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.

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