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5 important rental clauses you might not think about

Being a landlord in Virginia can be a rewarding and lucrative business. However, whether you rent out a second home or a multi-family apartment complex, owning rental property can also be challenging. Part of the landlord's job is to ensure your tenants abide by the rules of their rental contract, as well as take the proper steps to evict them if they do not comply.

Your rental contract should be clear and concise, so your tenants have no misunderstandings about what is expected of them while they are living on your property. A typical contract would include such items as how much their monthly rent will be, when payment is due and the minimum term of their lease. There are also a range of other clauses you might want to consider to protect your investment and improve your professional relationship with your renters, such as:

  • A pet policy, such as whether pets are allowed and rules on number and size of pets.
  • A list of prohibited acts for the property, such as using illicit drugs, hosting noisy parties past a certain hour or subletting the home to another family
  • Financial penalties for willfully or unintentionally causing damage to the rental property
  • The expectations on the renter's upkeep of the property, such as mowing the lawn and keeping trash off the front porch
  • Landlord rights as to entering the property for repairs or inspections, as well as how much notice to give before doing so

    It is important to remember that if your renters have violated the terms of their contract, the law does not permit you to simply demand they move out. An eviction notice requires a court order. This can protect you legally if the tenants try to retaliate against you or contest the eviction.

    Outlining the terms clearly in the rental contract may also protect your renters, as they will be fully informed of your expectations.

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