Whether you are a landlord or a potential tenant, you must ensure your lease agreement is adequate before signing it. It’s far simpler to make adjustments or walk away now than to deal with problems arising from an inadequate or misunderstood agreement.
Here are some things to consider:
Make expiration, alteration and notice options clear
Landlords need to know when to look for a new tenant, and tenants need to know when to look for a new place to rent. Setting a precise expiration date enables this. If the arrangement works well, you might both be happy to extend it, yet a landlord may consider that impossible at the current rates. Setting out allowable percentage increases beforehand gives both parties security and allows them to plan.
Situations can change. A landlord may want to sell up due to ill health, or a tenant may get a job offer in a different city. Clarifying notice periods can help you to end the arrangement in a way that is fair to both of you.
Lay out all expectations and costs
Properties have costs, and you need to clarify who is responsible for each of them. Doing so now reduces the chances of disputes later. Do not be tempted to leave anything as a gray area. You also need to clearly define what constitutes an overdue payment and what that means for the tenant, including extra charges, grace periods (or the lack thereof) and whether payment must be in a specific form.
Landlords also have the right to expect certain behaviors of their tenants and vice-versa. The clearer you make these from the outset, the better your chance of knowing whether the arrangement will work. Putting them into the contract also allows you to hold the other party responsible when they fail to keep to their side of the bargain.
Your contract must also comply with New York City housing laws. It’s a complex area, so you should consider legal help to find out more.