How to Write a Contract for Renting a Flat

Written by louise balle
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To rent out a flat (which is a British term for a one-level condo or apartment) you need to draw up a clear and concise agreement that can be easily digested by your renter. Freeholder (landlord) and tenant disputes frequently go to court because of confusion about the arrangement and maintenance issues. A well written contract will help you avoid future disputes regarding the property.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Word processing program

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  1. 1

    Write your full name or company name and the full name of the renter. Notate in the beginning that from that point on you will refer to yourself as the "freeholder (landlord)" and the person who you are renting to as "renter." Write the full address of the location to be rented, including the flat (apartment) number.

  2. 2

    Start with general terms, including the length of the rental, the amount of each monthly (or weekly) payment, amount of the security deposit, when payment is due, how the renter is to make payments and any late fees.

  3. 3

    Write a separate section about security deposits to make it clear to your renter what needs to be done if she wants her security deposit back at the end of the lease (such as cleaning the apartment and returning keys).

  4. 4

    List the tenants who are allowed to occupy the space along with the main renter (such as children).

  5. 5

    Define who will pay what utilities, including cooking gas, hot water, heat and electricity.

  6. 6

    Write a section outlining your pet policy. If pets are acceptable, let the tenant know the rules of keeping a pet at the flat along with any pet fees that they may be charged.

  7. 7

    Create another section that defines what is grounds for termination of the agreement. That may include an unruly tenant, violence, trashing of the premises, non-payment of rent, pet problems or an unauthorised tenant. If for whatever reason you can't deliver possession at the beginning of the lease, write in that the agreement can be terminated. Define what type of notice you will be giving the tenant, and what type of notice he has to give you if he does not want to renew at the end of the lease agreement. Discuss the renter's responsibilities (such as being responsible for the remainder of rental payments on the lease) if he chooses to break the lease.

  8. 8

    Add clear information in your flat rental contract about your policies regarding the following: noise complaints, renter's insurance requirements, parking, waterbeds and other questionable items, damage to property, whether or not the flat can be modified or altered by the renter, garbage disposal rules, any house rules, the landlord's requirement to have 24 hours notice before entering the premises, whether the renter can sublet the flat, keys, mail, furniture, legal fees, and arbitration requirements.

  9. 9

    Write a section confirming that the renter has seen the condition of the premises, considers it acceptable and will keep the flat in that condition. Let the renter know in the contract that the terms of the rental arrangement can be changed by you (the landlord) with proper notice once the initial lease expires. You want to be covered in the case that you need to raise the rent at renewal to keep up with costs.

  10. 10

    Add what is called a "Joint and Several Liability" clause at the end of your contract that basically just states that all parties are both individually and jointly responsible for the terms of the agreement. Finally, include a "No Waiver" clause that basically states that even if one part of your agreement is deemed unenforceable by a court of law, the rest of the agreement remains in tact. The "No Waiver" should also explain that if you excuse a breach of one part of the agreement by the renter, that does not mean you will excuse a breach of all the other terms.

  11. 11

    Include a space for both you and the renter to sign, print your name and write the date at the bottom of the agreement.

Tips and warnings

  • After you finish writing your rental contract, bring it to a lawyer to look over the terms to assure that you are being correct, lawful, and clear in your language.
  • Depending on where you live, you may also have to attach a notice regarding lead based paint to your flat rental agreement and have the renter initial something in the agreement that states they were given this information. (In the U.S. you must notify renters about the possibility of lead based paint for buildings that were built before 1978.)

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