Real estate developers come in all shapes and sizes, and not every developer is a large corporation. If you are looking at investing property as a means of generating a monthly revenue, then you need to become familiar with the intricacies of a tenant-landlord relationship. The cornerstone of any good tenant-landlord relationship is a solid lease. Whether you are looking to rent commercial or residential property, there are certain aspects of your lease that you should include.

A Lease Term

Some landlords allow tenants to go month to month without a lease, or they allow tenants to have an open-ended lease with no expiration date. Over the course of a year, a lot of things can change. Your property ownership costs could go up, your property taxes could go up, or your maintenance costs could start to get higher. When you do not have a lease with set terms, it becomes more difficult to raise the rent when it is required. You can avoid these types of problems by having a lease with a well-defined one-year term.

Parking Considerations

You should avoid having verbal agreements with tenants as much as possible. If there are special parking considerations involved with renting your space, then they need to be outlined in the lease. This is especially true when leasing out commercial spots. If you are not precise about these arrangements in the lease, then you have no recourse when the tenant does not follow the rules.

Property Maintenance

Attorneys always try to talk landlords out of allowing tenants to do some part of property maintenance in exchange for lower rent. The landlord is the property owner and responsible for anything that happens on the property. If there is an agreement in place that has the tenant removing ice from the sidewalks in the winter and the tenant fails to live up to their end, then it is the landlord who has to deal with the problems that occur when someone gets hurt.

Instead of offering a tenant a break on rent in return for routine maintenance tasks, you should consider giving tenants discounts if they do approved remodeling projects on your property. For example, you can give a tenant a $100 rent deduction for the month in return for painting the living room walls using your specific guidelines. When it comes to property maintenance, the landlord should take all responsibility for making sure the property is always maintained properly.


A landlord never signs a lease with a tenant expecting to have to evict that tenant, but it can be hard to determine the motives of every tenant. Your lease needs to be clear on what types of activities will trigger an eviction. Talk to a lawyer about the legal process for eviction in your area, and include that information in your lease. Remember that tenants can be evicted for causing unnecessary property damage or being a neighborhood nuisance, along with not paying rent.

The best friend of any landlord is a good real estate attorney. Instead of using a lease template from the Internet, you should have your attorney draft a lease agreement that can apply to each tenant. The more thorough you are with the terms in your lease, the easier it is to protect your legal interests with difficult tenants.

The idea of getting into the real estate industry by being a landlord is very appealing to many people. When you have tenants, you are bringing in income every month whether you work or not. But that idea can be misleading. Being a landlord is hard work, and you should have an experienced attorney on your side to make sure that you are doing everything you legally need to do to protect yourself.

Have A Written Lease

There are many reasons why landlords choose to use verbal leases instead of leases done in writing. Some landlords believe that verbal contracts establish a level of trust between landlord and tenant that makes the relationship more reliable. While New York State does recognized verbal leases of up to one year as being binding contracts, it is still much easier to defend your position as a landlord if you have a written lease.

A written lease is mandatory if there are several conditions that go along with being a tenant. For example, if you have assigned parking for your tenants, then that arrangement needs to be spelled out in writing. In every way, a written lease is a better option for you as a landlord than a verbal lease agreement.

Know The Laws About Rent

When it comes to due dates for rent, the most common date used is the first of every month. But if you an experienced landlord, then you know that rent does not automatically work that way. New York State law says that rent can only legally be collected in arrears, and not in advance. That means that you must collect rent at the end of the month and not the beginning.

However, landlords can collect at different points in the month if they put it in a lease that the tenants agree to. This is another strong argument for written leases and it shows how leases protect landlords. Without a written lease that specifies that rent is to be paid on the first of each month, the tenant could legally make the landlord wait until the final day of the month to collect.

Another legal aspect of rent revolves around how rent should be represented in the lease. A lease should be for a limited time (set up in years) and that time period should be outlined in writing. The rent should be the culmination of rent for the entire period, and not outlined on a monthly basis. This is why landlords renew leases every year, and another reason why leases need to be in writing.


Before you become a landlord in the state of New York, you should know that you do not always have a say in whether or not your tenants can sublet their space to someone else. If you own a building or complex that has four units or more, then a court may side with your tenant when it comes to subletting, even if you say no subletting in the lease.

Being a landlord can be a difficult job, but you can make it easier by having a good lawyer on your side. Before you start investing in rental properties you intend to lease out to tenants, you should spend a lot of time consulting with your attorney to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting into.

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