Condition and Maintenance of the Property

Landlords sometime feel the urge to document the condition of the property with all manner of new digital photographic technology. In many cases, this is just an excuse to play with a new toy, but others feel that it is important to document the condition of the property at the outset in anticipation of court action. The fact is that television portrays the court system in slow motion. Most landlord-tenant and small claims courts move very rapidly, with the judge hearing the case and passing...

Holdover Tenant

In the case of a holdover tenant, the state laws are pretty unified. Let us say you open your mailbox on the last day of the lease expecting to find a set of keys and instead you find a check for next month's rent. What do you do The answer is, it depends. If you don't care if the tenant remains, you can deposit the check, creating what is known as a month-to-month tenancy. This means in most states that the law requires you to give the tenant at least fifteen days' written notice that you...

Opt Out Clause

Opt out clauses are generally used in multiyear contracts where the tenant wants to be locked in on a multiyear price but wants the freedom not to extend the contract for another period. This is strictly a business decision on your part. This type of clause is conceptually akin to an option to renew the lease. You may, but are not legally required to, negotiate added consideration, that is, added money, for this right. A variation of the opt out clause is a breach clause similar to the military...

Joint and Several Liability

As the term implies, joint and several liability involves situations where more than one person is a party to a side of the transaction. In this case, let us propose that a couple responds to your advertisement and wishes to lease your property. They are going to split the rent and live together as roommates. Who is going to be a signatory to the lease The answer is, both of them. You want both parties to be responsible, both as a group and each individually, for the whole amount of the rent,...

Tenant Default

Unfortunately, the equally common reaction from the landlord is to place a padlock on the property and confiscate the tenant's personal property until the tenant pays. While this may seem very proactive and even satisfying under the revenge is sweet principle, locking out tenants or taking their personal property is against the law in most, if not all, of the United States and other nations. Basically, we are a society of laws, and self-help is not an option in these types of cases. The plan in...