Hey Landlord! Is Your Lease Legal?
by Mark Walters
The longer you are a landlord the more you strive to create
the perfect lease/rental agreement. Landlords learn in
the school of hard-knocks that some tenants are certified
trouble makers and we try our best to protect ourselves
with a carefully structured restrictive lease.
That's just good business.... but be careful you don't
include any provisions in your lease that may not be legal.
It would be illegal to include a provision that states
the resident agrees not to include his or her lease (the
lease on your property) in their bankruptcy filing...
should their bankruptcy become necessary.
Bankruptcy laws are Federal.. lease law is state law.
Anyone can file for bankruptcy and invoke all protections
afforded to them by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code... including
not making lease payments... at least temporarily.
Here's another caution...
It would be illegal for your lease to require that residents
be responsible for injuries he or she sustain during the
lease term. The law can legally hold landlords liable
for damages and injuries caused due to negligence. A landlord
cannot contract that away.
How about repairs....
The same would apply to a requirement that the tenant
be responsible for all necessary repairs. In every state
the law mandates that landlords perform certain repairs
to maintain the property and keep it habitable.
Does your lease contain a clause concerning attorney fees?...
Requiring a renter to pay for all of the landlord's legal
fees and costs regardless of a court case out come would
also be a lease no-no.
Most good leases have stood the test of time and will
help you avoid legal problems. Just don't ask tenants
to sign it until you have read and completely understand
every line of the lease you are using.
You'll find the lease we use here...
About the Author
Mark Walters is a third generation real estate investor
and he shares his experience through two Web sites...