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The Landlording Show Episode 13: Optimize Your Lease

Hello everyone, and welcome to The Landlording Show. This is the show for anyone who's made their first property investment and is now wondering, "What's next?" If you're trying to ensure your investments are profitable and not just another full-time job, you're in the right place. I’m Tim Harstead, and I manage over 300 homes on the South Side of Chicago. We've seen it all, and I'm here to pass that knowledge on to you.

Today, we’re diving into a topic that might seem basic but is fundamental to successful property management: leases. Many landlords in the Chicagoland area start with the CAR lease—the Chicago Association of Realtors lease. It’s a solid legal framework, but it’s just a starting point. It’s designed to be comprehensive and legally sound, yet it doesn’t cover everything a landlord really needs.

Enhancing Your Lease Agreements

The CAR lease ensures you're legally covered, but let's talk about adding specifics that protect you further and make management easier.

  1. Fines for Violations: Like hotels charge for smoking in non-smoking rooms, adding fines for specific lease violations can deter undesirable behavior and cover damages from violations like smoking. It's not just about forbidding actions; it's about ensuring there are repercussions that discourage these actions.

  2. Pet Policies: As many tenants now have pets, completely banning them can severely limit your potential rental market. Instead, include terms for pet ownership, like additional rent or deposits, which can cover any potential damages and make pet owners feel welcomed.

  3. Unauthorized Occupants: Clearly define what constitutes an unauthorized occupant. Specify the process and penalties involved if someone stays longer than allowed without approval. This helps maintain control over who is living in your properties and prevents potential legal complications.

  4. Lockout Policies: Specify tenant responsibilities during lockouts, particularly after hours. For instance, they should call a locksmith, not you, unless it's during business hours and even then, for a fee. This policy encourages tenants to keep track of their keys and reduces unnecessary calls to you.

  5. Missed Appointments: Include a clause for missed appointments with vendors. If a tenant misses a scheduled repair visit, they should cover the trip charge. This encourages tenants to be present for appointments and respects the time of your service providers.

Cultivating Tenant Relationships and Property Management

Discussing these lease aspects with tenants upfront can prevent misunderstandings and ensure they understand their responsibilities. Effective communication helps build a positive landlord-tenant relationship and makes managing properties smoother.

Engaging with Your Listeners

I'd love to hear how you handle these issues or if you have other innovative clauses in your leases. What strategies do you use to ensure your tenants understand and follow lease terms? Drop your comments below, and let’s discuss. Don’t forget to subscribe and give us a thumbs up if you find our content helpful.

Thanks for tuning in to The Landlording Show. Stay tuned for more tips on how to make your property management experience as profitable and stress-free as possible. Catch you in the next episode!