I want to rent my house to a tenant, do I need an attorney to draft a lease for me?

Frequently, a homeowner contemplating
renting out his property believes that he will be able to save money by
writing his own lease or using a do-it-yourself lease form found or
purchased online. Almost as frequently, the homeowner realizes too late
that if he had spent a little money up front to have an attorney prepare
a lease, or at least review his proposed lease, he could have saved
himself a lot of time, money, and aggravation. By the time problems
arise with a tenant, it is too late to ensure that the lease contains
all of the provisions necessary to protect the homeowner’s interests.

For example, if the home in question was constructed before 1978,
federal law requires that the lease must contain certain disclosures
regarding the presence of lead-based paint and the homeowner must
provide a prospective tenant with certain information about lead-based
paint. Failure to make the proper disclosure or to provide the required
information may make the entire lease unenforceable. Similarly, state
law may require the homeowner to make disclosures regarding the presence
of mold in the home.

Provisions for recovery of attorney’s fees are also often overlooked
by do-it-yourself landlords. Under Virginia law, a plaintiff may recover
attorney’s fees spent in pursuing a lawsuit only if a contract or
statute provides that he may do so. If a landlord owns ten or fewer
rental properties, the applicable Virginia landlord and tenant law does
not provide for recovery of attorney’s fees by statute. Therefore, if
the lease does not contain a provision for attorney’s fees, the landlord
will pay for his own attorney if he has to sue.

The examples above are just a few of the many issues that could occur
when a homeowner drafts his own lease. Having an attorney draft a lease
for him would normally cost a few hundred dollars when doing it himself
might eventually cost him thousands.

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

View Attorney Profile

John Tarley, Jr.

Licensed since 1992

Member at firm Tarley Robinson, P.L.C.

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

RECENT POSTS

  • (Yet Another) Update on ADA Compliance regarding HOAs, Condos and Swimming Pools
    Posted on June 6, 2012
    Topic: Homeowners Association Law

    the extension granted by the Department of Justice for existing pools to comply with the new ADA Standards for providing “Final Rule,” the Department of Justice published a fact information page with Accommodations. The DOJ’s Q&A attempts to answer questions regarding whether your pool shall require accommodations. This blog post analyzes the Q&A. not covered by the ADA accessibility requirements.If your community pool is made available ... Read more

  • HOA Case Study: A Board’s statements or conduct may establish the enforceability of its governing documents
    Posted on June 6, 2012
    Topic: Homeowners Association Law

    property owners and a community association regarding the owners’ operation of a vineyard and retail store on their property. In an Fauquier County jury verdict for the property owners that had been set aside by the trial court. precedential value or . . . significance for the law or legal system,” this case does provide us with a look ... Read more

  • ADA Compliance – (Another) Update on HOAs, Condos and Swimming Pools
    Posted on June 6, 2012
    Topic: Homeowners Association Law

    We have blogged about new requirements under the own swimming pools, wading pools, or spas. Subsequently, we updated our previous post to report upon an The Justice Department has now issued a ADA Standards for Accessible Design for existing pools and spas. accessible entry and exits no later than January 21, 2013. What does that mean for your HOA? ADA Title ... Read more

John Tarley, Jr.

Licensed since 1992

Member at firm Tarley Robinson, P.L.C.

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

RECENT POSTS

  • (Yet Another) Update on ADA Compliance regarding HOAs, Condos and Swimming Pools
    Posted on June 6, 2012
    Topic: Homeowners Association Law

    the extension granted by the Department of Justice for existing pools to comply with the new ADA Standards for providing “Final Rule,” the Department of Justice published a fact information page with Accommodations. The DOJ’s Q&A attempts to answer questions regarding whether your pool shall require accommodations. This blog post analyzes the Q&A. not covered by the ADA accessibility requirements.If your community pool is made available ... Read more

  • HOA Case Study: A Board’s statements or conduct may establish the enforceability of its governing documents
    Posted on June 6, 2012
    Topic: Homeowners Association Law

    property owners and a community association regarding the owners’ operation of a vineyard and retail store on their property. In an Fauquier County jury verdict for the property owners that had been set aside by the trial court. precedential value or . . . significance for the law or legal system,” this case does provide us with a look ... Read more

  • ADA Compliance – (Another) Update on HOAs, Condos and Swimming Pools
    Posted on June 6, 2012
    Topic: Homeowners Association Law

    We have blogged about new requirements under the own swimming pools, wading pools, or spas. Subsequently, we updated our previous post to report upon an The Justice Department has now issued a ADA Standards for Accessible Design for existing pools and spas. accessible entry and exits no later than January 21, 2013. What does that mean for your HOA? ADA Title ... Read more