Posts Tagged ‘Lease Agreement’

Can Landlords Change Rules Mid-Lease?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

It’s often necessary to draft a list of rules and regulations for tenants to be used in conjunction with the lease agreement, especially in multi-unit rentals.

Otherwise, landlords and tenants are left to sort out the day-to-day management issues without any written standards. That can lead to conflicts, and claims of harassment or discrimination.

While the rules sheet is usually incorporated into the lease agreement, landlords who use a separate set of tenant rules often will reserve the right to change those rules from time to time. This is usually done by making a revised list, and then demanding tenants sign the new one.

But can a landlord change the rules mid-lease? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the rule that is being changed.

The lease agreement is a contract, a bargained-for exchange where each side gets some things, but gives up some things in return. So, in order to determine whether a rule can be changed mid-lease, you need to decide whether the new rule changes the terms and conditions of the bargained-for rental agreement.

That means anything that materially changes the way the tenant lives day-to-day, or costs the tenant more money, may not be subject to change via the house rules.

The rules are a place for logistics, like acceptable conduct in common areas, a prohibition against leaving laundry unattended, or where to place the trash. The term ‘rules’ is a misnomer; they’re more like guidelines than actual rules.

More significant changes, like a smoking ban, or new parking fees probably require an amended lease, not just a rule change. That way, the tenant has the right to negotiate, and the change can only happen if they agree. That would be the case even if the lease allows the landlord to change the rules from time to time.

This practice is not only safer from a legal standpoint, but far more likely to bring about the tenant’s compliance, which is the ultimate goal anyway.


logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

How to Tell That Your Lease is Working

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Lease_RenewalMany of us think of a lease agreement as the ultimate weapon, wielded only when there’s a legal dispute.  The rest of the time it sits dormant in a file drawer.

But a lease needs to do more than that.

Fortunately, few of us will have to put our lease to the ultimate test. Yet all of us need it as a day-to-day guide to managing the rental property. Tenants need it, too, as a daily reminder of what is expected of them.

If you are having problems with your tenants, than your lease may not be working.

That’s why it’s important to be finicky about how your lease agreement reads. The more specific the lease is to your rental property, the more credibility it has with your tenants.

Using generic lease forms that set out the rent requirements and barely more than that leaves everyone in the dark. That can generate conflicts.

Likewise, a lease with too much legal mumbo jumbo is like having no lease at all. If the tenant can’t understand it, they are more likely to ignore it.

View the lease less as a legal document, and more as a road map for the relationship with the tenant. It will be a more effective tool if you hold your tenants to the rules, but also meet your own responsibilities, like quick response to a repair request or noise complaint.

Be prepared to enforce any policy stated in the lease. Don’t use tough language if you don’t plan to enforce it — like threatening to evict a tenant for getting a pet, then turning away when it happens. Otherwise, the tenant will soon call your bluff, and problems will spiral.

Similarly, don’t accuse tenants of breaking the lease when they do something that’s not in there.

Stay in your tenant’s mind during the term of the lease. Something as simple as a rent receipt or email can remind tenants they are under a lease agreement.

Make sure your lease agreement is something you can live with — and it will be much easier for your tenants to live with it, too.


logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

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