What Basic Landlord Forms Do You Need

Forms on your tax return aren’t the only ones you need to use as a landlord; certain basic forms are common for all landlords to use at some time or another. Creating your own library of forms gives you instant access to what you need when you need it. And as an added bonus, it encourages you to get everything in writing. Here are some forms every landlord should have on hand.

Rental application form. All prospective tenants should complete a rental application so you have the information you need to run a background check. You can find a copy of this form and many others listed below at the American Family Landlord Toolbox. If you would like to customize your form, it’s a wise idea to run it by an attorney first to make sure you’re not violating any laws.

Rental application denial. This is a good record to keep, just to avoid any potential legal actions. Applicants will also appreciate the communication, even if they were not selected.

Lease. This is possibly the most important form you’ll use. There are sample leases available that provide barebones information, but if you have any special terms or conditions, it’s best to have an attorney review your lease or help you draft one. If you’re renting commercial properties there are no standard leases, everything is negotiated and needs to be documented.

Maintenance form. There are two different types of maintenance forms you may find useful. You can create a maintenance request form for your tenants to fill out when they need repairs, and you can create one for yourself so you can keep track of work around the property. Both forms are handy when creating maintenance schedules and helping to keep track of required inspections.

Rental condition forms. Having a move in and a move out checklist can save everyone a lot of trouble at the end of the lease. At the move in, have the tenant or the tenant and a property representative walk through and check the condition of the unit. Follow the same process at the checkout. The security deposit is designed to help defray some of your expenses for damages (not normal wear and tear) but it may be difficult to prove damages without both the move in and move out checklist. Tip - bolster your paperwork with photos.

Renew or vacate form. When a lease is approaching its end date, a renew or vacate form lets you know the tenant’s intentions at the end of the current term. It’s a good idea for your attorney to review this form letter. Be sure to follow the time limits described in the lease before sending it; usually at least 30 or 60 days before the end of the lease term.

These are just a sampling of the key forms to have on hand in order to run your business efficiently. As you find the need, you may develop your own forms or find other useful ones. Refer to the American Family Landlord Toolbox to find more sample forms and information.

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