Whether you're a first-time landlord or a newly minted member of a homeowners' association, it's tempting to default to using a standard lease agreement. Most states issue a standard lease agreement for landlords to use as a guide. The National Association of Realtors and other industry groups have form templates as well.
The standard lease agreement will include the basics: Name and information for the lessor and lessee, property address, term of the lease, rental rate, security deposits, etc. These forms are a great reminder of what must be in a valid lease, but that's where they stop. That's why a standard lease agreement should only be used as a guide—not as your final lease agreement. Instead, refer to a standard lease agreement as a starting point, and build off of it from there.
There are a number of additional lease clauses that you can leverage to protect you as a property owner or manager. Here are five suggested lease clauses that you should consider including.
It's always worth having a lawyer prepare an initial lease agreement for you. It might cost a few hundred dollars, but it will be well worth it in the long run. That lease will be tailored to your specific property and circumstances, and it can be used for years to come.