Renting out your house in Nashville involves more than finding long-term tenants and collecting rent. As a landlord, you also must deal with tenant complaints, maintenance requests, accounting, and a fair share of paperwork. Having all your documents in a safe, easy-to-access cannot only make your life easier but can also help you comply with your local landlord-tenant laws.
To ensure a smooth and legally sound tenancy, you must keep a set of essential documents on file, including the lease agreement, tenant information sheets, and official notices. These documents not only protect your interests as a landlord but also provide a clear framework for fostering a good relationship with your tenants. Keep reading to learn which of the eight must-have rental documents landlords should keep on file!
The Eight Must-Have Rental Documents Landlords Should Keep On File
1. Rental Application Form
Having prospective tenants fill out an application form is the first step to an effective tenant screening process. This document gathers crucial information about potential tenants, including personal details, rental history, employment information, and references. All this information will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best tenant for your rental.
During the screening process, you must keep all applicants’ forms in a secure place, as these documents contain important personal information. Even if you don’t proceed with an application, you must keep an applicant’s information on file. This way, you can prove you’ve followed the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act during the selection process if an applicant disputes your decision.
2. A Signed Lease Agreement
Drafting a solid lease agreement is the best way to keep your investment protected during a tenancy and prevent holdover tenants. After all, this document outlines the terms and conditions tenants should follow, including payment policies, their responsibilities regarding property upkeep, and fees for not complying with the terms of the lease.
Because this is a legally binding document, you must keep the original copy of the signed lease agreement on file. This will allow you to refer to the lease in case a tenant has questions or breaches the terms of the lease. Additionally, a copy of the lease can come in handy in case of legal disputes.
3. Tenant Information Sheet
A tenant information sheet complements the initial screening by offering you additional details about your tenants. This can include their full name, emergency contacts, and even a copy of their tenant insurance policy.
Because of the confidential nature of this information, you must keep your tenant information sheet in a safe place. Plus, you must properly dispose of this document once a tenant moves out. Otherwise, you would be violating privacy laws and could face hefty fines.
4. Property Inspection Reports
Conducting regular inspections allows you to ensure that tenants are taking good care of your rental property. Moreover, move-in and move-out inspections are crucial for ensuring that your property is in good condition throughout each tenancy. Plus, they can help you avoid most security deposit disputes. By keeping detailed reports of your property inspections, you’ll be able to prove whether a tenant has caused damage to your property that goes beyond normal tear and wear.
Additionally, you should consider taking photos and videos of the condition of the property in good condition. All of this will be invaluable when determining security deposit deductions at the end of the lease.
5. Maintenance and Repair Requests
Keeping a rental property in good condition is a joint responsibility between landlords and tenants. However, as the property owner, you’ll be in charge of bigger maintenance tasks and repairs. Failing to keep your property in good condition can result in higher tenant turnover rates and even costly fines.
To avoid this, you must document every maintenance and repair request that your tenants submit. It’s also important that you document how and when you solved the issue and keep any contractor or vendor invoices on file. This will keep you protected in case of disputes.
6. Security Deposit Information
Landlords should comply with their local security deposit laws. Every state has different guidelines for how much a landlord can charge for a deposit and even how to store it. So, you must be informed to comply with these regulations. Moreover, you need to keep the information regarding the security deposit in a safe place. In some states, like Tennessee, landlords are required to disclose to tenants where their deposit is held.
Moreover, they must inform tenants of any deductions they’ve made to their deposit at the end of the lease. Keeping this information on file can prevent many disputes.
7. Mandatory Disclosures
Landlords are required to disclose certain information to tenants at the start of their lease. In Tennessee, mandatory disclosures include:
1. Lead-based paint concentrations - This disclosure only applies to homes built before 1978.
2. Authorized parties - Landlords are required to provide the names and addresses of everyone involved in owning or managing the property.
3. Security deposit holdings - Landlords must disclose to tenants where their security deposit is held.
4. Showings - Tennessee landlords can show the property to interested parties before the end of the current lease. However, this must be disclosed in the lease agreement.
Failing to comply with these disclosure requirements can result in fines and serious legal consequences. Therefore, you must ensure that you’re aware of your local regulations and make any necessary disclosures.
8. Formal Notices
Over the course of a tenancy, you may have to send your tenants multiple notices. Whether it’s a late payment notice, a notice to enter, or a notice of eviction, you must keep a copy of this document on file. Additionally, you must keep copies of any follow-ups from both you and your tenants.
One of every landlord’s biggest responsibilities is dealing with paperwork. After all, there are many documents landlords should keep on file to ensure positive, stress-free tenancies. Some of the rental documents landlords need include application forms, property inspection reports, maintenance requests, and formal notices. Now that you know this, you can comply with your local rental laws and maintain a good relationship with your tenants.
Need help dealing with the paperwork for your Nashville rental? Brentwood Square Management Services today! Our team is ready to take over those pesky administrative tasks so you can have more free time.