An increasing number of people are choosing to rent rather than buy. This is down to a number of reasons such as rising home prices, hefty student debts, and lingering fears from the housing crash.
According to a recent survey by the National Multi-Housing Council, approximately 35% of households in the U.S. are renters.
If you are a property owner or landlord in Miami, your rental or lease agreement is probably one of the most important documents you will use. It’s a legally binding agreement between you and your tenant.
Drafting a properly detailed rental/lease agreement is key to avoiding disputes between you and your tenant.
In this article, we share 7 key terms to include in your Miami rental or lease agreement.
1. Security Deposit
Security deposits are often a source of conflict between tenants and landlords. The tenant may think that they left the property in good condition, but the landlord may disagree.
Each state has rental laws that limit the amount of security deposits a landlord can ask their tenants. In Florida, however, no such limits exist. You are free to charge your renter any reasonable amount of security deposit.
That said, most landlords usually charge the equivalent of one or two months’ rent. This is generally enough to cover any potential damage, without limiting the prospective renters interested in the property.
2. Rent Rate
The rent amount is also a key element that you should include in your Miami standard lease or rental agreement. Needless to say, your rent amount should be a direct correlation to your property’s value.
Aside from stating the rent amount to be paid every month, your rental agreement should also state:
- The amount of rent.
Charging the right rent amount is the key to a successful rental business. It’ll attract the right tenants to your property and provide you a good profit each month.
- Forms of payment accepted.
For example, what modes of payments do you accept? These options can either be credit cards, direct deposit, or money order.
- The due date.
Set a specific date for the rent. For example, the rent is due on the first day of each month. You should also state what happens if this date falls on a legal holiday or a weekend.
- What happens if the tenant fails to pay on time
Will there be a late fee? If so, how much? Will you offer a grace period, if so, how many days?
By stating all the rent details in your lease contract, you’ll help avoid any confusion and misunderstanding with your renter later on.
3. Lease Parties
Your rental agreement should also name the parties to the lease. That is, ‘who’ the lease agreement is between.
Naturally, as the landlord, you are one party, while your tenant(s) is the other. If you’ll allow subletting, then you should also include all the roommates or housemates in the contract as well.
By listing all the tenants in the rental agreement, you make each one of them responsible for all lease terms. For example, it allows you to demand rent from any one of them should others fail to pay.
Establish clear lease terms regarding the utilities. Common utilities in rental units include garbage, sewer, water, gas, and electricity. Such utilities are important because they make your Miami rental property habitable.
The following table summarizes how most landlords in Miami handle utilities.
Security and Alarm System
Internet and Cable
Water and Sewer
5. Yard Maintenance
Single unit properties can create a gray area about who should be responsible for lawn care. As a property owner, you want to make sure your lawn looks good, is healthy and well taken care of.
Basic yard maintenance tasks include:
- Removing weeds from lawns and garden beds
- Trimming shrubbery
- Watering the lawn
- Mowing and edging the lawn
To avoid confusion, make sure that your property lease agreement is clear on who is responsible for handling these tasks. You should also consider the following factors in your clause:
- What is the penalty for not maintaining the yard?
- Will you hire a gardener to the property at the resident’s expense?
- What needs to be done in order for the yard to be back up to standards?
6. Early Lease Termination
Many tenants who sign a lease/rental contract for their apartment intend to stay for the entire lease term. But despite the good intentions, some may need to leave due to various reasons.
For instance, the tenant may be a student at Miami Dade College and may only want to stay for the period of time that school is in session. Your tenant may also need to move closer to their new place of work.
It’s for these reasons and more that make an early lease termination clause necessary. When establishing this clause, consider the following things:
- What will the renter be responsible for?
- Will you allow the resident to sublease your property? If so, do the new renters need to qualify as well?
- How much will you need to advertise the property?
Finally, the tenant must acknowledge the terms of the rental agreement by appending their signature to it. This is the only way that will make the rental contract legally enforceable.
As such, include a section that asks the tenant whether or not they agree to be bound by the lease terms.
There you go. These are the 7 key elements that you should include in your Miami rental or lease agreement. If you need help drafting one, please hire a qualified property management company.