Top Five Reasons to Have an Attorney Draft Your Lease

Leases are important business contracts.  After choosing the “right” tenant, having a valid, enforceable, and favorable lease is the best protection of a landlord’s rental business.  Unfortunately, a poorly drafted lease or a lease that fails to include required disclosures or legal requirements can result in a nightmare for a landlord.  A written lease provides landlords certainty of the agreed upon terms that govern the landlord-tenant relationship.

Many landlords buy a lease “off the shelf”, find a form online, or borrow one from a friend.  Worse, they put these leases into use without really considering the lease’s contents.  When trouble brews, these landlords are often unpleasantly surprised to find that their “standard” lease does not help them and maybe even hurts their cause.

Obtaining a lease, suited to a landlord’s specific situation, makes lots of sense.  Having an experienced landlord tenant attorney assist in the drafting of that lease makes even more sense.  Here are five good reasons why.

5) Experience – A landlord’s attorney handles lease issues on a regular basis and can put that regular experience into action for landlord clients.  Can landlords draft their own lease?  Sure.  Car owners can change their own oil.  The guy at the local oil change shop already has all the tools and supplies necessary for the job and can probably do it much faster than a weekend warrior on the driveway.  There are all sorts of lease provisions, seemingly small, that can make all the difference in a lease.  An experienced landlord lawyer will know and can share those beneficial provisions easily without the landlord needing to spend hours researching lease provisions.  What may be illegal in Chicago may be perfectly enforceable in Schaumburg.  For instance, in some municipalities, the requirement of a five day notice can be waived and in other municipalities, it is a strict requirement.  An attorney will have the knowledge and experience to add, delete, or modify lease provisions that can benefit a landlord.

4) Filling in the blanks is not always as simple as it seems – There is more to a good lease than simply filling in the blanks.  However, filling in the blanks correctly is important and many landlords don’t get that right all the time.  Many landlords mistakenly fill in time periods that go beyond the legal requirements or fail to properly identify the parties.  These common errors can cause the landlord to be at a severe disadvantage when the time comes to enforce the lease.

3) Best Practices – The process of discussing and reviewing a lease and the various options related to the contents of a lease also leads to discussions about landlord’s “best practices” that will help a landlord become smarter and more efficient in running a rental business.

2) Lease Personalization – Sure, there may be some good form leases out there.  Landlords might be lucky enough to blindly pick the right form.  For everyone else, a form lease is a good starting point.  An attorney can help a landlord customize a lease to deal with issues not commonly dealt with in form leases.  The attorney can help with things like rules and provisions about parking, laundry rooms, condominium associations, storage areas, and decks.

1) Compliance with Laws and Regulations – Unfortunately, many landlords are unaware of all of the laws that affect a leasing situation.  In Chicago especially, the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance imposes many additional restrictions and requirements on landlords, from requiring certain summaries and attachments on a lease to dictating how a landlord handles a security deposit.  Penalties for violations of these laws can be severe and many landlords find out about the ordinance after tenant problems spring up and they have already committed a violation.  An attorney can assist a landlord in being in compliance from the start to avoid providing leverage to a bad tenant.

Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC assists landlords with lease drafting.  We are easy and convenient to work with and, at the completion of our engagement, our landlord clients will have a favorable and smart lease to use.

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