Renting a space to a tenant comes with no shortage of risk. The renter could stop paying and refuse to leave, for instance, and without something in writing, the landlord would have trouble evicting him. To create a lease agreement, you can pull up a rental agreement sample and either modify it to your needs or create your own based on what you see.
Standard Realtor Lease Agreements
The Association of Realtors is a watchdog group geared toward protecting and helping the nation’s realtors. The best resource for getting documents like realtor lease agreements is the association itself, which provides agreements specific to each state. Since real estate and landlord-tenant laws can vary dramatically from one jurisdiction to the next, it’s important for tenants to find a document geared specifically to where their properties are located.
Landlords in Pennsylvania accepting PA rental lease applications, for instance, would use the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors Residential Lease Agreement. This is written based on the laws outlined in the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. You can either find the template specific to your state online or create your own using the clauses the Realtors Association has included in the version for your state.
Standard Terms in Lease Agreements
No matter where you live, you’ll likely notice some terms are fairly standard from one state to the next. When you look at rental agreement samples, you’ll see these terms, and you should make sure you incorporate them somewhere into your own agreement.
- Right to enter property – Occasionally, a landlord will need to enter a unit to make repairs. Your agreement should outline how much notice you’ll give before such entry. The standard notice is 24 to 48 hours.
- Provided fixtures – If the unit includes add-ons like a plug-in microwave or window shades, mention those in the agreement to protect against a tenant claiming she installed them.
- Security deposits – Most landlords will require a security deposit at move-in. Detail the conditions under which this money will be released back to the renter.
- End date – The lease should have an end date, as well as detail how much notice the renter will need to give prior to that date as to whether he’ll be renewing the term or leaving.
Finding Lease Agreement Templates
The easiest, and probably safest, way to create a realtor lease agreement is to download a template. Make sure the template is in accordance with the Association of Realtors for your state. Once downloaded, you can verify that all your local laws are addressed and customize the template to fit any specific requirements you need.
If you download a template to use in response to a PA rental lease application, for instance, you’ll need to make sure provisions under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 are addressed. There are very specific laws regarding security deposits in Pennsylvania, including that you can only charge up to two months’ rent the first year and one month in subsequent years. Make sure you are in compliance with those laws to avoid being reported.
Creating Your Own Lease Agreement
Whether you’re accepting PA rental lease applications or you’re in a completely different state, you can create your rental agreement from scratch. Look up your state’s statutes and make sure everything you include in your own agreement is in accordance with those laws. You may see something that covers everything you're looking for in a standard lease agreement, but you’ll still need to verify that it works in your state.
To create an agreement from scratch, look at other rental agreement samples and model your own after those. You’ll need details on the landlord and the tenant, as well as information on the property. There should also be a long list of clauses that protect you and the tenant, including terms of renewal, pet policies, details about the condition of the property at the time the renter moves in and any legal disclosures required in your state.
Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.