• Go to page :
  • 1 2
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
The Investment/Rental Property thread started by SIS is unbelievably insightful. However, as we know, some of it is outdated and the size is difficult to navigate. Also, I considered adding this to my last post - Text - but I didn't want to derail the conversation because it was extremely helpful and I believe many people will benefit from it going forward. With FW's help, my wife and I have decided to stick w/the original plan, of renting the condo(see above link).

With that thought, I would love to create a catch-all for drafting the "perfect" landlord/tenant lease (perfect may be a stretch). In other words, for the experienced landlords and newcomers, what are the most successful/least successful terms that you have worked into the lease and is there anything that you would add/remove in hindsight? I have read some individual posts addressing this, but I thought why not start a specific thread...

I would love to know the little details (e.g., pets, security deposits, moving fees, towing, appliances, replacing keys, payments, eviction & lease renewal processes, etc.). For instance, we are preparing to rent out a condo so two examples:

1. Laundry room on site w/debit style card: "tenants assume all responsibilities for loading the card and a $15 replacement fee, if lost"
2. Snow removal policy etc.(strict policy of moving cars by 10 AM following >3 inches of snow or be towed): "tenants assume all responsibilities for cars, including guests, if towed. Owner assumes no responsibility for towing in any circumstance" etc.

I know this can greatly vary by state (MA is particularly fickle) so I would have an attorney friend or family member review it first, but let's see what people's recommendations are.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
I'm not super high-end, but I want to live in a fancy beach town (SoCal), don't want to buy for now, and don't know how ... (more)

bullcity (Feb. 18, 2013 @ 9:19p) |

Keep in mind that many newly issued landlord policies are now starting to require that landlords force their tenants to ... (more)

geo123 (Mar. 01, 2013 @ 1:27p) |

This is a post I made a couple weeks ago to mrlandlord.com


I don't charge a fee for service calls, because if I can sched... (more)

rufflesinc (Mar. 01, 2013 @ 6:11p) |

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

There are standard lease forms available written to meet the specific landlord/tenant laws of each state. You should find one that's been written for your state. The ones I use for VA have sections for all of the important things that a landlord/tenant should consider. Cross out the sections that doesn't apply to you.

If you want to be extra careful, have it reviewed by a real estate attorney. This is more important in states that are tenant friendly. VA is a pretty rational state in this respect, so we were comfortable using the standard forms.

I make tenants pay the first 25 of each service call

Tenant here. Most of the lease I signed at my current apartment is either (a) unenforcable because it goes against local and federal laws or (b) without any sort of specific penalty for breaking the rules. For instance, there is a section about large parties, but it has no terms about penalties or fines. That means that if the landlord chooses to enforce it, he/she would have to go forward with an eviction. Not a great scenario. There is definitely something to be said about using a generic lease which will also bring up some commonly overlooked things like lead paint disclosure. Having a real estate attorney look over it is also a great idea.

robby152 said:   I make tenants pay the first 25 of each service call

While that may limit unnecessary calls for light bulb changes, I really think it unfairly penalizes the tenants for legitimate issues.

This is difficult in some areas like LA County due to the city-specific rent-control ordinances which impose substantially more hardships upon landlords than state law.

NikeFace said:   2. Snow removal policy etc.(strict policy of moving cars by 10 AM following >3 inches of snow or be towed): "tenants assume all responsibilities for cars, including guests, if towed. Owner assumes no responsibility for towing in any circumstance" etc.

So if a tenant is out of town/not home, or an elderly person who can not get out in the snow (not to mention.. move car... where?) you will tow their car so you can remove snow around it? No way I would move in to that property.

I believe in our lease, it specifically says that general maintenance items like light bulbs, smoke alarm batteries, AC filters, and other such small consumables are the responsibility of the tenant. And usage related issues like clogged plumbing are also handled directly by the tenant. We only send in people for major appliance failures, AC/heating issues, and structural issues such as water leaks, drafty windows, and etc.

Quikboy4 said:   While that may limit unnecessary calls for light bulb changes, I really think it unfairly penalizes the tenants for legitimate issues.
or have them not report things that could be more costly if left unrepaied. Why not save up until the place has gone to hell so you can just have 1 service call for everything?

FSBox said:   There are standard lease forms available written to meet the specific landlord/tenant laws of each state. You should find one that's been written for your state. The ones I use for VA have sections for all of the important things that a landlord/tenant should consider. Cross out the sections that doesn't apply to you.

If you want to be extra careful, have it reviewed by a real estate attorney. This is more important in states that are tenant friendly. VA is a pretty rational state in this respect, so we were comfortable using the standard forms.


This would seem to be by far the wisest course, except that I would suspect that any first-time/inexperienced landlord would do well to spend an hour or two with a good attorney.

The only thing I'd add is that, in general, tenants resent being nickel-and-dimed. I recently saw a lease that was so larded down with fees that it was off-putting. Individually, I'm sure each and every fee seemed reasonable to the landlord, but cumulatively? Not good.

My area has a landlord's coalition which for a small annual fee provides copies of customizable leases that are tailored to our local rental laws, as well as provides advice on advertising, tenant screening services, credit checks, basic tax advice, evictions, etc. It's well worth it. I'd encourage any new landlord to see if their local area has a similar group.

Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound

vipercon said:   NikeFace said:   2. Snow removal policy etc.(strict policy of moving cars by 10 AM following >3 inches of snow or be towed): "tenants assume all responsibilities for cars, including guests, if towed. Owner assumes no responsibility for towing in any circumstance" etc.

So if a tenant is out of town/not home, or an elderly person who can not get out in the snow (not to mention.. move car... where?) you will tow their car so you can remove snow around it? No way I would move in to that property.


Yes, without a formal rule cars would never be moved and lot would never be cleared causing potential hazards. It's the only way to do it with a 56 unit property. We have a YMCA and public lot near by, which are free and recommended to be used. In addition, there is a parking garage that cost $5 per night about 300 yards away - I always put the car in there if snowing just to save all of the trouble. All owners/tenants must coordinate moving the car, if not able, for any reason. 150 tow fee if not moved.

Edit: I assist a single elderly neighbor, but without the help of someone like me, she would be in trouble.

FSBox said:   I believe in our lease, it specifically says that general maintenance items like light bulbs, smoke alarm batteries, AC filters, and other such small consumables are the responsibility of the tenant.A word of very simple advice to all the landlords out there: do not rely on your tenants to do maintenance that is designed to protect the landlord's property or that is designed to extend the useful life of the landlords' equipment but which does not otherwise affect your tenants' lives. A/C filters is one such item. If you rely on your tenants to replace them, it will never get done and you'll end up paying for A/C repairs. Get those 3-month filters and replace them yourself. Even if you leave a/c filters for your tenants and send them reminder emails, they have no incentive to do it and there's a high probability of it never getting done or never getting done properly (they'll put filters in against the airflow, which will have the same effect as having a severely clogged filter in there). There is a reason that practically every single apartment complex out there has personnel that replaces all the a/c filters without relying on their tenants to do it.

Smoke alarm batteries is another such item (just replace all the smoke alarm batteries periodically, like once a year or two). Working smoke alarms make it that much less likely that the landlord's property will sustain significant damage and also make it that much less likely that the tenants and their guests will be injured or killed, which is not only a humane thing to do but also amounts to a good business decision for the landlord for all the obvious reasons (lawsuits, loss of paying tenants, reputational risks, etc...)

Make your tenants take care of all the regular consumables, however, as that saves you time and is more convenient for your tenants (it's easier for them to replace their own light bulbs than to wait for you to show up to do it; if you are ultra nice, you may want to leave them some spare light bulbs). This is an example of something that directly benefits them without impacting you in any way, since if they choose not to replace light bulbs, it won't damage your property and they can sit in the dark.

To me, clogged drains should be a case by case decision. If you just summarily tell your tenants to take care of those, they will pour a can of Drain-O down (and probably not tell you about it), which can end up costing you quite a bit later.

geo123 said:   To me, clogged drains should be a case by case decision. If you just summarily tell your tenants to take care of those, they will pour a can of Drain-O down (and probably not tell you about it), which can end up costing you quite a bit later.

How can you word this in a lease? I'm having a drain issue with a current tenant. Once a month type of deal. The first time I had roto-rooter destroy the roots and really clean it out for ~$300, but they did a shitty job and I have to have them come out again.

I want to get drains unclogged by a professional, but if the tenant is going to keep doing it, how would you verbalize in the lease that excessive drain issues will be paid by the tenant...when the pipes are in good working order?

Al3xK said:   geo123 said:   To me, clogged drains should be a case by case decision. If you just summarily tell your tenants to take care of those, they will pour a can of Drain-O down (and probably not tell you about it), which can end up costing you quite a bit later.

How can you word this in a lease? I'm having a drain issue with a current tenant. Once a month type of deal. The first time I had roto-rooter destroy the roots and really clean it out for ~$300, but they did a shitty job and I have to have them come out again.

I want to get drains unclogged by a professional, but if the tenant is going to keep doing it, how would you verbalize in the lease that excessive drain issues will be paid by the tenant...when the pipes are in good working order?


How is that the tenants fault? Roots are owners fault/problem so the tenant should not have to pay for that.

A simple any damage or use that is not in good following will be up to the tenant to pay for. i.e. pouring grease down the drain, tampons in the toilet, etc...

Al3xK said:   geo123 said:   To me, clogged drains should be a case by case decision. If you just summarily tell your tenants to take care of those, they will pour a can of Drain-O down (and probably not tell you about it), which can end up costing you quite a bit later.

How can you word this in a lease? I'm having a drain issue with a current tenant. Once a month type of deal. The first time I had roto-rooter destroy the roots and really clean it out for ~$300, but they did a shitty job and I have to have them come out again.

I want to get drains unclogged by a professional, but if the tenant is going to keep doing it, how would you verbalize in the lease that excessive drain issues will be paid by the tenant...when the pipes are in good working order?
For obvious reasons I can't and won't give specific legal advice. As a general matter, however, I think that it is appropriate to have a contractual provision that makes tenants responsible for all consequences of their own negligence, improper use, etc...

I don't always put it in my posts, but it goes without saying that I am not your lawyer and this is not legal advice. As always, it is important to conduct your own due diligence regarding all information that you come across on the Internet, including my posts, to ensure its accuracy, completeness and applicability to your specific situation.

I gotcha. So verbiage that they're responsible for consequences of their own negligence and improper use...well said.

@Marlin1975, I meant after I got it cleaned out really well. There are girls in the house who can plug it up with hair/tampons whatever.

subscribing

Al3xK said:   geo123 said:   To me, clogged drains should be a case by case decision. If you just summarily tell your tenants to take care of those, they will pour a can of Drain-O down (and probably not tell you about it), which can end up costing you quite a bit later.

How can you word this in a lease? I'm having a drain issue with a current tenant. Once a month type of deal. The first time I had roto-rooter destroy the roots and really clean it out for ~$300, but they did a shitty job and I have to have them come out again.

I want to get drains unclogged by a professional, but if the tenant is going to keep doing it, how would you verbalize in the lease that excessive drain issues will be paid by the tenant...when the pipes are in good working order?


Not sure about RR in your area but from experience, I believe they have a 6 month warranty. If you still have issues, call them back out and tell them they did a crappy job the first time. I did this and haven't had a problem since the second cleanout (grease from previous owners in pipes).

raspino said:   subscribing

Use the "Subscribe to Topic" button on top. We don't really need to know.

As Quikboy stated one that follows your state/local laws is primary. Read them and understand what they say. Provide copies of condo rules and have tenant sign stating that they received and will adhere to, be responsible for....

I'd say finding the perfect tenant is more important then having the perfect lease. Make sure your screening process is very thorough, cross checking names, phone numbers, property ownership when individually managed.... Learn how to read people and what they say, or dont...and how they conduct themselves.

I've never changed a tenants light bulb, or unclogged their toilet, nor have I been asked, not sure where other people live. If I have to replace bulbs when they move out I don't even give it a second thought. If I am asked to repair something, I repair it... If it is chargeable I get the cause in writing from professional hired to do job. If chargeable I let them know...expect payment...if they don't pay I save for move out charge... If a long term tenant may be forgiven, depending on tenants status at time of move out. Its called good will, not nickel and diming, and not creating any animosity in relationship.. I've collected late charge ( 1 time late) and have even refunded those at time of move out to a long term tenant that was cooperative and in good standing at time of move out. Its all how you want to conduct yourself.

Quikboy4 said:   robby152 said:   I make tenants pay the first 25 of each service call

While that may limit unnecessary calls for light bulb changes, I really think it unfairly penalizes the tenants for legitimate issues.


Beggars are not choosers.

As someone who has been a landlord for 25 years, and never been to court and has had minimal tenant disputes, JAX's advice to screen tenants carefully is the best. Any lease may or may not be enforceable, and even if it is, court costs and the accompanying grief far often outweigh the value of a legal victory. And then there is the issue of collecting the judgement. If the tenant goes to another state, or has a co-signer in another state, good luck trying to collect a judgement.

A random tip: When screening tenants, don't just call their current landlord--call the one before that. Current landlords who want to get rid of a tenant may give them an undeserved positive review.

king0fSpades said:   Quikboy4 said:   robby152 said:   I make tenants pay the first 25 of each service call

While that may limit unnecessary calls for light bulb changes, I really think it unfairly penalizes the tenants for legitimate issues.


Beggars are not choosers.


What?

DON'T try to write your own "perfect" lease, EVEN IF you know all the applicable State and local laws.
Almost every area has its own standard lease. For example, in NYC it's the Blumburg lease for non-rent stabilized apartments and the RSA lease for rent stabilized ones.

Judges and attorneys don't want to waste time reading and trying to figure out your unique "perfect" lease. Remember, any phrase that is ambiguous or questionable gets counted against YOU, the landlord who wrote it. The standard leases have literally been tried hundreds of times in courts and work. Use them.

For what it's worth, the "perfect lease" is a fair lease in which both parties get the benefit of their bargain.

From a tenant's perspective: I rent high-end properties; if you want sophisticated tenants, then you need to offer fair terms that don't unreasonably shift burdens to "protect" yourself. Write the cost of maintenance and occasional things going wrong into your rental price. I don't want a landlord to nickel and dime me because they suck at financial planning. And I'm more likely to stay long-term in a rental where the landlord treats me fairly and covers things that are cost-of-ownership things and not a result of my negligence (i.e., roots in the drainpipes). And readjust your concept of "fair"--your "brand new carpets" are NOT "brand new" 7 years later, so you can't use exiting tenants to try to get full replacement cost.

Also, if there are things you "want" -- regular landscaping done a certain way by a certain company -- just cover that cost yourself, up the rent price, and save us both the hassle. Anything you can write off on your taxes and I can't makes sense for you to cover.

Also, as a high-end tenant, I do not want to have to deal with you invading my privacy or having onerous terms (crap like "move your car by 10 a.m. after 3 inches of snow"). Protect yourself from the big issues that can impact the long-term value of your property (smoking, pet limits, etc.), and don't worry about the little crap, and you'll have a much better relationship with your tenants.

Agreed w/bullcity, "golden rule" comes to mind!

Quikboy4 said:   robby152 said:   I make tenants pay the first 25 of each service call

While that may limit unnecessary calls for light bulb changes, I really think it unfairly penalizes the tenants for legitimate issues.


It might also encourage them to do their own little duct tape repair, which you might find out about 3 tenants later.

Thank you. Two things to clarify to keep the conversation on track.

First, obviously there is no perfect lease. Furthermore, I, and hopefully everyone else realizes FW does not qualify as or provide legal advice. And as I said in the OP, an attorney will definitely be looking over my lease. I just want to collect thoughts.

Second, since a couple of people have addressed it, including bullcity (great post by the way) - the snow policy. Like I said, my condo is 1 of 56 units on the property. Each until has 2 spots plus another 30 visitor spots. On any given winter night, there can be 100+ cars depending on the day of the week. Do you guys get snow? The hazards (ice etc) are far worse than needing to move a car by 10 especially if we get dumped on. Please note, this is not my rule when we rent out the condo, it's a rule of the condo bylaws, which I do support as aggravating as it can be sometimes. Also, keep in mind that it is by 10 AM the day after the snow stops even if it snows for 3 days like last week (only if 3 inches on the ground after it stops) so its not like you're forced to go out in a storm, ever.

We own two cars and I commute to work via a 6:30 AM train (I walk) and even we have never had a car towed. Its pretty simple and necessary. See my other post half-way up - there are 3 places to put cars at 10 AM, which are extremely convenient.

Getting back on track, in short, since a condo bylaw/handbook is provided to me as an owner, including things like snow policy, cleaning after pets outside, pool hours, laundry room, etc. Is it good practice to attach the bylaws to the lease and have tenant initial/sign it so they are aware of policies?

In no way am I trying to micromanage this place, but as a HOA, rules are in place and I want tenants to recognize so and not expect me to pay for it...

what people's recommendations are.

Visit large (local) apartment complex's admin office (or better find them online) and they may be able to provide you copy of lease. These lease are vetted out by their lawyers. I found one online similar way.

JaxFL said:   As Quikboy stated one that follows your state/local laws is primary. Read them and understand what they say. Provide copies of condo rules and have tenant sign stating that they received and will adhere to, be responsible for....

I'd say finding the perfect tenant is more important then having the perfect lease. Make sure your screening process is very thorough, cross checking names, phone numbers, property ownership when individually managed.... Learn how to read people and what they say, or dont...and how they conduct themselves.

I've never changed a tenants light bulb, or unclogged their toilet, nor have I been asked, not sure where other people live. If I have to replace bulbs when they move out I don't even give it a second thought. If I am asked to repair something, I repair it... If it is chargeable I get the cause in writing from professional hired to do job. If chargeable I let them know...expect payment...if they don't pay I save for move out charge... If a long term tenant may be forgiven, depending on tenants status at time of move out. Its called good will, not nickel and diming, and not creating any animosity in relationship.. I've collected late charge ( 1 time late) and have even refunded those at time of move out to a long term tenant that was cooperative and in good standing at time of move out. Its all how you want to conduct yourself.


You have consistently presented yourself as a really good and reasonable landlord to work with, and this post just confirms it. If it weren't for the fact that my current (longterm) landlord is equally responsible - as well as being a great friend and neighbor - I'd be bugging you to buy some properties down the coast so I could rent from you

The way you get tenants to take care of small matters on their own is charge a service call fee. You word it as if it is always charged but only enforce it if at your descretion.

jedblanks said:   The way you get tenants to take care of small matters on their own is charge a service call fee. You word it as if it is always charged but only enforce it if at your descretion.There are several issues with this strategy. You'll scare off plenty of very good prospective tenants with this approach and, if it's not drafted and followed properly (which, in the residential lease context, it most likely won't be), create course of dealing/waiver issues for yourself. You also don't want to create a disincentive for the tenant to report legitimate issues and to try to "fix" them in a way that will cause further significant damage to your property.

As others have mentioned above, the key is to screen your tenants properly. We are ultra-selective when we select a tenant, which may cost us some potential tenants up front, but we've never had a late payment (had a payment once that arrived during the grace period), have never had a service call that I didn't regard as legitimate, have never had a situation where we've been forced to withhold from the security deposit and have also always had a great relationship with all our tenants. We've also never had a vacancy longer than 7 days (the time between turnovers tends to be 2-4 days).

bullcity said:   For what it's worth, the "perfect lease" is a fair lease in which both parties get the benefit of their bargain.

From a tenant's perspective: I rent high-end properties; if you want sophisticated tenants, then you need to offer fair terms that don't unreasonably shift burdens to "protect" yourself. Write the cost of maintenance and occasional things going wrong into your rental price. I don't want a landlord to nickel and dime me because they suck at financial planning. And I'm more likely to stay long-term in a rental where the landlord treats me fairly and covers things that are cost-of-ownership things and not a result of my negligence (i.e., roots in the drainpipes). And readjust your concept of "fair"--your "brand new carpets" are NOT "brand new" 7 years later, so you can't use exiting tenants to try to get full replacement cost.

Also, if there are things you "want" -- regular landscaping done a certain way by a certain company -- just cover that cost yourself, up the rent price, and save us both the hassle. Anything you can write off on your taxes and I can't makes sense for you to cover.

Also, as a high-end tenant, I do not want to have to deal with you invading my privacy or having onerous terms (crap like "move your car by 10 a.m. after 3 inches of snow"). Protect yourself from the big issues that can impact the long-term value of your property (smoking, pet limits, etc.), and don't worry about the little crap, and you'll have a much better relationship with your tenants.


not everyone has high end properties or high end tenants...

geo123 said:   jedblanks said:   The way you get tenants to take care of small matters on their own is charge a service call fee. You word it as if it is always charged but only enforce it if at your descretion.There are several issues with this strategy. You'll scare off plenty of very good prospective tenants with this approach and, if it's not drafted and followed properly (which, in the residential lease context, it most likely won't be), create course of dealing/waiver issues for yourself. You also don't want to create a disincentive for the tenant to report legitimate issues and to try to "fix" them in a way that will cause further significant damage to your property.

As others have mentioned above, the key is to screen your tenants properly. We are ultra-selective when we select a tenant, which may cost us some potential tenants up front, but we've never had a late payment (had a payment once that arrived during the grace period), have never had a service call that I didn't regard as legitimate, have never had a situation where we've been forced to withhold from the security deposit and have also always had a great relationship with all our tenants. We've also never had a vacancy longer than 7 days (the time between turnovers tends to be 2-4 days).


If you have issues with that strategy, then you aren't screening your tenants well enough.
The contract usually reads that the landlord reserves the right to charge an service fee and that small issues (less than the cost of he service fee) are to be taken care of by the tenant. I usually go over verbally what are small issues and what are not. I have never charged the fee and I always thank the tenant for notifying me of issues and fix them quickly.

If I were to get a tenant that called me every week, I'd use the fee clause.

Al3xK said:   geo123 said:   To me, clogged drains should be a case by case decision. If you just summarily tell your tenants to take care of those, they will pour a can of Drain-O down (and probably not tell you about it), which can end up costing you quite a bit later.

How can you word this in a lease? I'm having a drain issue with a current tenant. Once a month type of deal. The first time I had roto-rooter destroy the roots and really clean it out for ~$300, but they did a shitty job and I have to have them come out again.

I want to get drains unclogged by a professional, but if the tenant is going to keep doing it, how would you verbalize in the lease that excessive drain issues will be paid by the tenant...when the pipes are in good working order?


I insert the following into the lease or lease addendum if its a local lease template. It should resolve any disputes over responsibility for cost of drain cleaning:

#XX. DRAIN STOPPAGES:
As of the date of this Agreement, Owners warrant that the dwelling’s sewage drains are in good working order and that they will accept the normal household waste for which they were designed. They will not accept things such as diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, children’s toys, wads of toilet paper, balls of hair, grease, oil, table scraps, clothing, rags, sand, dirt, rocks, or newspapers. Tenants agree to pay for clearing the drains of any and all stoppages except those which the plumber who is called to clear the stoppage will attest in writing were caused by defective plumbing, tree roots, or acts of God. Please use a drain filter to save unnecessary time & money with repairs.

jedblanks said:   If you have issues with that strategy, then you aren't screening your tenants well enough.It's actually the opposite, since if your tenants are screened properly, you don't need this strategy at all, as your tenants won't be calling you over issues that aren't legitimate.

Once again, the issues with this approach are noted in my preceding post.

The contract usually reads that the landlord reserves the right to charge an service fee and that small issues (less than the cost of he service fee) are to be taken care of by the tenant. I usually go over verbally what are small issues and what are not. I have never charged the fee and I always thank the tenant for notifying me of issues and fix them quickly.

If I were to get a tenant that called me every week, I'd use the fee clause.
See my post above for an explanation. It's obviously well intentioned but, because of the issues I noted above, isn't something that in my humble opinion is advisable.

NikeFace said:   Thank you. Two things to clarify to keep the conversation on track.

First, obviously there is no perfect lease. Furthermore, I, and hopefully everyone else realizes FW does not qualify as or provide legal advice. And as I said in the OP, an attorney will definitely be looking over my lease. I just want to collect thoughts.

Second, since a couple of people have addressed it, including bullcity (great post by the way) - the snow policy. Like I said, my condo is 1 of 56 units on the property. Each until has 2 spots plus another 30 visitor spots. On any given winter night, there can be 100+ cars depending on the day of the week. Do you guys get snow? The hazards (ice etc) are far worse than needing to move a car by 10 especially if we get dumped on. Please note, this is not my rule when we rent out the condo, it's a rule of the condo bylaws, which I do support as aggravating as it can be sometimes. Also, keep in mind that it is by 10 AM the day after the snow stops even if it snows for 3 days like last week (only if 3 inches on the ground after it stops) so its not like you're forced to go out in a storm, ever.

We own two cars and I commute to work via a 6:30 AM train (I walk) and even we have never had a car towed. Its pretty simple and necessary. See my other post half-way up - there are 3 places to put cars at 10 AM, which are extremely convenient.

Getting back on track, in short, since a condo bylaw/handbook is provided to me as an owner, including things like snow policy, cleaning after pets outside, pool hours, laundry room, etc. Is it good practice to attach the bylaws to the lease and have tenant initial/sign it so they are aware of policies?

In no way am I trying to micromanage this place, but as a HOA, rules are in place and I want tenants to recognize so and not expect me to pay for it...


All my leases have something to the effect below. The standard local realtor lease also has similar language. You provide a copy of the condo bylaws at lease signing along with below language, and you're covered(as far as duty to inform tenant in writing). It would help to point out the sticking points that the condo really likes to enforce for tenant awareness. This way, if tenant violates condo rules, its also a lease violation and grounds for lease termination i.e. noise violations etc.

#XX. CONDOMINIUM POLICIES
If the leased premises are included in a condominium association or homeowners association, you agree to abide by its bylaws, rules, and regulations including as they may be amended and that failure to do so is a violation of this lease.

wordgirl said:   JaxFL said:   As Quikboy stated one that follows your state/local laws is primary. Read them and understand what they say. Provide copies of condo rules and have tenant sign stating that they received and will adhere to, be responsible for....

I'd say finding the perfect tenant is more important then having the perfect lease. Make sure your screening process is very thorough, cross checking names, phone numbers, property ownership when individually managed.... Learn how to read people and what they say, or dont...and how they conduct themselves.

I've never changed a tenants light bulb, or unclogged their toilet, nor have I been asked, not sure where other people live. If I have to replace bulbs when they move out I don't even give it a second thought. If I am asked to repair something, I repair it... If it is chargeable I get the cause in writing from professional hired to do job. If chargeable I let them know...expect payment...if they don't pay I save for move out charge... If a long term tenant may be forgiven, depending on tenants status at time of move out. Its called good will, not nickel and diming, and not creating any animosity in relationship.. I've collected late charge ( 1 time late) and have even refunded those at time of move out to a long term tenant that was cooperative and in good standing at time of move out. Its all how you want to conduct yourself.


You have consistently presented yourself as a really good and reasonable landlord to work with, and this post just confirms it. If it weren't for the fact that my current (longterm) landlord is equally responsible - as well as being a great friend and neighbor - I'd be bugging you to buy some properties down the coast so I could rent from you
Well thank you, that is very kind to say, and I agree with you 100+%

Skipping 28 Messages...
This is a post I made a couple weeks ago to mrlandlord.com
I've only been in the business for 6 mos and have only been looking at properties to rent for a year, and have been fortunate not to have any major unexpected problems or expenses. BUT, I have had a significant number of calls that describe a situation requiring immediate attention. When I go to the property, it turns out to be a big nothing. Of course that's a big relief and better than the alternative, but it's still a wasted trip. I hope the pros can chime in to each of the occurrences and help me improve in the future.

1) Tenant A calls because a circuit breaker tripped. This is a problem as the previous owner (also investor) had a commericial grade fire alarm installed and it was beeping loudly, and I hadn't figured out how to turn it off. I go there and in the living room, they've got their 40" big screen, iron, and space heater (the cheap plastic kind) going on the same circuit. (the electrical has been updated so it's not that obvious which outlets are on the same circuit) I explain about the current draw and they unplug the heater and all is well.

2) Tenant A calls again, breaker keeps tripping. They've learned their lesson and have tried unplugging everything that seems to be on that circuit. I go over and sure enough everything in the living room is unplugged. I get my plugin tester and check each plug one by one. Turns out there's an outlet behind their big coat container and a surge protector (nothing plugged in) was the culprit. Tenant chucks it and all is well.

3) Tenant B calls, dishwasher started leaking into the basement. They have turned it off and leak stopped. I decide this is worth leaving to the next morning. After a visual inspection, it's obvious one plate they loaded butted against the door preventing it from sealing but still allowing it to "click." I clean and dry the area, in the process breaking through one of the particleboard things below the cabinets to check for water damage.

4) Tenant A calls, the stove caught on fire!!! They were boiling water and suddenly flames wooshed. I go there, nothing to see, no signs of damage anywhere. Test all the burners, and even replicate their water boiling exercise, nothing. Give up and go home.

5) Tenant A calls again, two of the burners on their electric coil stove isn't working. This one is the "drop-in" kind that we didn't replace and looked like it was aging, but still worked when we were fixing the place up. I go there and they had taken the burners out to clean, put them back, but didn't plug them in.

6) Tenant A does not know how to use the garbage disposal. I dont really know what the problem is. One time the complaint was that the water was not draining on the disposal side of the sink. I go there, clean it out, and it runs terribly and dies. Did some googling on the cell, found out about the red button, and got it working again. Still sounded bad so went outside and got some icicles and set those down , and all was good.

6) Tenant A complains about a smell. This was a previous thread I made. I ended up doing a mold test with the tenant not home using a tester I used before. The test results were negative AND the tester guy found the tenant had mold on his WOODEN trash can, which of course I took pics of.

7) Tenant A complains that his garage door doesn't close. At this point I'm a bit wiser now and decide to troubleshoot with him on the phone instead of running over (open garage door a liability at night??). I ask him if it opened accidentally, no, he says, they opened it normally in the morning but forgot to close it during the day, and in the evening it wouldn't close. I ask him if it makes any noise when he tries to close it and it says it works a little but stops. I realize today it started snowing pretty heavy during the day and tell him to wipe down the sensors. He does and it works again.

8) Tenant A complains again about the garage door. Troubleshooting doesn't work as it's during the day and I'm at my job so I have to go there in the evening. This time it's partly my fault. We screwed the metal bracket for the sensor to the garage wood frame but didn't pay attention to how the metal attached to the plastic casing of the sensor. Tenant had knocked the plastic part of the sensor out of the metal.

Next time I'm thinking of having them use Skype/facetime to show me the problem...


I don't charge a fee for service calls, because if I can schedule them to my convience (as opposed to running out in a winter night) then I use it to do a maintenance check and make sure there's nothing they haven't noticed yet (found a leak under a sink once). I do have a clause in my lease that tenant is responsible for repairs less than $20. This is just to have them replace their own light bulbs, as other posters have said, you WANT them to bring to attention any issues that affect the property itself.

I rent SFHs to upper middle class folks (six figures or close to it, before tax) so while they are good at what they do and not trouble makers, they might not be very handy around the house. They will take responsibly if it's blatantly their fault but won't hesitate to ask you to fix something. Aside from an oven dying on move-in, it's never cost me more than $10 to fix something.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014