issues arise. The military makes sure it's members follow their legal and financial obligations, so by getting the problem solved by their leadership, I am avoiding having to go to the courthouse, accruing any legal fees, etc etc.


Get a copy of your state associations lease as a model. Add as necessary with addendums or modify it if in PDF. Pets, smoking, early termination, property maintenance, criminal actions, etc should all be considered. As another poster stated, download and print your state laws to make sure you stay in compliance. BTW-as far as pets: a pet DEPOSIT may be required to be refunded. A pet FEE is yours to keep. 

Hi Shannon,

Your lease should be used to protect yourself against any problems that could potentially arise. With that being said, I would recommend using an online service that has state specific leases or speaking with an attorney first. There are a lot of very important things to include and wording is everything. I think the more specific you can get the better so it may help to speak with someone to get this first lease written up, then you can modify that in the future. 

Hi @Shannon H.

We go to Evict.com for our leases, and it only costs us $45 a lease. Our application fee is $100 and that pays for their screening and lease generation.

They make it simple for their users. They have fill in the blank options and drop down options to make the lease your own. They are drafted by attorneys, and then they become a resource for you. If you have a tenant dispute, you can call them for advice for free. 

Unless you're a lawyer, I wouldn't risk drafting your own legal document. You run the risk of contradictions and inconsistencies doing it yourself. 

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