Renting out a property can be a wise financial decision, but it comes with its fair share of responsibilities and legal obligations. One crucial aspect of this process is ensuring that you have all the necessary rental documents in place.
These documents not only protect your rights as the landlord but also help you foster a better relationship with your tenants.
To help you ensure you’re not missing any important documents, the experts at Draper Realty have written this article. Keep reading to discover the essential rental documents that landlords need to have to ensure a stress-free tenancy.
Rental Application Form
All prospective renters should fill out an application form. This document typically includes details such as the tenant’s personal information, rental history, employment details, and references. This helps you, as a landlord, gather all of the information you’ll need to conduct an effective screening.
Even if you don’t proceed with a renter’s application, it’s important that you keep all rental applications on file. It can serve as proof that you were compliant with the Fair Housing Act during the screening process, choosing the best quality tenant for your rental.
A solid lease agreement not only helps keep your investment protected but also helps you foster a good relationship with your tenants.
This legally binding document outlines the terms and conditions of a rental arrangement. This typically includes the duration of the lease, price of rent, security deposit policies, and even the tenants’ responsibilities regarding property maintenance.
Once a tenancy begins, it’s crucial that you keep a copy of the signed lease agreement on file. This way, you’ll be able to refer back to it in case of misunderstandings or even breaches of the lease.
A lease agreement signed by both parties can also be extremely useful when dealing with evictions. All of this applies to renewal lease agreements, too!
Tenant Information Sheet
In addition to the information provided in the application form, it’s important that you keep other essential information from your tenants on file. You can create a document that contains details such as emergency contacts, their full name, and even proof of their tenant insurance.
This will not only help you get to know your tenants better but also help you in case any issues or complaints arise.
Make sure that your tenants’ information is always in a safe place, such as a safe or a folder on a password-protected laptop.
It’s also crucial that you dispose of this information effectively once the tenancy comes to an end. Otherwise, you could face costly fines, as giving out tenant’s information without their consent is heavily prohibited by privacy laws.
Maintenance and Repair Requests
Maintaining your property’s good condition is a must. A poorly maintained rental can increase tenant turnover rates and even lead to costly fines and lengthy legal disputes. Tenants can sue or break their lease early if you fail to keep your rental in safe, habitable condition.
That’s why it’s crucial that you document every single maintenance and repair request that comes up. Even if tenants make the request through a phone call, you must write down essential information such as the date and the issue.
After you deal with the problem, you should also document how and when the issue was resolved, as well as keep copies of any contractor or vendor invoices. This will not only help you track your expenses but also keep you protected in case of disputes.
Property Inspection Reports
Conducting property inspections is crucial for keeping your property in good condition. You must inspect your rental before and after a tenant moves in, as well as regularly throughout the tenancy. This will help you spot problems before they escalate and identify property damage beyond normal wear and tear.
A common problem landlords face at the end of a tenancy is tenant disputes to deductions to their security deposit. Luckily, you can prevent these disputes by documenting the condition of your property before and after a tenancy.
Keeping photos and videos on file of the property’s state at any given time is also an effective way of proving the property’s condition when needed.
Landlords send notices to their tenants for multiple reasons, from nonpayment of rent to a notice of required entry to the home. To ensure you comply with your local landlord-tenant laws, you must keep track of all the notices you send your tenants as well as any follow-ups.
This means keeping on file copies of late rent policies, notices to enter, notices to quit, non-renewal notices, and eviction notices. These documents can be crucial in case of a legal dispute.
Security Deposit Information
As a landlord, it’s crucial that you understand your local security deposit laws. After all, no landlord wants to deal with a lengthy and expensive security deposit dispute.
In Oklahoma, landlords are legally required to store their tenants' security deposits in escrow accounts.
While it’s not mandatory in this state, many landlords opt to send tenants a written notice after receiving their deposit. They make sure to state the amount received, how they are going to store it, and what the tenant must do to get a full refund.
They also make sure to keep a copy of the notice on file. This simple act makes a lot of things clear and can save you a lot of headaches.
Managing a rental property requires landlords to comply with many laws and deal with a lot of paperwork. Rental property owners must keep many documents on file, from rental application forms to property inspection reports and maintenance invoices.
By having these rental documents in place, you can protect your interests, maintain a positive relationship with your tenants, and ensure your investment remains profitable.
Need help managing your Oklahoma rental and the paperwork that comes with it? Contact Draper Realty today! Our team is ready to take over the pesky administrative tasks of managing your rental so you can have more free time.