There are a number of legal forms that you need as a tenant. Many are intimidated by legal documents, and therefore avoid having any legal forms. Here’s a list with explanations of 5 legal forms that you need to have on hand:
1. Lease Agreement
If you’ve already signed a lease agreement, then you want to make sure you have a copy handy at all times. This is not only good for record keeping, but you’ll need to refer to it if disputes arise between you and your landlord (or sometimes, between you and other tenants). You may also need it to remind you of certain details, such as how late you’re allowed to pay your rent or the amount of your late fee.
If you’re planning to move to a new apartment, then having your own lease agreement is not a bad idea. Most landlords will have their own lease for you to sign, but not all. You can also compare the lease that your new landlord is offering to yours, if you have one. This will help you to negotiate terms that are more favorable to you.
2. Lease Termination Forms
You will need a Lease Termination Notice form to vacate your apartment early or if you don’t want your lease agreement to automatically renew. You may also need this legal form if your landlord has breached the lease agreement and you want to end it as a result. What goes in the termination notice depends on your state laws. The most important part of the form (that every state requires) is the date you intend to move out.
3. Agreed Termination of Lease and Surrender
The counter part to the Lease Termination Notice form is an Agreed Termination of Lease and Surrender form. Instead of sending a notice, this legal form is written to prove that you and your landlord agree to end your lease agreement (and for you to leave your apartment). Again, the requirements of what the forms must have differ from state to state. It’s important to buy a state specific form.
4. Roommate Agreements
When you find a roommate to rent with, you should discuss and sign a roommate agreement. Many tenants who fail to do this at the beginning, end up wishing they did when a dispute arises. You can avoid this headache if you have one handy, which you’ve read and are comfortable using.
5. Notice of Repairs
What should you do when you’ve told your landlord one, two or three times about something that needs to be fixed, and they don’t follow up and make the necessary repairs? The first thing you need to do is send them a notice. You need a Notice of Repairs form handy to do that. This will state the repairs you need, the date you sent the notice, and it may refer to a provision in your lease agreement. This will serve as proof that you did notify your landlord about the repairs, if a legal dispute arises, or if you need to end your lease early because of it.
There are major legal websites that have state specific legal forms available for sale, such as www.Findlaw.com or www.Nolo.com. You can search for and download the agreements and notices described above. You can also find many of these free online if you type in the name of the form in your favorite search engine. Most of the legal software available favor landlords, and therefore may not be the best thing to use to create forms.