Charleston Property Manager’s Advice: Rental Lease Agreement Inclusions - Article Banner

A detailed and comprehensive lease agreement helps landlords set the right rental expectations and eliminate any misunderstandings during the tenant’s occupancy. The lease is a legal contract between the landlord and the tenant and specifies rules for both parties. However, drafting a lease that abides by all housing laws and includes all essential clauses is easier said than done. The chances are that you may miss out on some crucial points, creating an ambiguity between you and your tenants.

To avoid this, here are some of the essential items that you must include in the lease agreement for your Charleston rental property, based on our experience. 

Repairs And Maintenance Policies

Your lease should clearly explain repairs and maintenance policies and who is responsible for them. This enables your tenants to know their roles in rental upkeep and provides you with the right to withhold the security deposit in case tenants cause damage to the property. Some of the must-include tenants’ repair and maintenance responsibilities are:

  • Keeping the rental unit safe and clean
  • Paying for the damage caused due to abuse or negligence
  • Reporting all maintenance issues immediately
  • Not making any alterations and repairs to the property without the landlord’s permission
  • Removing garbage regularly
  • Maintaining plumbing and electric systems
  • Replacing air filters

It is also essential to understand that landlords are equally responsible for maintaining the habitability of the space. You must, therefore, also consider specifying your obligations in the lease for more clarity.

Specification Of All Tenants

Since every occupant is responsible for rent payment and property maintenance, you should include the names of all occupants in a lease agreement along with their contact number, age, and address. It will help you track unauthorized guests living in a property and terminate tenancy for all tenants if they violate the lease agreement. 

Your Right To Enter The Charleston Property

As a landlord, you have access to the property during reasonable hours and proper notice. Your lease must specify this right to prevent tenants from claiming that you are violating their right to privacy. Your lease must also mention how much notice you must give to the tenants and if the notice duration would be different in different circumstances. 

For example, if you want to show the unit to prospective tenants or conduct repairs, you should send 24 hours’ notice before entering. However, you can directly enter the property in case of emergencies.

Clauses On Rent, Security Deposit, and Other Fees

Your lease should specify the rental price, amount of security deposit, and other fees like pet fees, late rent fees, and extra charges if the check bounces. Include acceptable payment methods (like online money transfer or check) and a clause stating when you can withhold the security deposit and what it will cover. 

Remember that the laws on security deposits may vary according to state. So, make sure you check them while deducting the amount. 

Important Addenda to Include In Your Lease Agreement

Addenda are additional clauses that you include in the lease agreement to define various conditions and scenarios apart from the mandatory clauses. A pet policy, for example, would include whether or not you allow pets on the property as well as specifications like the breed, type, and weight of the permitted animals. Other addenda may talk about your smoking policy, mold, renovation, and pest control. However, make sure that both parties agree to the conditions of these additional clauses. 

Required Landlord Disclosures

Disclose InformationFederal law requires landlords to disclose information, such as the history of bed bugs and the presence of asbestos or lead-based paint on the property, before tenants sign the lease agreement. It is to prove that you have legally disclosed crucial information to the tenants and are not hiding anything. 

Since a lease agreement is a legal document, it should be clear and concise. Avoid making it unnecessarily lengthy or ambiguous, or it may fail to convey the appropriate information to your tenants. If you are finding it challenging to create a comprehensive lease agreement, consider hiring a professional Charleston property manager.

Work with us at Meridian Residential Group, a leading property management company in Charleston, serving counties across North Charleston and South Carolina. Our property management experts possess in-depth legal knowledge related to housing laws and can help you with the required rules, clauses, and regulations.

For more information, contact us at Meridian Residential Group.