Carefully read the agreement before signing, landlords may also refer to other documents that tenants should have a copy of and read before signing. The main things rental agreements should include are:
- The names of the landlord and tenant.
- The address of the rental unit.
- The amount/cost of rent.
- The date the rent is due, who it should be paid to and when.
- The amount and the purpose of the security deposit.
- The amount of any late charges or the returned check fee.
- If pets are allowed as well as pet restrictions.
- The number of tenants allowed to live in the unit.
- If the attorney’s fees can be collected from the losing party in the event of a lawsuit between the tenant and the landlord.
- Who is responsible for paying utilities such as trash, gas, electric and water.
- If the unit is a duplex, who is responsible for lawn care.
- Any repair agreements the landlord makes and the date in which it will be completed.
- If the unit can be subleased or not.
- The agreement must also include the name, phone number and address of the landlord/property manager or owner.
- The name, phone number, address and date of when the rent is due and to whom. This should also include what type of payments are allowed and if the payments are in person it should include the hours the person responsible for collecting is available.
- Whether or not the tenant needs permission to host a party and the restrictions.
- It must include a written notice that the California department of Justice maintains a website (www.meganslaw.ca.gov) this provides information about specified sex offenders and is legally required.
- The terms on parking, where a tenant can park and if it is included.
- 15 days after signing the lease the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the lease agreement.
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