With the end of 2016 in sight, I thought this might be a good time for a short landlord/tenant checklist concerning important issues that management and residents should understand when dealing with a residential lease:

What is the lease term? One year? Six months? Month-to-month? Another term? How is the lease extended? What is the notice to vacate procedure? What are the deadlines?

What additional costs (if any) are not included in the monthly rent? Application fee? Parking? Electric? Trash? Water? And how often do you pay? Monthly? Annually? For the most part, remember that cable, internet, and phone charges are extra.

When is the rent due? How does the resident pay the rent each month? Drop off a rent check in the leasing office? Maybe, but not so much anymore. On-line resident portal? Automatic monthly debit?  Check mailed to a management office? What are the late fees and how are they calculated?

What deposits are required? How are they calculated? And when are they refunded? Both sides can benefit from taking (and dating) pictures.

Are pets allowed? Are there size or breed restrictions? What fees are charged for pets? Remember, a service or companion animal is not a pet. Do everyone a favor and don’t try to qualify your pet as a service or emotional support animal by going to the internet, paying a fee, and immediately “registering” Rover or Fluffy in an effort to avoid pet rent.  Service and emotional support animals are for those disabled Americans with a real need related to their disability.  Enough said.

What is management responsible for in terms of property maintenance? Typically, management will be responsible for all major appliances, plumbing, HVAC units, radiators or window air-conditioning units. As a part of that, how are maintenance requests made? Residents should follow that policy.  Sending an email to a regional property manager for a routine maintenance request is probably not the best way to get your microwave fixed.

Who manages the property and who is available to answer questions? Management will also have an emergency phone number in case something breaks or leaks that requires prompt attention.

Every community has its owns rules and regulations concerning behavior, including items such as noise, common areas, grills, swimming pool, workout rooms, balconies, conference areas, laundry facilities, and the like.

Understanding issues like these can get the leasing office/resident relationship off to a good start.

Happy New Year everyone. See you again in 2017.

Just A Thought.