Leases & Rental Agreements

Leases & Rental Agreements

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Leases & Rental Agreements

New Edition!

; ; and

, 13th Edition

Create a solid, binding lease that complies with your state laws

Establish a solid contractual agreement with your tenant. Learn how to:

  • prepare a rental agreement or lease
  • check tenant references and credit
  • comply with your state's laws on security deposits, privacy rules, discrimination and more

Product Details

If you rent out residential real estate, you need documents that are legally valid where your rental property is located. Every state’s rules are different when it comes to what landlords must include in their leases, and stationery store forms don't tell you what you need to know. Not only does this book contain instructions on how to tailor your rental documents to your state's laws, it also gives you customizable copies of key rental forms you need, including:

  • a fixed-term lease
  • a month-to-month rental agreement
  • a rental application
  • tenant reference and credit check forms
  • move-in and move-out letters, and
  • a property inspection checklist.

The 13th edition is completely updated to reflect the latest state landlord-tenant laws—find out what your state requires regarding security deposits, entry to rental property, disclosures, termination notices, and much more. This new edition also covers topics relevant to today’s landlords, such as how to handle online transactions, how to make sure e-signatures are valid, and how to comply with laws protecting your tenants’ private information.

 

"Nolo is a pioneer in both consumer and business self-help books and software.” -Los Angeles Times

"On my scale of one to 10, this excellent book rates a solid 10."
-Robert Bruss, real estate attorney and nationally syndicated columnist

"A comprehensive look at state and federal laws governing landlord-tenant relations. Recommended..."
-Library Journal

ISBN
9781413326710
Number of Pages
248
Included Forms

  • Month-to-Month Residential Rental Agreement
  • Month-to-Month Residential Rental Agreement (Spanish version)
  • Fixed-Term Residential Lease
  • Fixed-Term Residential Lease (Spanish version)
  • Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards
  • Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards (Spanish version)
  • Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home Pamphlet
  • Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home Pamphlet (Spanish version)
  • Rental Application
  • Consent to Contact References and Perform Credit Check
  • Tenant References
  • Notice of Denial Based on Credit Report or Other Information
  • Notice of Conditional Acceptance Based on Credit Report or Other Information
  • Landlord-Tenant Checklist
  • Move-In Letter
  • Tenant’s Notice of Intent to Move Out
  • Move-Out Letter

About the Author

Table of Contents

 Your Lease and Rental Documents Companion

1.  Preparing a Lease or Rental Agreement

  • Which Is Better, a Lease or a Rental Agreement?
  • Instructions for Completing the Lease or Rental Agreement Form
  • Instructions for Signing the Lease or Rental Agreement
  • Lease-Option Contracts (Rent-to-Buy)

2. Choosing Tenants: Your Most Important Decision

  • How to Advertise Rental Property
  • Renting Property That’s Still Occupied
  • Accepting Rental Applications
  • Checking References, Credit History, and More
  • Protect Personally Identifiable Information
  • Avoiding Illegal Discrimination
  • Choosing—and Rejecting—an Applicant
  • Choosing a Tenant-Manager
  • Property Management Companies

3.  Getting the Tenant Moved In

  • Inspect and Photograph the Unit
  • Send New Tenants a Move-In Letter
  • Cash Rent and Security Deposit Checks
  • Organize Your Tenant Records
  • Organize Income and Expenses for Schedule E

4.  Changing or Ending a Tenancy

  • How to Modify Signed Rental Agreements and Leases
  • Ending a Month-to-Month Tenancy
  • How Fixed-Term Leases End
  • Returning Security Deposits When a Tenancy Ends

Appendixes

A: State Landlord-Tenant Law Charts

B: How to Use the Downloadable Forms on the Nolo Website

  • Editing RTFs
  • List of Forms Available on the Nolo Website

C: Forms

  • Month-to-Month Residential Rental Agreement
  • Month-to-Month Residential Rental Agreement (Spanish version)
  • Fixed-Term Residential Lease
  • Fixed-Term Residential Lease (Spanish version)
  • Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards
  • Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards
  • (Spanish version)
  • Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home Pamphlet
  • Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home Pamphlet (Spanish version)
  • Rental Application
  • Consent to Contact References and Perform Credit Check
  • Tenant References
  • Notice of Denial Based on Credit Report or Other Information
  • Notice of Conditional Acceptance Based on Credit Report or Other Information
  • Landlord-Tenant Checklist
  • Move-In Letter
  • Tenant’s Notice of Intent to Move Out
  • Move-Out Letter

Index

Sample Chapter

Your Lease and Rental Documents Companion

The rental agreement or lease that you and your tenant sign forms the contractual basis of your relationship. Taken together with the laws of your state—and, in a few areas, local and federal laws—it sets out almost all the legal and practical rules you and your tenant must follow—such as how many people can occupy your property and for how long, the amount of the rent and deposit, and you (and your tenant’s) repair and maintenance responsibilities.
We’ll take you step by step through preparing a lease or rental agreement and the key forms that supplement them, including a rental application designed to help you choose the best tenants (and weed out the bad ones) and a landlord-tenant checklist to document the condition of the rental unit at the beginning and end of the tenancy (and avoid disputes over security deposits).

Fortunately, you don’t need a lawyer to draft these important rental documents—just this book. Here’s how we can help you:

State-specific legal information. We’ll show you how to easily create an effective and legal rental agreement or lease that you can tailor to fit your situation using the 50-state law charts in Appendix A. Want to know about security deposit rules in your state? The “State Security Deposit Rules” chart has what you need, including the deposit limit, whether you need to keep the deposit in a separate account or pay interest on it, when you must return the deposit, and whether you’re exempt from the rules based on the number of rental properties you own.

Where to find forms in this book. You’ll find copies of the lease and rental agreement, rental application, and other forms in this book available for download on the Nolo website on a special companion page for this book (described below).
Both the print copy and e-book versions include blank versions of the forms (found in Appendix C), which you can either tear out or print, as well as filled-in samples in the text.

CAUTION
Who shouldn’t use our lease or rental agreement? Don’t use the forms in this book if you’re renting out property that is subsidized by the government; mobile homes; hotels; or commercial property. Landlords who accept Section 8 vouchers will need to use the HUD addendum, which will add to the terms and conditions of the lease you draft using this product (the HUD terms will prevail in case of any inconsistencies). If you are renting out your condominium or townhouse, use these forms in conjunction with your homeowners’ association CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions).

Get Updates, Forms, and More at This Book’s Companion Page on Nolo.com

You can download the lease, rental agreement, and all of the other forms in this book on Nolo.com (purchase the book for details).

When there are important changes to the information in this book, we’ll post updates on this same dedicated page (what we call the book’s companion page). (See Appendix B, “How to Use the Downloadable Forms on the Nolo Website,” for a complete list of forms available on Nolo.com.)

FORMS

This Book Comes With a Website

Nolo’s award-winning website has a page dedicated just to this book, where you can:

DOWNLOAD FORMS - All forms in this book are accessible online. After purchase, you can find a link to the URL in Appendix B.

KEEP UP TO DATE - When there are important changes to the information in this book, we will post updates

And that’s not all. Nolo.com contains thousands of articles on everyday legal and business issues, plus a plain-English law dictionary, all written by Nolo experts and available for free. You’ll also find more useful books, software, online services, and downloadable forms.

Customer Reviews

4.8
9 Reviews
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78%

4
22%

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Review by Anonymous
I appreciate the forms and guidelines. I wish there was more discussion on what to do when you have several qualified candidates. (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Very good! by Anonymous
This product is very convenient and easy to use. It is definitely worth the cost. (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Review by Anonymous
Very pleased with this product (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Review by Anonymous
Has everything you need for an airtight lease (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Great Agreement by Anonymous
Easy to use and says what you want it to say in clear understood verberage. (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Good legal reference for experienced landlords by Nancy L.
I have been a landlord of multifamily properties for several years. I bought this book to update legal language on my rental forms and hear the latest practical information for interacting with tenants, since I manage the properties directly. Great reference value for the money. (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Ultimately Happy! by Max B.
Your Leases and Rental Agreements book was of no value to me but your NOLO site;
https://www.nolo.com/companion/leases-and-rental-agreements-LEAR.html - did the trick.
I was more than pleased by my conversations with the 2 of your employees with whom I spoke.
Thanks for your fine service.

(Posted on 8/6/2019)

Review by NAZEM R.
It is a very useful program. I recommend it. (Posted on 8/6/2019)

Review by Sam S.
Find it very helpful in managing our three rental homes. (Posted on 8/6/2019)

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