Lease preparation is also very important. It is the foundation of your relationship with the tenant. Lease governs the relationship. Terms of lease are subject to negotiation. The lease should be written using simple words understandable by people of all education levels. Some landlords are in such a hurry to get new tenants, that they do not use even a minimum terms required. These landlords become very vulnerable and open to potential problems. Besides, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Every lease agreement should have these and other clauses:
- Terms of lease
- Security deposit
- Attorney’s fees
- Late payments
- Conditions under which the landlord will have access
- Damages for service disruption
- Notice to the parties as well as other events which may occur
Does it make sense to take extra time to think about all these provisions? Of course, by all means.
Recent New Jersey Law about Costs Enforcement
New Jersey recently passed a new law. This is the essence of the law: if a Landlord includes a provision to shift enforcement costs to the tenant, there is a reciprocal provision to shift costs to the Landlord if the tenant prevails. There is also a mandate as to how this particular provision is written.
Should the Landlord Always Include Costs of
Enforcement Provision in the Lease?
There is no simple answer. It really depends on the tenant. For example, if the tenant relies on governmental assistance, it is unlikely the landlord will collect the fees. In case the tenant gets rental assistance, the landlord may end up paying the tenant’s attorney’s fees, should the tenant win. On the other hand, if the tenant has a job, assets and a stable lifestyle, it may be worthwhile to put the provision in. The landlord will be able to collect the fees.
Consider Including These Important Provisions in Every Lease
The lease should contain all promises by each party. For example, if the Landlord promises to fix certain things – list them in the lease. The tenant agreed to take care of the grounds -write it down, etc.
There should also be a provision covering what the rental includes and what the tenant brings in. Who owns the refrigerator and window air conditioners? Other things are worth mentioning in the lease:
- Are other buildings included in the lease?
- Can the tenant use other building on the property?
- If the tenant can use other buildings, define how to use other buildings
- List every person authorized to live in the rental property including all children
- Regulations involving visitors
- Garbage disposal
New Jersey Requires Certain Things in Leases
New Jersey law requires the Landlord to provide a “truth in renting” pamphlet. The Department of Community Affairs has a prescribed form. Landlords should provide the pamphlet at the signing of the lease and the lease should note this. The landlord is also required to give notice where the tenant’s security deposit will be held and the rate of interest the security deposit will earn. The landlord can provide a separate letter within 30 days of receiving the security deposit, but it is a better practice to put it into the lease. There are other notices that also need to be provided in the lease, such as the availability of certain insurances, notice about window guards, just to name few. Many leases include a provision about notifying the landlord about tenants being away for an extended period. It alerts the Landlord that the place will be empty.
Time to Give the Keys to the New Tenant
At the time of execution of the lease, the landlord should collect the first month’s rent and security deposit. The checks tendered should be photocopied, in the event post lease enforcement is necessary. It may also be a good time to discuss electronic payment of the rent. It is also a good time to have the tenant sign a W-9 form, which is required by law to open a security account for a tenant and the financial institution will insist on it.