The Most Important Provisions for a Lease


If you’re like many of the other opportunistic and business-savvy Americans that has thrown their hat in the ring of landlord duties and rental properties galore, you know by now that your lease is the most important safeguard you have when protecting yourself and your family from terrible tenants and unforeseen events. If you’re looking to make sure your lease is airtight and sure to protect you, read through it and revise according to these vital lease provisions.

Tenants Must Have Renter’s Insurance

This clause is newer but it’s becoming more and more popular. Requiring your tenants to purchase their own renter’s insurance is a wise move, as most landlord and property insurance policies don’t cover the cost of their belongings, or events like fires, earthquakes and floods. The more coverage you have, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Luckily for tenants, inexpensive renter’s insurance is easy to come by, meaning this provision won’t be a huge deterrent for prospective renters that are truly interested in your place.

Only “X’ People Can Live In the Home

It’s important to specify the number of individuals allowed to live in your property. If you don’t, rest assured that tenants will take advantage of this lax rule and allow their significant others, kids, friends, or other individuals to live in the space along with them. The problem with this comes in the aspect of the unknown; if individuals move in without your knowledge or notice, you won’t have the opportunity to screen them and make sure they won’t be a source of damage

Provide Rules on Subleasers

If you don’t want your tenants to sublease the apartment or house to other individuals, make sure you put that in writing in your lease. Tenants may choose to rent out a room to make more money, or they may even leave for a few months at a time (great example: students in a college town), and leave your home vulnerable to the antics of a tenant that you didn’t approve. It can be beneficial for your income to allow for subleasing depending on your location and the type of individual you rent to normally, like in the aforementioned example of college towns and students who may leave for the summer. By allowing for subleasing, you can make supplementary income and enforce rules on who you allow to live in the home. If tenants do choose to sublease, make sure they use a specified screening company of your choice, like the tenant screening services here. That way, they’ll handle the nitty-gritty details, you’ll have the information you need, and both parties will be happy.

Joint and Several Liability

To ensure you’re always paid the amount owed, joint and several liability clauses specify that each tenant is jointly and individually responsible for making sure you get the payment you’re owed, and handle the costs of any damages caused during their stay. This is an especially important clause for landlords who rent to multiple individuals that aren’t related or dependents. That way, if one individual runs out on rent, the others will be required to come up with the payment under the eyes of the law.

Who Is In Charge of Pest Control?

Landlords often forget to add provisions about pest control, but this can be a huge mistake. If tenants have poor hygiene or are unclean, you may not know about it until a problem arises or they move out, leaving you with a cockroach infestation or ant problem that wasn’t there to begin with. If there’s a pre-existing problem, the responsibility falls on your shoulders, but if the pest problem comes about as a result of their bad habits, you won’t want to be saddled with the huge costs a pest control company can charge.

Whether you’re revising your lease agreement of crafting something new, these provisions are essential and will make sure you’re protected in any case.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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