A lease or a rental agreement is an important document when it comes to the rental property business. It highlights the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenants during their rental relationship.
For your Woodstock, Georgia lease 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 lease or rental agreement is a legally binding contract, so ensuring all your bases are covered is critical.
In this article, you’ll learn important items you should include in your Woodstock, Georgia lease or rental agreement.
1. The Term of the Lease
Don’t just assume your tenants will know when their lease will come to an end. Make sure to specify it.
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.
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 lease terms (rental rules) on all of them.
So, if one of the tenants 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 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 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 lease or rental agreement).
And, if you don’t allow subletting in your property, let them know that as well. Indicate the consequences of doing so.
4. Rent Rates & Security Deposits
This is often a source of conflict between landlords and tenants in Woodstock, Georgia. In most cases, this usually stems from a poorly written lease/rental agreement.
When it comes to rent matters, make sure 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 lease or rental 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.
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 lease agreement should explain your legal right to access the property. Practical reasons to enter the rental property include:
- Pursuant to a court order
- In the event your tenant abandons your property
- To inspect the property
- In case of an emergency
- To show the property to contractors, or potential tenants and buyers
- To make required improvements, alterations, or repairs
6. Repairs & Maintenance
Did you know that your Woodstock tenants 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 in the lease or rental agreement. 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. 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.