How long is too long on a lease?

After many years in the industry I had a new tenant tell me my lease is way to long. Here is my 2 cents if your Lease covers 100% of everything 7 pages is fine… Wondering how long of a lease other people use?? Personally I have everything covered and I can’t find anything I left out and neither did my Attorney’s (4 of them) So who really care’s right?? If you don’t like it rent another house!

Ours is four pages and covers everything I need. I’ve never had a problem in court with the lease. In fact, the court here just started requiring people to show a written lease about 6 months ago. Up until that time, verbal agreements were fine.

Hey Justin want to compare?? Maybe things I added to mine you might love and things in yours that I might???

Cool. I sent you an email. This is exactly how I formulated the lease (by collaborating with other investors).

My lease is a distillation of the Texas association of realtor’s lease. It is 13 pages long. When I meet with the tenant to sign the lease I read it to them. I read every word to them out loud. After I read each page they initial that page and I initial that page. At the end they sign it and I sign it. I guess since they don’t have to read it the length is not an issue.

Totally agree its a CYA thing for sure! Justin0419 I sent you mine as well.

You can continue the lease contract to the tenants but it is necessary that you make new paper every years and it is advisable that you lease new tenant after two or three years.

You have got to be kidding, “it is advisable that you lease new tenant after two or three years”. Advisable by who for who??? Vacancy is one of the biggest expenses landlords face. My longest tenant has been in one of my places for six years and I hope he NEVER leaves. I am responsive to his legitimate needs sometimes to a fault but I want him to keep paying FOREVER.

Mine is five pages long. I have also been told that the lease is too long, but my response is that the lease offers protection to both of us and that it’s a very important document. I tell them that I am a man of my word and this lease explains how I am going to keep my word by keeping the house nice for them and be fair with late fees and due dates.

At the end of the day they can look elsewhere if they don’t like it. We all know landlords that have one page leases, and they always have tenant problems too. If you ask, they’ll say they don’t charge late fees but are having a hard time getting paid, and their places are rented cheap and always torn up too. Granted, this is a series of problems here but it’s indicitave of a bad situation that neither you or a good tenant wants to be in.

Would you mind emailing me a copy of your leases? I would like to take a look. I’m located in PA.

I have contract experience in manufacturing and construction contracts but none concerning a land lord / tenant relationship.

Please use the PM system for information requests and private communications. Thank You.

It mainly comes down to your personal comfort level. I wouldn’t want anything more than a 3-year lease. Two years is probably better.

Our lease agreements are HUGE (about 11 pages in small print). However, we don’t torture our tenants with a page by page reading of it. We hit the high points, which includes the payment due date, the fees for being late, and how they can get their deposit back. Otherwise, there’s no point in explaining the obvious.

The one thing that will keep the tenants honest is a huge deposit. It’s not rocket science. Anything else is just a crap shoot.

So, we keep the love flowing by making sure the tenant has something to lose in the event they are tempted to screw us. BTW, the tenants often read the lease agreement in very tiny detail, when a problem erupts. That’s when the agreement’s complexity and comprehensiveness makes a world of difference, but rarely does it before that point.

Otherwise, trying to emphasize every point in a lease agreement is not good use of our time, or the tenant’s, and is generally a put-off.

One lease agreement is good enough for forever. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel on stable tenants. All they need is a written notice about any changes in the terms, or the rent amount, and those are automatically incorporated into the original lease agreement. At least that’s what our lease should say will happen.

Our initial leases are for 24 months. After that they renew for 12 months. There’s little reason to put a paying tenant on a month-to-month lease. Why? That just makes it easier for a tenant to move at some odd time, that’s inconvenient for us.

Here’s some sales points for getting longer terms:

  1. Rent is locked in for entire term.
  2. Tenant can’t be asked to leave until the lease expires.
  3. We will only rent to you if you agree to a 24/mo lease.
  4. Your credit looks like a moldy piece of cheese, and so we want over-retail rent, and we want it for at least 24 months, in order to overcome the risk we’re taking to rent to you in the first place.
  5. You want to rent this beautiful home, or not?

We can find all sorts of reasons to get longer terms. One of the best ones is the promise of a good reference after two years.

I agree with jmd_forest about taking care of the tenants in order to maintain long-term business relationships. After all we’re in business to provide housing in return for cash. What better way to keep the cash flowing, then to take care of our customers?