5 Reasons NOT To Use A Form Lease You Downloaded On The Internet

If you are renting out a property, whether the space above your garage to a local college student, your farm ground, or a commercial investment property, you are going to need a lease agreement for you and your new tenant(s) to sign.  Typing “Form Lease” or “Lease Template” into Google will yield no fewer than a few hundred thousand results, and some of those results may actually produce a lease that is workable and enforceable, but unfortunately, you probably shouldn’t be using any of them for your situation. I know what you’re thinking, “Surprise, surprise, the guy who drafts leases tells us we shouldn’t use the one we found for free,” and I understand.  However, instead of giving you all the reasons you shouldn’t use a form or template for your lease agreement, below are 5 reasons that consulting with an attorney about your lease needs will end up being better for you in the long run.

1) Your Situation Is Unique

Your property, rental situation, and lease needs are unique.  There is no “one size fits all” residential, commercial, or agricultural lease.  When you consult with an attorney to draft your lease, you’ll be able to run through the specific requirements your lease needs to have included.  For example, what general covenants of the neighborhood will the tenant be responsible for upholding? Restrictive covenants differ from street to street sometimes, and you’ll need to be able to fit the requirements that tenants are responsible for observing into your lease agreement.  For a farm or agricultural lease, you may have concerns about hunting or fishing on the property that will need to be worked into the lease agreement.  Having an attorney draft your lease allows you to work these custom provisions into suitable agreements that both you as the landlord and your tenant can agree on.

2) You Can Use A Lease More Than Once

Rarely will a lease need updating every year, unless there is some substantial change in the law, or the property that you are leasing out.  Think of your lease agreement as an investment.  Your land, commercial building, or rental home is a valuable asset.  Investing in the proper protections for both you and your property now will pay dividends down the road.

3) You Can Ask Questions

If there is a provision that your attorney puts into your lease agreement that you do not understand, you have someone you can ask about the provision—your attorney.  No more running back to Google every time you run into words like “assignability,” “choice of law,” and “arbitration.”  Your attorney is your ally in drafting your lease and protecting your property. 

4) You Will Actually Understand Every Clause

Dove-tailing nicely with the previous point, you will understand every provision in your lease agreement and what it means for your tenant as well as for you.

5) If You Need To Evict, You'll Know You Can

Your lease will dictate certain terms and requirements that directly relate to the eviction process.  Filing a Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer action in Colorado has its own requirements as well by statute, and your lease will supplement these requirements.  Additionally, if you are evicting for a subsequent violation of the lease, as allowed under Colorado statute, you’ll need to ensure that the action or omission by the tenant is technically a violation under your lease agreement.  If you attempt to evict a tenant for a subsequent violation of a provision and the judge determines that the clause doesn’t actually require what you believe that it does, you are out not only your own time and costs, but possibly those legal fees of your tenant as well.

If you have property that you are wanting to lease out, it is in you and your property’s best interest to consult with a Colorado leasing attorney.  Colorado Landlord Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert can help make your agricultural, recreational, commercial, or residential lease agreement a lasting contract that protects your valuable assets.  To learn more about leasing in Colorado, landlords and tenants rights, or explore your leasing options, Click Here.