If you rent a house, apartment, condominium or mobile home to another person, you enter into a legal contract known as a rental agreement. If the rental agreement is in writing, it is a “lease.” The two basic writes provided for within a lease is a right to payment and a right to return of the property in similar condition excepting any ordinary wear and tear.
Drafting Residential Leases
Make it in Writing:
Even when working with family members and friends, it is important to protect yourself as the landlord or tenant with a written lease. Verbal residential agreements can lead to significant headaches and disagreements.
- Name the Parties
- Designate which party pays the utilities
- Cats, Dogs, Pet Deposits?
- Set a due date for the rent
- Frequency of payment
- Form of payment
- Place of payment
- Penalties for missed and late payment
- Condition for return of deposit.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it demonstrates the significant amount of thought and detail that should be incorporated to how you create your lease.
Attorney Lease Drafting Services
Generic Residential Lease with consultation: $175
I will provide you with a template lease that includes many of the common provisions I recommend in a residential lease. We will speak over the phone for up to 1 hour reviewing the specific issues facing this particular property and your wishes as the landlord. The client will make the changes on his or her own.
Attorney prepared Lease: $350
I will meet with clients and draft a lease specifically for his or her circumstances and requirements.
Overview: Eviction occurs where the tenant is currently non-compliant with the terms of the lease. Non-compliance typically occurs after non-payment of rent, but may in certain situations arise because of other requirements included in the Lease. It is important that residential tenants review the lease carefully and understand your requirements as the tenant.
Step 1: Notice to cure the defect (pay back rent) or vacate the premises
A Three Business Day Notice gives the tenant seven calendar days, from the day after the notice is given, to remedy the non‐compliance or deliver possession of the premises to the landlord. Service may be accomplished by sheriff, mail, hand delivery or posting.
Step 2: Landlord files a complaint against the Tenant
After seven days, the landlord may file the Complaint for Eviction with the Clerk of Court. A copy of the Seven‐Day Notice and lease (if applicable) must be attached. The complaint must be signed by the landlord or property manager. Two additional, identical copies of the Seven‐Day Notice, lease, and Complaint for Eviction set must be provided for each tenant.
Step 3: Issuance of Summons by the Clerk
The summons must be carried out by the Sherriff or a private process server. Rates very based upon the jurisdiction.
Step 4: Certificate of Mailing
If the tenant is not able to be served, the summons can be served by posting to a conspicuous part of the building. If this occurs, the landlord must request the Clerk to mail a summons and copy of the complaint to each tenant.
Step 5: Default
After five days have passed and no answer has been filed, the landlord may file the appropriate Motion for Default.
Step 6: Writ of Possession
After the Judge has signed the Final Judgment for Possession, the landlord or representative must come into the Clerk’s office to request a Writ of Possession. The Sheriff will post the Writ of Possession on the subject property; after 24 hours have passed, the Sheriff will return to the property to evict the tenant.
Attorney Representation and Review
Attorney Representation: $500 (plus applicable fees)
Every day your tenant remains on your property represents a loss of income to landlords. Bringing in an attorney through the eviction process can ensure the quickest possible return of possession of the leased property.
Attorney Review: $250 (Plus applicable fees)
Many landlords evict tenants on their own without assistance of counsel. They understand that although attorney’s fees are collectible, the questionable financial situation of many tenants is the root cause of the eviction. To save money, I will prepare the documentation and guide clients through the process without making an appearance in court.