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Proper Water Use – This one is pretty straight forward. I’ve had past tenants wash their cars in my driveway and go as far as bringing friends over to wash their cars as well. I had to stop that immediately.  People who’ve never owned property may not understand (or care) that water isn’t free. When they shower and flush the toilet the landlord is paying for it which is reasonable and required by law. But what isn’t required is that you fund their outside water activities. Make sure you address what is/ isn’t acceptable within a clause of your lease.

Trash Removal – Have you had a tenant move out of your rental unit and leave large amounts of trash behind expecting you to take care of it? Here is the specific clause we use in our leases to make sure it’s clear that this needs to be done prior to move out!

Trash removal is your responsibility. If there are large items you need to dispose of, please do this prior to move out. We will not be responsible for removing trash from the unit, the basement or taking trash from the side of the house to the street. This also applies to an excessive amount of smaller items and anything that overflows the trash bin provided to you at move in.

Additional Occupants – Make sure you have a clear statement in your lease agreements that addresses additional people occupying the property after the lease is signed. It’s amazing how many people attempt to sign a lease with one or two individuals and afterward try to move in 3 or 4 people…or more. You always want to make sure you know who’s occupying your property.

Direct TV Dishes – Have you ever driven down a street in Boston and noticed a home with 10 satellite dishes hanging off the side? Did you ask yourself how many people live there and why do they all have their own TV service? Well the problem isn’t the number of occupants, it’s Direct TV. The service provide provides a new dish for every first time tenant while never bothering to come remove old dishes from tenants that have moved.  Why does this concern you as a landlord? Well lets say you’ve own a 3 family home for the past 10 years and between those 3 units you’ve had 15 different tenants. If half of these people chose to use Direct TV as there provider you may have up to 7 stat dishes drilled into the side of your home. Not only does this looks horrible and increases the chances of physical damage to your property.

So how do you address this? You take care of it within your leases. You would ideally insert a clause stating that the tenant must you cable or some other service that doesn’t hang dishes and damage your property. You could also state that the tenant must have the dish removed at their expense prior to moving out (or receiving their security deposit back).

Be sure you’re within legal guidelines when inserting clauses in your lease agreements. As a landlord I keep a Landlord/ Tenant legals guide handy and always consult my attorney if there is anything I’m still unsure about.

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