You asked your attorney to review your tenancy agreement before you provided it to your tenants. But your attorney isn’t there to supervise the signing of the agreement.
No matter how strong the language of the lease may be, simple mistakes in executing it can cause income loss:
1. Tenant names are listed at the top of the lease. These names should come directly from each tenant’s photo ID. Each adult occupant should be listed on the tenancy agreement.
2. Missing pages or attachments make it difficult to enforce those provisions, even if the omission is unintentional. Consider numbering with “Page ____ of ____” to reduce the likelihood of dropped pages. Include page numbers on addenda and know the total number of pages in your tenancy agreement.
3. Go over the lease with the tenant in person and point out the material provisions:
The Notice to Tenant explaining that the landlord reports rent payments;
The rent amount and who pays utilities;
If a security deposit can be collected, remind tenants that it’s refundable. That provides tenants the incentive to pay rent and return the unit in good condition; and
Review important policies such as short-term sublets, pets, and other tenant responsibilities like how to make repair requests.
It’s crucial that tenants read the lease — and understand it.
4. The tenants identified in the first paragraph must sign the tenancy agreement. Print the name next to the signature line and insist that the tenant sign exactly as the name appears on the photo ID. Include enough signature lines when renting to multiple tenants and don’t turn over the keys until all tenants have signed. Keep the original signed lease and make copies for the tenants.
Note the date that the tenant signs the tenancy agreement, either at the top or next to the tenant’s signature.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.