If you are a first time landlord you likely have questions about what documentation you need to start renting out your home. Here are what I consider to be five must have rental documents.
1. Rental Application: The information contained in your rental application is important not only to help you identify qualified tenants but also to be sure that you have specific information on file for your tenants. Phone numbers, email addresses, emergency contact information, as well as employment info and social security numbers in the event of your worse case scenario (which is an eviction) should all be found on your application.
2. Lease Agreement: As I mentioned in a previous post, lease agreements are fairly easy to get a hold of these days, whether online or at your local office supply store. We opted to have our attorney create our lease agreements. This is because we wanted to be sure that the information contained in it was not only applicable to our area but also the properties that we own.One word of advice about lease agreements...USE ONE. Even if you are renting your home to a family member or close friend (which I would not recommend). You should never have anyone living in property that you own with out some sort of written agreement.
3. Pay or Quit: In the event that your tenant does not pay rent you need to have a process in place to handle notifications, late fees, court filings etc. That entire process starts with a pay or quit notice. This is simply a document you would mail your tenant that says " Hey, where's my money?" Well, not exactly like that but you get the idea.
4. Notice of Partial Payment: On occasion you may have a tenant to pay you only a portion of their rent. A notice of partial payment should be mailed to them to inform them of the amount you received, the amount that is still due, plus any applicable late fees.
5. Intent to Renew: This is a document that we typically mail out approx 90 days before our lease agreements expire. It is an opportunity for us to ask the tenant if they have an intention of staying for another lease term. Although according to our lease it is technically the tenants responsibility to inform us (60 days in advance) if they intend to move out; this pro-active move gives us an opportunity to plan for whatever may be ahead.
In addition to these documents you may also want to have lead based paint disclosures (which may be required in your area) a move in/move out checklist and any addendums that are specific to your property. In the coming weeks I will write a few more posts with a little more detail on these documents individually.