As a landlord, your lease or rental agreement is one of the most crucial documents. It sets forth both you and your tenant’s rights and obligations.
Having a carefully drafted lease or rental agreement is therefore key. It’ll help prevent issues that may arise during the course of the tenancy. From rent-related issues to property damage – and plenty more.
This article covers some of the most vital terms you should include when drafting your Reno, NV rental agreement.
Item #1: Lease Term
Usually expressed in terms of months or years, a lease term is the period of time in which the terms of the lease are enforceable. Leases can be short term or long term.
Short-term lease agreements can run anywhere from a day to eight months. Where long-term usually means a 1-year lease agreement. Unlike short-term leases, long-term lease agreements provide more security and stability for the property owner.
Whether to rent short term or long term generally depends on the property type. If leasing a single-family home, then a “fixed” lease is ideal. If leasing a vacation rental, then a short-term lease is certainly a good option.
Regardless of the lease type though, make sure the agreement includes the period in which the lease is effective. The last thing you’d want is having to evict a “holdover” tenant. That is one who overstays his or her lease term.
Item #2: Tenants’ Names
Any basic Reno rental/lease agreement must also contain names of all the adult tenants residing in your rental property, regardless of their marital states.
This makes enforcing rental terms much easier, as every adult listed on the lease or rental contract is responsible for abiding by the rental rules.
This would mean that you legally allowed to ask any tenant for rent. Plus, it also means that you can legally evict a tenant from the unit in case any of them violate the rental contract.
Item #3: Occupancy Limits
Subletting can be stressful for landlords, especially if a tenant sublets a unit without your consent.
That’s why it’s important to define occupancy limits in your Reno rental/lease agreement. For example, plainly state who the occupants are. That is people who you have undergone your screening process and qualified to occupy your rental property.
By doing so, you’ll have the right to evict any person who occupies your property without your consent.
Item #4: Security Deposits and Rental Prices
Security deposits are often a source of conflict between tenants and landlords. A renter may think they left the property in good condition upon moving out, but the landlord may disagree.
So, to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding, you must clearly state the security deposit clause and rent on the Reno lease/rental agreement. For instance:
- The amount of security deposit. In setting the security deposit amount, ensure you stay compliant to Nevada security deposit limit.
- How the security deposit is going to be stored and returned.
- The conditions that must be met for it to be
- Any fees that are not refundable. For example, cleaning or pets.
You also need to be clear when it comes to rent-related issues. For example, the amount of rent, the due date, payment methods, and late rent fees, if any.
Item #5: Repairs and Maintenance
In the state of Nevada, tenants have the right to withhold rent or “repair and deduct.” That’s why it pays to ensure your Reno property meets the basic structural, health, and safety standards and is in good repair.
So you want to include things like:
- The renter’s responsibility to keep the rental unit in sanitary and clean
- A requirement that the tenant notifies you of defective or dangerous conditions in the Reno rental unit.
- Limits on what the renter can and can’t do. For example, device installations and painting.
Item #6: Landlord Entry
Once you rent out your Reno rental property, you’ll need to adhere to the Nevada landlord-tenant law. One key stipulation of this law is that you need to respect your tenant’s privacy.
This means that you must ensure that your renters have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their property. The only time you can enter your renter’s premises is after providing them with adequate notice.
The reason for the entry must also be reasonable. For example:
- To make required repairs, alterations, or improvements
- To exhibit or show the unit to prospective buyers, contractors, or tenants
- In the event there is an emergency
- To inspect the property
- If you have reasons to believe that your renter has abandoned the property
- Pursuant to a court order
Standard rental agreements must include a clause plainly stating the rights of the landlord to enter the property.
Item #7: Early Lease Termination
An early lease termination clause allows tenants to end their lease before it’s expiry, under certain conditions.
When including this term, it may help to consider things like:
- What will the tenant be liable for?
- The estimated cost of marketing the property again
- Will you permit tenants to sublet or sublease the property?
Item #8: Pets
To many of us, pets are family – even if they are covered in fur, feathers or scales. In fact, there are a whopping 85 million families in the U.S who own a pet, at least according to a recent survey conducted by the National Pet Owners.
So, if you allow pets in your Reno property, you’ll be able to tap into a larger tenant pool. You’ll also be able to charge a higher rental price. This is especially true if your neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of pet-friendly properties.
You may also benefit from longer tenancies. This is because it can be harder for them to find other pet-friendly options.
Allowing pets into your Reno rental property also has its disadvantages though. One such disadvantage is property damage. Animals can chew up carpets and scratch on the floors. It’s for this reason that many pet-friendly landlords charge a pet deposit.
If you choose to disallow pets in your rental property, then make sure you state in the lease/rental agreement that it’s a breach of contract to keep one. You should, however, exempt service dogs under the Fair Housing Act.
There you have it. 8 key items that every Reno landlord should include in their rental or lease agreement. If you are still left wondering how to write a lease agreement or just find drafting one of these documents daunting, then please hire expert services.