A lease or a rental agreement is an important document/ form when it comes to the rental property business. It highlights the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant during their rental relationship.
For your Woodstock, Georgia lease agreement to be effective, it must contain certain key items. The goal is to ensure that it is as detailed as possible to help minimize the risk of confusion.
A residential lease agreement is a legally binding contract, so ensuring all your bases are covered is critical.
In this article, you’ll learn important items that you, as a landlord must include when you create your Woodstock, Georgia lease agreement.
1. The Term of the Lease
Don’t just assume your tenant will know when their lease will come to an end. Make sure to specify it on the form.
A lease term is the period of time within which the terms of the lease are enforceable. Lease terms are usually expressed in terms of months or years.
Leases are typically categorized into either short-term or long-term.
Short-term leases or month-to-month rental agreements run anywhere from a day (as is the case with vacation rentals) to up to eight months. On the other hand, long-term leases or fixed-term leases generally run for a full year.
As a landlord, your choice of whether to offer a short-term or long-term lease should depend on two things. One, the amount of flexibility you want in your tenant selection, and two, the amount of stability you want.
If your property is in a high-demand neighborhood, a short-term lease allows you to always have the pick of the crop. However, a long-term lease would be the best option if you are looking for stability and security over a longer period of time.
Whichever you choose, though, just remember to discuss it with your renter and clearly state it in the rental contract.
2. Names of All Tenants
Your Woodstock, Georgia agreement also needs to display the names of all adult tenants living in your property. By listing all your tenants’ names, you’ll be able to enforce the Georgia lease agreement terms (rental rules) on all of them.
So, if a tenant fails to pay rent, this gives you the right to ask for a payment from any adult tenant residing in the rental unit.
Moreover, it gives you, the landlord, the right to evict them from the rental unit should either of them violate the term of the agreement.
3. Occupancy Limit
Make sure to define your limits on occupancy. The last thing you want is your renter having people stay in your property without your consent.
It should be written in the document that it is against the lease agreement to allow their boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, and family members to live with them without being screened and approved.
It’s important that your tenant understands that the only people allowed to live in the property are those who’ve been qualified to do so (have signed the Georgia lease agreement).
And, if you don’t allow subletting in your property, disclose that as well. Indicate the consequences of doing so.
4. Rent Rates & Security Deposits
The security deposit is often a source of conflict between a landlord and tenant in Woodstock, Georgia. In most cases, this usually stems from a poorly written lease agreement document.
When it comes to renting matters, a landlord must ensure that the lease is clear on certain things, including:
- The exact amount of rent to be paid.
- Acceptable payment methods (check, credit card, online payment).
- When the rent is due. This is usually on the first day of the month.
- The penalty for late rent-payment, if applicable.
- Amount of grace period, if applicable.
- The consequences of not paying rent, including termination of the tenancy.
Besides the rent, your Georgia lease agreement also needs to be clear on matters regarding the security deposit. To avoid disputes, your rental contract should include:
- Amount of security deposit. Georgia State has no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level. However, be sure to check your city and county laws.
- How you are going to store the security deposit.
- How you are going to use the security deposit. Deposits are usually used to repair any damages and cannot be used as the last month’s rent.
- The condition the tenant must meet for them to qualify for a security deposit refund.
- Pre-existing damage. Georgia landlords should include a list of pre-existing damages in the unit before signing the lease agreement form.
5. Landlord Entry
Although Georgia does not have specific rental rules concerning when and how a landlord may enter the unit, providing adequate notice is appreciated. ‘Adequate notice’ may mean anywhere between 24 hours to 48 hours.
By doing so, you adhere to your tenant’s right to the quiet enjoyment of their homes.
In order to avoid a renter arguing illegal entry or invasion of privacy, your Georgia lease agreement should explain your legal right, as a landlord, to access the property. Practical reasons to enter the rental property include:
- Pursuant to a court order
- In the event that your tenant abandons your property
- To inspect the property
- In case of an emergency
- To show the property to a contractor, or potential tenant and buyer
- To make required improvements, alterations, or repairs
6. Repairs & Maintenance
Did you know that your Woodstock tenant can withhold paying rent if you neglect a repair problem? That’s right! The Georgia landlord-tenant law gives renters’ the right to habitable premises.
What you want to do is clearly set out both of your maintenance responsibilities when you create the lease agreement document. You could, for instance, state that it’s the tenant’s responsibility to keep the unit clean and sanitary.
You could also state that it’s the tenant’s responsibility to alert you to dangerous or defective conditions in the premises.
7. Pet Policy
Be clear on whether or not you allow pets in your rental property when you create the lease agreement forms. If you don’t, make sure your renter understands the consequences of breaching the rule.
If you do allow pets, then educate the renter on any restrictions you may have. For example, on the size, type, and breed of pet, you allow.
There you have it. Seven key items you should include in your Georgia rental agreement. If you find drafting one daunting, then please consider hiring local professional services. They will also be able to help you navigate landlord-tenant laws and other legal matters related to owning and managing rental properties.