Common problems that landlords have with rental agreements

Each landlord has different priorities, so customization is important. So are details such as using the tenants’ legal names.

In California, many people work as landlords, renting out and managing scores of properties. For others, being a landlord might be something of a side venture, for example, renting out a room in their house or renting out a unit in a triplex they live in. However, experienced and new landlords alike can be susceptible to issues arising with their rental agreements, especially if a lawyer does not vet them. All it takes is one tenant and one issue for the landlord business to potentially go awry.

Skipping the agreement altogether

Why would anyone in this day and age forego a rental agreement? Good question, but it happens. For instance, landlords may rent a property out to friends or relatives and think an agreement is not necessary.

It is. Always. No matter what. Moreover, it should be in writing and be just like an agreement the landlord would make for tenants he or she did not know. Oral agreements leave too much room for misinterpretation and faulty memories.

Using a form template

Templates can give landlords some idea of what their agreements should look like, but it is not a good idea to change just a few small things, print a form out and use it as the agreement. For one thing, agreements should be specific to the property and the type of arrangement. A landlord who is renting out a room in the house he lives in would have different considerations than he would with a tenant living in a separate property.

Form templates also may not take into account local and state laws. Plus, someone with inadequate legal experience could have drawn them up.

Being casual with tenants' names

A landlord knows who his or her tenants are, so what is the harm in writing Nick Jones instead of Nicholas Jones? The reality is that landlords must use tenants' correct and legal names or risk the agreement not being enforceable. Landlords should avoid nicknames and shortened names and instead rely on official identification for the names that go on rental agreements.

Skipping customization

The specifics of a smart rental agreement tend to cover areas such as whether air conditioning will be provided, modifications that tenants are allowed to make, if pets are allowed and any maintenance duties the tenants have, among others. If a lease stays mum on an area, then a tenant could end up with a giant pet that a landlord never intended to live in the property or could end up repainting the property and redoing the floors.

The four issues listed above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to common problems in rental agreements. A lawyer in California can help landlords ensure that their contracts are legal and solid.