“What You Need To Know About The Standard Rental Agreement”

Does your standard rental agreement include the right content to ensure a smooth relationship between yourself and your tenant?

Rental agreements are shared with tenants by the property manager before the move-in date. Although a verbal agreement is generally accepted, a written standard rental agreement can undoubtedly be more beneficial for both parties involved in the long-run.

The purpose of a rental agreement is to protect the interests of both the tenant and the property manager. This is where the importance of a written one comes in.

Having something concrete to refer to can greatly reduce misunderstandings and chances of legal disputes taking place.

It’s therefore important that your standard rental agreement contains the right information to guide the tenants and property manager on how the tenancy should play out. That’s why in this article, we’ll discuss the essential parts of a standard rental agreement.

Understanding The Standard Rental Agreement

Not all tenant-property manager relationships can be expected to go without a hitch. Disagreements may arise and parties may end up pointing the finger at one another. This is when a rental agreement comes into major play. When such situations take place, it serves as a reference for both parties on the necessary steps that can be taken.

Before diving into the more in-depth discussion about a standard rental agreement, it is important to first understand what it is.

What Is A Standard Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement is a legally binding contract between the tenant and property manager. It is shared by the latter and terms are agreed to by both parties to the contract before the actual move-in date of the tenant. It differs from a lease agreement as it typically only covers a period of 30 days up to a little less than a year. This is usually used when the tenancy is not expected to last longer than a year.

Like a lease agreement, however, the rental agreement also contains policies, terms, and specific responsibilities of both parties. Once the agreement expires and the tenant has decided to renew, the property manager has the option to change the contents of the rental agreement. If neither party renews the contract, the rental contract will stay in place on a monthly basis, until the tenant vacates the property or there is a replacement contract negotiated like a lease agreement…

The Common Rental Provisions In A Standard Rental Agreement

The most important step that the tenants and the property manager can take is to sign their rental agreement. This agreement contains all the information that both will need in order to protect their interests – the tenants protect themselves and the property manager protects the property. Without it, both parties can be left with a financial and emotional burden.

In order to achieve its purpose, the content of the rental agreement is vital. Below are the basic provisions that you can expect in a standard rental agreement.

Introductory Provisions

The standard rental agreement must contain the names of all the individuals involved in the tenancy, including the names of all people that will be residing and the landlord. In addition to the names, various verifying information and contact details must also be given.

A description of the rental property is also written in the initial part of the rental agreement. It can be as simple as the address of the property and unit number. However, some agreements opt to give a detailed description of the property so the expectation of how the property will be left during the move-out date is in writing.

Monetary Provisions

The clause containing the monetary provisions is probably the most important part of a standard rental agreement. Details regarding the security deposit, amount of rent expected and due date of the rate is included in this part. Any actions that could cause an assessment of additional fees, like paying rent late, should also be noted and detailed in this section

When writing these provisions, it is recommended to specify the method of payment that is acceptable as well. It is also crucial to detail of how the security deposit will be used in order to avoid misunderstandings at the end of the tenancy.

Regulatory Provisions

The maintenance responsibilities of the property manager and the tenant are written on this part of a standard rental agreement.

The rental agreement should include a list of tasks that the property manager and tenants will be responsible for. It should also state the appropriate response time that the property manager must follow when a repair or maintenance is needed. If the tenant is responsible for the maintenance then the terms of that responsibility should be detailed as to how the repairs will be handled and who will be responsible for payment of the maintenance.

Commonly when maintenance requires a large payout the property manager needs to be involved to justify repairs and keep costs within a budget established for the property. Often the standard rental agreement will detail the notification of any and all maintenance or repairs by tenant prior to them addressing or fixing the issue.

The regulatory provisions of a standard rental agreement must ensure that both sides understand that they must adhere to their responsibilities for keeping the rented property in good condition. Failing to do so would result in major consequences.

Optional Provisions

A standard rental agreement can also include optional provisions that can be useful depending on the policies of the rental property business.

In this part, it would be recommended to consider adding the different options the tenants have when it comes to renewal, additional guests, restricted activities or rules concerning pets.

Unenforceable Lease Clauses

Though these clauses are not always written in a standard rental agreement, these unenforceable lease clauses can be handy to have.

  • Agreements that the landlord can repossess the properties if the tenant falls behind in the rent. Immediate possession of the property is not possible due to eviction laws. However, a standard eviction procedure should be done to remove the tenant from the property.
  • Agreements allowing the landlord to enter the rental unit any time (without notice). Entering a rented property without permission violates the tenant’s privacy. Unless there is a major catastrophe like a water main break or a natural disaster entering the property without notice is tenuous at best. Following the written procedure to enter the property is almost always held up in the rental courts as the standard.
  • Agreements that tenants will pay for all damages to the rental unit without regard to fault. This clause mainly relates to the security deposit and its uses. When major damages occur and the security deposit does not cover them, you can use this clause to sue the tenant for additional payments…  
  • Agreements that court action entitles the landlord to more money than can be ordered by the court. Sounds great but is seldom enforceable by the courts.

Where to Get Standard Rental Agreement Samples     

If it is your first time to write a standard rental agreement, then fret not! The Internet can prove to be an extremely helpful resource in this sense. Samples of rental agreements can be found in different formats: PDF, Word and even in Excel format.

Examples of sites where you can get a standard rental agreement are:

Final Thoughts On What to Know About Standard Rental Agreement

A standard rental agreement is a legal contract between a landlord/property manager and the tenant that lasts for typically a month. Very much like a lease agreement, the rental agreement must be signed before the actual start date of tenancy and contains all the necessary information about the tenancy.

Important and basic contents of a standard rental agreement are:

  • Introductory provisions
  • Monetary provisions
  • Regulatory provisions
  • Optional provisions

Regulatory provisions detail the different responsibilities of the property manager and tenants.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, it’s important to specify which tasks will be carried out by whom. It’s also recommended to include optional provisions, depending on any special policies you may have in your property rental business.

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ARTICLE: What You Need To Know About The Standard Rental Agreement

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