If you are a do-it-yourself landlord in the Murfreesboro, TN, area, you may be looking for some tips for a solid Tennessee lease. At RPM Rental Solutions, we have taken more than 30 years of leasing experience around the country from the nationwide property management leader (our franchise company), conformed with Tennessee laws, had legal counsel review, and learned from our own experience to develop the best lease possible. We are sharing some of our professional tips to help you make sure you have a solid Tennessee lease if you are managing your own Murfreesboro area rental property.
The very first thing we tell do-it-yourself landlords to be sure they have in their lease is the line “TENANT HEREBY SPECIFICALLY WAIVES NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF TENANCY FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT AND/OR LATE FEES” in bold 12-point or larger type. The tenant also needs to initial by this clause. We have taken over rental properties for do-it-yourself landlords who needed to evict a tenant and they did not have this in their lease. Without this clause, you then have to wait to give proper notice to the tenant before you can proceed with eviction. Including this simple clause can save you time and money in getting non-paying tenants out of your investment property.
Most landlords already know to include all the obvious terms of a lease consisting of names, dates, amount of rent, address of rental property, methods of payment, contact information, terms of the security deposit and its return at the end of the lease, etc. Beyond that, there should be details of how late fees will work (in Tennessee that’s a maximum of 10% after a 5-day grace period), details on who pays utilities, obligations of the tenant and of the landlord, and what appliances the landlord will fix (if a 15-year-old washing machine that you provided breaks down, are you guaranteeing a replacement?).
It’s also vital to include information about how a tenant should contact you in an emergency and for maintenance repairs. On that note, it is ideal to go ahead and lay out in the lease what constitutes an emergency and how maintenance repairs will be handled. Will you plan out routine inspections to the property to make sure the tenant is following your rules and to be sure no repairs are needed, like a leaking sink? If so, you’d better go ahead and explain that in your lease.
Next comes your list of rules. Do you allow for a pet? If not, what will be the penalty? Do you allow for additional people to stay in the property for extended time without being listed on the lease? Do you allow cars to be parked in the grass or inoperable cars to sit in the driveway for extended time? Is the tenant required to maintain the lawn/landscaping? Are there rules about making a public nuisance or too much noise? Do you allow smoking in your property? And what is your policy if the tenant locks himself out of the home and needs your key at 2 a.m.? You need to have it all in writing in your lease.
There are more legal requirements for a lease that include personal injury waivers, hazardous materials, and mold disclosures. Every Tennessee landlord should be familiar with the Tennessee Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (“URLTA”). You can find it here. It is also highly recommended that you hire an attorney well-versed in property management to review your lease before you have the tenant sign on the bottom line. It can save you much money and hassle to make sure you have a solid Tennessee lease.
If you would like to know more about property management in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, LaVergne and surrounding areas, give RPM Rental Solutions a call at 615-900-4067 or contact us here. We’d love to give you a free estimate for managing your home!