Free Lease Agreement Reviewed: Total Real Estate Solutions
Total Real Estate Solutions – This is a straight-up lease, no wizards etc., with a few blanks to fill in (and some have been filled in already). Honestly this looks like a lease that someone is using in real-life, and have made it available online. It does a good job of including most “must have” clauses like waiver and indemnity, although its “time is of the essence” clause seems to limit that to just payments, and you really want that for any performance required of the tenant. It goes also into good detail on all those messy issues like access, minor repairs, noise, etc.
There are a couple of concerns, though. Sections 12 and 17 deal with abandonment, giving the landlord the right to repossess the property without notice. Most, if not all, states would consider that constructive eviction which could put a landlord in really, really hot water. You never want to repossess a property without following proper notice procedures (even if that is just posting a notice on the door and taking a picture of it before you enter a property you think is abandoned) unless a lawyer has advised you plainly that the law in your areas exempts you. Even worse, section 7 says that no notices from landlord are required to commence eviction. This is almost certainly illegal everywhere, no matter what the lease says. In many states you have to swear out on the eviction complaint what date you gave written notice. Try putting “no notice required by lease” and the judge will almost certainly dismiss your action.
Section 27 also makes the tenant responsible for all plumbing repairs. You want to be careful there – in many states that would not be legal. Most states at least call for the landlord to make the property habitable under a common law theory called the “warranty of habitability”. For residential housing this means the landlord can’t get out of the basics – heat, water, electric and so forth, even if the tenant agrees to it in the lease. Most locations it would be reasonable for the tenant to agree to minor repairs, but not reasonable for them to be held accountable for all plumbing (or all heating, etc.).
This lease uses a lot of tough language; you can tell the author has seen their share of fiascoes with tenants, but in several cases the language borders on unreasonable as in the above sections. Caution is advised. However, this is a good starting point lease if you double-check and rewrite areas where it looks like it has gone too far.
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