Get it in Writing: The Landlord’s Law

Creative Commons License credit: matsuyuki

There’s a lesson that all experienced property managers and property owners have learned but not all of them follow. It’s an obvious piece of advice that everyone should know but not everyone follows.? But, if you do you’re certain to save yourself from future problems and possible lawsuits.

The tip? Get it in Writing! Yes, its advice you’ve heard a million times, in fact it’s advice you don’t even need to hear, you already know it. And yet, you don’t always get everything in writing. You’re afraid to insult someone, it slips your mind, you assume it’s understood by both parties, there are a ton of reasons/excuses for not getting a written contract and none of them are valid.

With a rental property there are a lot of clauses and conditions that need to be covered. Your state and local laws may cover some of them for you, but it’s still a good idea to make sure your tenant is aware of the facts and has a copy of the information in their files. Not only should you get all the paperwork out of the way when you begin a landlord/tenant relationship, but if the situation should change in any way those changes should be in writing as well. If a 12-month lease has expired and you’re going to switch to a month by month arrangement then you have to have this in writing as well. It’s tedious and can be a little insulting but in the long run you’ll be more than happy that you became a stickler for details and stood by your paperwork.