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Landlord Forms: A Checklist for your Lease or Rental Agreement
If you have rental property in Massachusetts, here’s a quick way you can check the health and currency of your rental forms. You should have:
- A primary agreement (be it a “lease” or a “tenancy-at-will”), that specifies
- Which space is being rented
- To whom
- How much
- Who pays for utilities (you can’t charge for water unless you have separate meters!)
- Who fixes stuff
- Whether subletting is allowed (I recommend not)
- And if you like your agreement, comment below to tell others where to get a copy
- A summary of everything attached to the primary agreement (all of the “addenda”), which includes everything below:
- An addendum with your custom terms
- Do you keep keys to the apartment? If so, under which conditions may you enter?
- Is parking allowed?
- Are pets allowed? Remember, you can’t charge pet fees or take a pet security deposit.
- Is smoking allowed? Yes, you can prohibit smoking on your property.
- Who replaces smoke detector batteries?
- Are judgments for legal expenses capped?
- Who pays for lock-outs?
- No smoking addendum
- You shouldn’t be held responsible for health effects if someone smokes on your no-smoking property.
- Insect infestation addendum
- Landlords must pay for extermination, but tenants must comply with extermination procedures.
- CORI authorization
- Otherwise you can’t check criminal history.
- Mold addendum
- Tenants must keep the place free of moisture and report any problems immediately.
- Move-out and cleaning fees
- This is required if you think you might withhold from a security deposit.
- Lead disclosure forms and copy of lead report
- You can’t have kids under six years old living in an apartment with lead paint unless the hazards have been brought under interim control or eliminated.
- Bank signature form (w9 signature card, not just w9) for security deposit account
- Security deposits must be held under the tenant’s social security number.
- Utility companies sheet
- As a courtesy, tell your tenants where to go to start gas and electric service.
- Bedbug notice
- Warn your tenants against picking up used mattresses or other furniture off the street.
- Trash sheet, including number for bulk item removal
- Help your property stay clean by encouraging tenants to take advantage of free recycling and affordable bulk waste pick-up, if your city has these programs.
- Tell them which day is their trash day and where to put their trash.
- A condition of move-in
- You need this if you ever have to show a judge or other third party that the apartment was in good shape when the tenants moved in.
- Fuel assistance form
- Many, many tenants qualify for fuel assistance. If they get on fuel assistance, a world of benefits may open up to you, including new refrigerators, insulation, and furnaces. Plus, any money you can save your tenant increases the affordability of your property.
Did I miss anything? Add your comments below!