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Filed Under Tenant screening | by Scott Cannon
Batman and Robin were a team. They were a Dynamic Duo, just like your background check and rental agreement. But the team only works for you if you use them both. Background checks can help you eliminate people you don’t want in your property. Rental agreements will help you deal with people on a month-to-month basis.
Most landlords know about leases. But many landlords who rent month-to-month often don’t have any rental agreement at all. That’s silly. Rental agreements work for month-to-month renters the way leases work for longer terms: they lay out terms and conditions.
Some of the rental agreements are the kind you get at the stationery store. They’re one-size-fits all and may not fit your situation.
If you’re renting your units month-to-month, the rental agreement can make your tenants behave and help you with tenant screening. To get a rental agreement that works for you, start by drafting your own. Include everything you think is important or that will be helpful. Then have some other people review it
Include basic details about the rental. How much is the rent? When is it due? When and how are penalties for late payment assessed? What happens at the end of the month? What are the names of the people who are occupying the unit?
Include other terms that are important. You may want to specific things like the number of people who can be in the unit, whether or not pets are allowed, etc. What will you allow? What is forbidden?
Include some possible reasons for eviction. A popular reason is an arrest for drug activity on the premises. You can come up with others based on the type of tenants you have or the location where your property is located.
Run your draft agreement by some experienced landlords. They’ll almost always spot things you’ve left out and make suggestions for improvement.
Your rental agreement must comply with local laws, so this is the time to spend some money on attorney fees. Have your attorney review your rental agreement to make sure the language works and that you’ve covered all the legal bases.
Once you’ve got a good rental agreement, use it. When people apply to rent an apartment, show them your rental agreement so they know what the rules are. Let them know that you will run a background check. That will discourage many potential problem tenants from even applying.