All About Leases: From Creation to Amendment (Session 2)

A TurboTenant Webinar
May 24, 2023

The webinar features Krista and Samantha from TurboTenant, along with legal professional Jeanne, discussing various aspects of residential leases. Here’s a summary of the key points covered:

  1. Lease Basics: A lease is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental agreement between a landlord and tenant. It should be accessible and understandable to both parties to ensure they derive maximum benefit from the contract.
  2. State Disclosures and Requirements: Each state may have specific disclosures and requirements that must be included in a lease. Failing to provide these could result in heavy fines and steep penalties. Common disclosures across most states include nonrefundable fees, existing damage, smoking policy, and rights of domestic violence victims.
  3. Federally Required Disclosures: The only federal disclosure requirement mentioned is about lead paint, indicating that homes built before 1979 must disclose the potential presence of lead paint to tenants.
  4. Customization and Clauses: The video explains why certain elements (such as NSF fees, late fees, lease terms) cannot be extensively customized within TurboTenant’s platform, primarily to ensure legal compliance across different states. Adding clauses to the lease can significantly strengthen it, covering aspects like subleasing, improvements by the tenant, usage of common areas, and break-lease options.
  5. Changing an Active Lease: To change an already executed lease, a lease addendum is used. It allows landlords to enact changes agreed upon by both parties, altering the existing lease.
  6. Lease Termination Scenarios: The video addresses what happens if a landlord dies, sells the property, faces foreclosure, or violates lease terms. In most cases, tenants have the right to finish their lease term under original conditions unless specific provisions address these situations.
  7. Short-Term Rental Leases: While the platform’s leases are not specifically tailored for short-term or vacation rentals, they can be adapted for such purposes with additional terms or addendums.
  8. Tenant Issues: Questions about managing unauthorized occupants, handling tenants who make unauthorized improvements, and setting up utilities were addressed. Key advice includes having clear policies set in the lease and discussing any changes or exceptions through lease addendums.

The webinar underscores the importance of a well-drafted lease, open communication, and understanding legal obligations on both sides of the landlord-tenant relationship.

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