Over the past few months, I have reviewed many, many home-grown and ‘Realtor-provided’ tenant leases for individual investors and homeowners who are trying to go it alone in the property management route. I have been shocked by what I have seen.
My philosophy is that manageing your own property is always the #1 option… no matter what a PM company says, nobody will give it the care and attention that you will.
Tenant leases are different. This is where you can loose your shirt, your home, and sometimes both. I have spent over $20,000 in legal, financial and other fees over the years on creating the ‘perfect’ lease. Even with a perfect lease, it is easy for a career rental abuser to make the ‘apparently perfect’ application package. You will love them. You will empathize with them. You will want to have a drink with them. Then they will squat in your property for 6 months without paying rent, knowing there is nothing you can do.
Please, please, if you DO do your own tenant leasing, make sure you:
- Do not give more than 5 days grace period before posting a Pay or Quit noitice. This will be their first test for you.
- ENFORCE late fees. Behavior is learned, not inherited.
- Mandate they carry renters insurance. I make them add myself or Echo Summit as an additional insured under the Liability section.
- Include a PAYMENT OF FUTURE RENT provision that allows you to accept partial rent payments in the middle of the evicton process (otherwise, you have to re-start the eviction clock every time you collect a penny)
- Here are some good free forms that I am happy to share with you
- Many other elements to consider, but at least make sure of these.