A lease is an agreement between landlord and tenant that conveys a property to tenant for a fee and for a defined duration. A well-written lease bodes well for a favorable relationship between landlord and tenant as it protects the rights of both parties. More and more, landlords are using a lease agreement template to generate rental contracts suitable for their needs.
State and local laws pertaining to landlord and tenant relationships are clear on the basic information that should be part of a standard lease agreement. In some states, a written lease is not required to lease a property. However, common sense dictates that a written agreement should be the basis of landlord and tenant interaction because legally renting real estate is a complicated transaction involving many details.
Understandably, a lot of personal information is collected and recorded in processing a lease. Usually, the landlord of residential properties will require the name, social security numbers and driver’s license numbers of all adults who will be occupying unit. In some states, all the adults named in the lease are equally responsible for the rent and any charges that may accrue during the lease term. Although landlords are allowed to list the names of minors accompanying the adult renters, social security numbers and other identifying information of these minors should not be collected and recorded.
Landlords should not have bank and credit card account numbers listed in the rental agreement. If tenants
agree to automatic debits on their accounts, these transactions are best covered in a separate document. Even better, tenants can include rent payments in their automatic bill pay services with their banks to avoid having their account numbers listed on lease contracts.
Diligent landlords may also ask for emergency contacts. There are no laws requiring or restricting this information from getting on lease agreements. It is a reasonable request on the part of landlords but caution must be exercised in passing this information to unauthorized persons.
Landlords should refrain from collecting any extraneous information from prospective tenants. These information may refer to matters concerning legal and marital relations between tenants and gender preferences.
Typically, landlord and tenant each get a copy of the signed lease. Landlord should ensure that all information provided by tenant is treated with the strictest confidentiality. Copies of the lease should be secured so that access is limited only to those who have a need to know some information about the tenant.
There are times when tenant needs to use the lease agreement to prove residency. These cases may include updating information on driver’s licenses and voter registration cards, acquiring new credit, library cards and membership in local organizations. It is tenant’s responsibility to redact private information prior to sharing with other entities as the information contained in a lease agreement can be mined for identity theft purposes.
Professional property managers and experienced landlords recognize the importance of using a uniform lease agreement that will collect as much information as needed to establish a solid relationship with tenant. Along with apprising tenants of their rights and responsibilities, rental contracts should also define lease agreement privacy policies as they relate to both parties.
Managing residential or commercial real estate can be a bit overwhelming since a lot of information and disclosures need to be covered. It will help landlords and property managers if forms were standardized using a professional lease agreement template.