Your lease agreement is a rental contract that you sign with your tenants, agreeing to the terms and conditions of the tenancy. It’s designed to protect you, your tenant, and your property in case there are disputes or questions about responsibilities and requirements.
Lease agreements are all different. We have seen leases that are a single page, and some that are a booklet. Make sure you’re using a lease that’s legally compliant in California. You don’t want to use any template that you find on the internet because it may not cover all of the disclosures and addenda that California requires. When you’re writing a lease for your LA County rental property, make sure you get a sample lease from an attorney, a property manager, or an organization like the California Association of Realtors or the California Apartment Association.
Your lease should be detailed and specific. We’re sharing some of the most basic and pertinent pieces of information that must always be included.
Contact and Identifying Information
The lease agreement should start with identifying information. You need the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for all tenants, owners, and if applicable – Los Angeles property managers. Any dependents who are living in the home but not listed as financially responsible parties on the lease should also be included. You should also describe the property that’s being rented out. List whether it’s a single-family home or an apartment, if it’s furnished, and which appliances are included.
Rent Collection Policy and Lease Term
The lease agreement also needs to reflect the term of the lease. It needs a start date and an end date, and then it needs to reflect what happens at the end of the lease period. Your lease should state whether it automatically renews, or if it moves to a month-to-month lease.
Make sure to include your rent collection policy. This ought to reflect how much rent is due, when it should be paid, and how it should be paid. You’ll need to include information on grace periods and late fees as well as the amount of the security deposit that was collected.
Establish Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities
Make sure your lease reflects who is responsible for what. Address the utilities and lawn care and pool care and who pays for those services. You’ll want tenants to reference how maintenance should be reported if there’s a repair issue. A good lease tells tenants what they’re responsible for during the lease period.
Rules and Requirements
The lease needs to identify what is allowed and what isn’t allowed in your property. If you don’t want any smoking, make sure the lease prohibits it. If you don’t want more than one car per resident parked outside, the lease should say that. If you want guests to stay no longer than three days, make sure that language is in the lease.
When you’re renting out a property in an HOA, you’ll also need to provide the tenant with a complete copy of HOA rules and regulations. You should indicate in your list that the tenant will be responsible for any fines or penalties incurred as a result of their behavior.
There are a number of addenda that need to be included in a California lease agreement, specifically information on lead based paint and mold disclosures. Your lease must advise tenants about the registered sexual offender database in case they want to look at data for the neighborhood and it must also address chemicals and pesticides used in any pest control measures that are taken against things such as bed bugs and termites. With the new rent control laws, your lease also needs to reflect whether your property is included in the rent control laws or whether it is exempt.
These are just a few of the basic elements that you’ll need to include in your lease agreement when you’re renting out a property in LA County. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us at Bell Properties.