Rental property owners have to follow landlord-tenant laws and drawing up a lease or rental agreement helps ensure that both landlord and tenant rights are being protected.
Lease agreements or rental agreements are legal documents between a tenant and a landlord that details the liabilities of each party. Each state law will have its guidelines regarding what should be included in a residential lease agreement.
If you’re wondering what should be included in a Texas lease agreement, read on to find out which lease information to indicate when drafting a rental lease agreement. Consult with a landlord attorney for legal assistance in constructing a legally-binding leasing agreement.
1. Tenant information
The first thing you should indicate is the names of all the adult tenants who will be dwelling in the leased property and signing the rental contract. In general, this binding agreement means that:
- You can legally seek rent payment from any one of your tenants if the others are unable to pay the rent.
- You can terminate a lease if even just one tenant violates major lease terms.
Naming them in the signed tenancy agreement means that it’s a binding contract that will allow you to hold them legally responsible for the terms and conditions of the residential lease.
2. Occupancy Limits
Aside from listing the adult tenants in the property lease, you should also specify that only the tenants and their minor children are to reside in the rental unit. This way, you can protect your right to determine and limit who occupies your property. Doing so also gives you legal grounds to evict tenants who are illegally subletting the apartment.
3. Rent and Late Fees
Of course, it’s also important to clearly state your policies regarding rent and late fees. This include:
- Amount of rent;
- When to pay rent;
- Acceptable modes of payment;
- Amount of rent increase, if any;
- Amount charged for a late fee; and
- When to charge late fees.
You can impose a late fee if the rent remains unpaid for at least two days after it was due. You’re allowed to charge an initial fee, followed by subsequent daily fees. Making these policies known beforehand will encourage your tenants to pay on time and prevent landlord-tenant disputes.
4. Tenancy Term
Another important thing is to indicate how long the tenancy will last. In Texas, you are required by law to state whether the legal contract is for lease or rent. A rental contract differs from a lease agreement in that:
- For rental agreements, the contract is renewed every month unless terminated by either you or your tenant.
- A lease contract has a set start and end date for the tenancy, which obligates both renters and tenants for a certain period.
Consult a local landlord attorney for legal advice on whether it’s better to rent or lease your real property.
5. Security Deposit Policy
Security deposits are a common source of issue between landlords and tenants. To avoid confusion, it’s best to be clear about the details, such as:
- The amount and use of the deposit. While there’s no imposed limit in Texas, most renters charge not more than two months worth of rent.
- When and how to return the deposit. You’re mandated by law to return the deposit within a month after the termination of the lease. Informing a rentee of how you’ll return their security deposit helps avoid conflict with your tenant.
While interest is not required by Texas law, it’s important to state whether interest is payable on the security deposit.
6. Repair & Maintenance
As the landlord, you’re responsible for repairing and maintaining the property, but the tenant also shares a part in this. The following should be included in the leasing contract to avoid rent-withholding disputes:
- Tenants should keep the rental premises clean and sanitary;
- Tenants pay for damages caused by their abuse or neglect;
- Tenants should alert you of defective or dangerous conditions in the leased property;
- Your restrictions on alterations or repairs that can be conducted by the tenant; and
- Your tenant’s rights if you failed to address a problem despite being given proper notice.
Always include disclosures required by federal law, such as lead-based paint disclosure, and informing tenants of your property manager’s contact information.
8. Terms of the agreement
Remember to include legal restrictions and occupancy rules that tenants must follow, along with regulations specific to your property (such as parking and use of common areas).
If you require legal assistance, whether in creating a Texas lease agreement or settling disputes, it’s highly advised to reach out to a landlord real estate attorney. Contact Girling Law, PLLC today to get legal representation as a property owner!