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Legal issues with renting a house. Contracting Issue and templates?

I have a rental house that I am planning to rent out.  And am not sure if there are problems that I should be aware off.  I have a warranty company that will be doing the repairs and a maintenance person for the yard monthly.  I am going to make the renter responsible for the electric, gas, city etc bills.  Please help.  Are there any contract templates that I can personalize.  Is there a security deposit besides the 1st and the last month rent.  Is there a special pet deposit that I can get or fee I can charge.  Thank you.

  • September 15 2010 - Glendale
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Answers (5)

It's always best to consult an attorney.  In New Jersey you can only charge 1 1/2 months rent as the security deposit.  There is no additional "Pet Security" allowed.  You can, however, charge an additional "Pet Fee" and it can take many different forms, refundable, non-refundable, yearly, one-time fee, and even a monthly add on.  Our association of realtors has a standard lease that many of our landlords use.  And, while the lease is important the screening is even more important, it could save you even having to resort to a breach of contract issue on the lease.  And THAT is where a realtor can really help.

Good Luck!

  • September 17 2010
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Best of luck finding a good contract online.  The best thing to do is have an agent help you, and they will use the standard AZ Realtor leasing contract that does an excellent of protecting both tenants and landlords.  If you don't want to go down that route, you can always go to Kinko's or Office Max's copy centers, and they always have legal forms for like $30.  The most important thing to remember is that you get what you paid for.
  • September 17 2010
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Do check around--an attorney-drafted lease is not that costly here in Florida, and will often protect you much more than a standard office supply form.
You can also request one from a Realtor--in Florida we have standard legal forms called "FAR/BAR"--Arizona should have something as well.
  • September 16 2010
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I really advocate spending a few hundred dollars and having an attorney draft a lease that is customized to your property and wishes with legally enforcable clauses. There are a lot of factors to consider and you really don't want to end up in court with a document you can't use. They can advise on pet deposits, pet rent, other deposits, how to word a cleaning deposit if you want a portion to be non-refundable, etc. They can also let you know which utilities you way want to include in rent or take a special deposit for in the event that they can become liens on your house (some places have laws where things like an unpaid water bill can become a lien on the property even if you weren't the occupant - yikes!).

You should only need it done once per property and should be able to use that lease with future tenants unless there are major changes in state law.
  • September 15 2010
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Dear Rajpod:

You may wish to use a Realtor who can handle all of this for you.

If you do wish try and do everything yourself, there are free templates for contracts on the web. Have your attorney review before using. Your attorney will pprobably have a standard form he can give you.

Yes, a pet deposit, security deposit and cleaning deposit are all customary.
Typically, the renter pays for water, power, sewer, cable, telephone etc, unless you wish to include those fees. First and last month rent has been asked for in the past. You just need to look at your area and see what the other homes are renting for with terms. It may be difficult to rent with first and last month's rent in addition to the deposits mentioned. Each market is different.

Jeff Masich
HomeSmart Realty
Scottsdale
  • September 15 2010
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