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What is a Residential Lease Agreement?
A residential lease is a legally binding agreement between a landlord and a tenant who intends to rent a specific property. It is an all-inclusive document created to outline the expectations of both parties and address any special circumstances that may arise during the length of the agreement. It also clearly states the potential consequences for not adhering to the stated terms. For maximum legal credibility, it is critical that this document be produced in writing, reviewed and signed by both parties prior to occupancy.
Writing the Residential Lease Agreement in Kansas
The sections that follow are necessary elements to a residential lease. Each section includes information that pertains specifically to lease agreements in Kansas. Landlords should bear in mind that all rental properties are unique. That said, it is important for them to tailor their residential lease to the unit or property being rented. This guide lists various circumstances for landlords to consider as they are drafting a residential lease agreement. Landlords need to include the components listed here to be legally compliant in the state of Kansas.
Lease and Party Introduction
In the state of Kansas, writing a lease agreement will require you to start at the beginning with an introduction to the lease. This will include the current date as well as the names of the party members that will be entering into the agreement. The individuals will need to provide their full legal name, which will include their first, middle, and last name. If there is more than one tenant moving into the space, then they will all need to have their names at the top of this document. In addition, the name of the landlord or management company will need to be listed as well.
The second piece of information that needs to be added to this part of the document is the address of the unit that is going to be rented. The entire address will need to be written here, which will include any apartment number or a floor that will need to be used to get mail to the proper location. In addition, the address where the landlord or the management company can be reached should also be listed in the introduction as well.
Terms and Occupancy Limits
After the parties have been established, the terms of the lease that are being agreed upon should be stated in the document. Make sure to clarify the type of unit that is being considered in the arrangement. Make sure to clarify whether the unit is a condo, an apartment, a house, or another type of unit. Also, make sure to list the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that can be found in the unit. Anything that will be included in the lease like appliances or other furniture will need to be listed here as well. Also, the dates of the agreement should be listed in the section so that it’s clearly stated when the rental begins and ends.
The details of the lease will also include the amount of money that is due each month as well as on a yearly basis. For most of the rental properties in the state of Kansas, rent is going to be due on the first of the month. This should be stated in the document, and if the rent due date differs, it should be clearly stated in this part of the document. Residential leases can be monthly, yearly, bi-yearly, or longer, so this will need to be stated in the document as well. Create a series of boxes that represent each option so that the tenant can choose the one that works the best for them.
Some units have limits on the number of people that can stay in the unit. If there are any limitations of fees that will be charged for additional tenants, this information will need to be listed here. Guests are typically welcome in the unit, but if they are staying for a longer period than two weeks, the landlord may require the tenant to get permission before the visit.
Rent and Utilities
The amount of rent that is due each month, as well as the location where it should be delivered, will need to be discussed in this section of the document. If there are any late fees that will be applied to the amount that is due, the amount of the fee, as well as the date that it will be applied each month, will also need to be part of the document in this section. When a tenant does not pay their rent on time, the landlord has the option of requesting that future payments from the tenant are made with either a bank check or a money order to cover the amount. In addition, if the check bounces or is not covered by the bank, then the landlord may require the tenant to pay an additional fee on top of the late fee.
When it comes to the utilities for the unit, most of them will need to be paid by the tenant. Sometimes, the landlord will pay for the electric or other bills for the unit, but this is often something that is done when the units are difficult to separate. If any of the utilities for the unit are going to be covered by the landlord, they will need to be explained in this document. To make sure that all of the utilities are paid, some landlords will include the ones that the tenant will be responsible for paying as well. To give the tenant an idea of the companies that can be used in the area, including business names and phone numbers may also be something worth considering for the landlord.
One of the bills that many tenants forget to consider is parking. Landlords can either assign designated parking for the new tenant to use or there may be a parking lot that is designed for the residents. If there is a specific spot that the tenant will need to park or any rules that the tenant will need to be aware of, make sure that it is written in this section. Some landlords will require the vehicle to be registered in the tenant’s name, so if that is the case, it needs to be written here as well. Sometimes, there will be rules about washing the car that the tenant will need to follow.
Security Deposits and Fees
A large part of moving into a new unit is the security deposit that the tenant will be responsible for paying along with the first month’s rent. The amount of the security deposit will vary from state to state. In the state of Kansas, the landlord will require a month’s rent for the security deposit of any property. If the unit is going to have furnishings in it that the tenant can use when they move in, the landlord can request a month and a half worth of rent for the security deposit. The details of what is required are laid out in statute § 58-2550. The amount of the deposit that is required from the tenant will need to be listed in this section.
A security deposit is required so that the landlord will have some repair money when the tenant moves out to make repairs to any of the damage that needs to be taken care of. If there is nothing that needs to be fixed, then the amount that was left by the tenant for the security deposit will need to be returned to them. If the money is to be returned to the tenant, the landlord will have a period of 30 days to do so. If there are any deductions that will need to be taken out of the deposit, the landlord will be required to provide an itemized list to the tenant within a period of 14 days. This information or the money will need to be sent to the tenant’s new address, so make sure that it is received before the tenant vacates the property.
Maintenance, Alterations, and Repairs
When a new tenant moves into a property, both the landlord and the tenant will need to do a walkthrough of the unit. This typically occurs before the tenant moves in to get an idea of what needs to be repaired, but in the state of Kansas, statute § 58-2548 allows a period of five days after the tenant moves in for the itemized list to be created. Once the list of repair needs is created, the landlord and the tenant can agree to a schedule or an amount of time that the repairs will need to be completed by. During this walkthrough, all of the appliances should be considered as well as the carpet.
When it comes to repairs, the landlord may be responsible for them, or they may fall on the shoulders of the tenant. Regardless of whose responsibility it is, the details of what needs to be done when repairs are needed will need to be discussed in the document. Sometimes the landlord will ask the tenant to take care of the repair needs, but a request may be needed to ensure that it is permitted. The landlord may also allow the tenant to make the repairs and get a reimbursement for the money that they spend. They may also be permitted to take the amount spent out of the next month’s rent. If the landlord is responsible for the repairs, then a certain amount of time must be allowed for the landlord to make the repairs.
Alterations are something that every tenant will want to do in their new unit, especially when they are living in the unit for an extended period of time. Before any alterations are made, the tenant will need to make a request from the landlord to see if the changes are permitted. Some of the most common alterations to consider will include:
- Changing the light fixtures: Over time, light fixtures can seem dated, so tenants may want a newer model.
- Updating the appliances: Appliances in a unit can become old or broken. There are also more energy-efficient options available that can help save on the electric bill.
- Adding locks: One of the main things that many tenants want to alter when they move in is the locks. If there is only one lock on the door, the tenant will want to add another one for their piece of mind. This is typically something that the landlord will agree to, but they may request a key so that they will have access to the unit when it is needed.
- Painting the walls: The landlord is typically responsible for painting the unit every few years, but some landlords will permit the tenant to paint the space themselves. If this is permitted, then make sure that colors other than white are allowed in the unit. If there are regulations about painting the walls, they will need to be listed here.
Access to the Property
When there is an agreement between two parties, the landlord may require access to the property at some point for emergencies or inspections that need to be done. According to statute § 58-2557, the landlord can have access to the unit at any reasonable time as long as they provide reasonable notice to the tenant.
Pets are typically a concern for most renters, especially when they have a furry friend that they wish to bring along with them when they move in. These rules are typically only designed for domestic animals such as cats, dogs, and fish. Many of the rental units in the state of Kansas will have some regulations pertaining to pets. Any rules will need to be listed in this section of the document.
If there is a limit to the number of pets that can be in a unit, make sure that it is listed here. Also, if there are any limitations on the type of animal or the breed that is welcome in the community, it should also be discussed here. Any tenant that has a pet will need to have written consent for the landlord stating that the pets are permitted in the building.
Some landlords will request a small monthly fee for pets or a security deposit in case there is any damage done to the property because of the pets living in the unit. This fee will cover cleaning the carpet if there are urination or defecation stains. It will also cover the cost of odors that are found in the unit after it is vacated and any damage that may have occurred because of the pet scratching on the walls.
Legal Restrictions and Rules
Typically, there are going to be other rules and restrictions that the tenant must follow. For example, tenants that are extremely disruptive while living on the property can be an issue, so the rules pertaining to loud and disruptive behavior will need to be written down in this section of the document. This may mean that there is a quiet time that is enforced after a certain point of the night. Tenants will also be responsible for making sure that their guests also keep the noise to a minimum. Make sure that guests are not caught loitering in the hallways or the common spaces in the building as well.
In most buildings in the state, smoking is not permitted. This may be something that is permitted in the tenant’s specific unit, but it will not be permitted in most of the shared spaces on the property. If there are additional restrictions that the tenant will need to be aware of, they need to be listed in this section of the document.
Depending on the type of unit that the tenant is renting, there may be some furniture restrictions that they will need to be aware of. This can mean that items such as a waterbed, a dishwasher, a washing machine, or a dryer are not permitted in the space. If they are permitted, the tenant may be required to get consent from the landlord before bringing them into the unit.
When it comes to legal restrictions, any building that was established before the year 1978 has a chance of having lead-based paint in it. If this is the case, it is important to provide this information to the tenant that is signing this agreement. Lead paint can be dangerous to pregnant women, and it can affect the health of small children, so it is important to inform the tenants of the risks. There are federal pamphlets that landlords can get to provide to their tenants when they move in.
Another legal restriction that applies to everyone who is on the property deals with the storage of hazardous material on the property. In most states, this is not something that is permitted for the landlord or the tenant, so make sure that the rules are clearly stated in this section of the document.
As with any document that is formed between a landlord and a tenant, the final section of this agreement will include the signature of both parties. The landlord and the tenants will also need to print their name in this section so that it can be read with ease. After the signature section is complete, both parties will need to date the document to make it official. If the tenant has a lower credit level or the landlord has requested that they have a guarantor for some reason, then their name and information should be listed at the bottom of the document as well. Make sure that the guarantor also signs the document so that they give their permission to be called when the landlord is having trouble with the tenant.